by Netflix The sand man is an extremely faithful adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic book series. Of course, as a current adaptation, there have been some changes to the story to modernize it. And no, I’m not talking about the added diversity. There are a lot of minor changes, but these are six of the most important, in my opinion.
***SPOILER ALERT: These reveals are spoilers for The Sandman.***
1. The capture duration of Dream:
The original graphic novel series begins in 1989 when it was published. The Netflix series begins in our modern era rather than 1989, so Dream was imprisoned for 105 years instead of 75. This is reflected in making Unity Rose Walker’s great-grandmother rather than her grandmother. While this change doesn’t make a huge difference, it does bring in modern elements like cellphones. There have been many times in stranger things where I kept yelling “if only they had cell phones!” Fortunately, in The sand man this extra time jump does very little to change the story.
2. No Hell Triumvirate:
Due to an ongoing DC storyline, when Lucifer was first introduced in the comics, he wasn’t the sole ruler of Hell. Instead, there was a triumvirate with Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Azazel. This later changes and Lucifer becomes the sole ruler of Hell. As a result, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar is the sole ruler of Hell. This works very well because basically Lucifer is the most powerful and important of these rulers. Plus, when you cast Gwendoline Christie, she’s the star. I also think she’s a perfect Lucifer and they even have that cute haircut.
3. Design by John Dee and The Corinthian:
John Dee is a human who was deformed into a corpse-like creature due to Dream’s ruby power. David Thewlis doesn’t look like a corpse and is just a mild-mannered Briton in a robe. The Corinthian is also much more of a Southern charmer with his sleek suits, not the ’80s rocker-style persona he was designed to be. Corinthian, played by Boyd Holbrook, is also much more active in the plot to keep Dream without power. These changes allow both characters to be compelling antagonists that guide us through the show’s first season.
4. No Justice League of America and DC shout-outs:
The sand man is part of a DC imprint and was therefore able to integrate DC characters into canon. For example, John Dee/Doctor Destiny, was a minor Justice League supervillain who controlled people’s dreams and emotions with a special ruby. While trying to find the location of his ruby, Dream gets help from Mr. Terrific and the Martian Manhunter. While the series was still being made in tandem with Warner Bros., it was probably decided that delving into these things would be distracting and overall unnecessary as they add nothing to the plot, which cannot be adjusted.
5. Dinner scene details:
One of the most iconic moments in the first arc of Sand seller is the restaurant scene in which John Dee, for 24 hours, drives the customers of a restaurant crazy. This still happens in the show, but the details are heavily changed. It gets much darker as Dee slowly escalates the aggression of the customers until it erupts into a cascade of murders. Dee’s impact also infects the world, and at one point a children’s show even tries to get kids to self-harm. I don’t think we lost much by making these changes, highlighting how the same themes and elements can be represented differently.
6. Lyta Hall and the Missing Creations:
In DC Comics, the character Lyta Hall is a fury in the sense of Greek mythology and first appeared in Wonder Woman #300 as the daughter of Diana and Steve Trevor (before this was changed post-Crisis). In the new canon, Lyta was the daughter of newly created character Helena Kosmatos and was trained by Wonder Woman’s mother. She later quit being a superhero to have a child with husband Hector Hall, who later died. Lyta got stuck in a dream dimension created by Brute and Glob, two rogue creations of Morpheus, where Hector was still alive. When Morpheus returns, Hector’s soul was freed and Lyta was returned to Earth, where she gave birth to her son Daniel.
Netflix changes that a lot. First of all, as we discussed earlier, the DC aspect is gone and Lyta is a friend of Rose Walker. Hector is dead and his return is tied to Rose’s powers as a Vortex rather than the Creations. Rather than Brute and Glob, there’s a nightmare who wants to be a dream and ends up caring for Rose’s brother, Jed, and helping him deal with his abusive family. She wants to be able to give people dreams instead of nightmares.
What are some of the changes that stood out to you while watching?
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