Not all big-budget DC series are heading to HBO Max in 2022. We just took a closer look at Netflix’s ambitious and hugely expensive adaptation of The Sandman. The first trailer for the series introduces many key heroes and villains that will shape the story of Season 1.
But don’t worry if you can’t tell Dream from Desire. Let’s break down all the familiar faces in this new footage so you’ll be ready for The Sandman when it releases in August 2022.
Netflix’s The Sandman Trailer: Morpheus and Infinity
The trailer opens with several shots of Morpheus from Tom Sturridge, the series’ main protagonist and the titular Sandman himself. Morpheus is also known as Dream. One of the seven immortal beings known as The Endless, Morpheus rules over a realm called The Dreaming, which is shaped by the dreams of mortals.
While executive producer Neil Gaiman has hinted that the series isn’t exactly a 1:1 adaptation of the comics, it does seem like Season 1 will follow the events of Sandman’s first graphic novel, Preludes and Nocturnes. We can see Morpheus being summoned and imprisoned by a group of cultists led by Charles Dance’s character, Roderick Burgess.
Although Morpheus eventually escapes, his decades of confinement leave his kingdom in ruins and cause a strange series of events to take place across the world. Here we see Lucienne de Vivienne Acheampong, Morpheus’ personal librarian, informing her master of the destruction that has befallen The Dreaming.
We may or may not meet all of Dream’s six siblings in Season 1, but we see two see two in the trailer. Kirby Howell-Baptiste plays Death, Morpheus’ older sister. She’s surprisingly chipper for a being that’s been around as long as life itself.
Here is Mason Alexander Park as Desire.
The embodiment of lust, Desire’s form changes to suit the viewer. They’ve been plotting against their brother for eons, and they’re only too happy to enjoy the chaos in The Dreaming.
The Sandman DC Universe Characters
While the Sandman comics feature a number of iconic DC heroes and villains in guest roles, we don’t know how many of these characters are available for Netflix. However, the trailer features two characters with significant ties to the wider DC Universe.
This scene shows Jenna Coleman’s Johanna Constantine speaking with a character named Mad Hettie.
In the comics, Johanna is a distant ancestor of John Constantine and had a run-in with Dream during the French Revolution. But it looks like the Netflix series will also feature Johanna in the present day, rather than John himself. That said, we don’t know if Coleman is playing two different members of the Constantine family or if Johanna is immortal.
Hettie is definitely immortal, however. She managed to stay alive for centuries by literally hiding her heart from death. Maybe Johanna taught him some tricks?
The other significant DCU character here is David Thewlis’ John Dee. In the comics, Dee was a supervillain named Doctor Destiny, who fought the Justice League using a device capable of turning dreams into reality.
You might also recognize this character from the Arrowverse, where he was played by Jeremy Davies in the 2018 crossover “Elseworlds.”
The Sandman pieced together Dee’s backstory and revealed that he gained his dream manipulation power after coming into possession of Morpheus’ mystical ruby amulet. Dee is one of the central villains of the first Sandman story arc, and he seems to fill a similar role here.
The Corinthian and Matthew the Raven
The trailer also shows off another significant villain in Boyd Holbrook’s character, The Corinthian. Created by Morpheus himself, The Corinthian is a living nightmare with extra mouths where his eyes should be. He’s a consummate serial killer running amok during the many years Morpheus is imprisoned on Earth, and cleaning up the Corinthian’s mess is one of our hero’s first missions after regaining his freedom.
Finally, we come to Matthew the Raven. Formerly a mortal human named Matthew Cable (yes, the same Matthew Cable who appeared in the short-lived DC Universe series Swamp Thing), he serves as Morpheus’ familiar and assistant in the Dreaming. This version of Matthew is voiced by none other than Patton Oswalt.
One major character is noticeably absent from this trailer. We don’t see Gwendoline Christie’s Lucifer Morningstar anywhere, although this fallen angel does play an important role early in the series. Christie technically plays the same character featured in the Lucifer TV series, just at an earlier time before Lucifer abdicates the throne of Hell and moves to Los Angeles.
For more on Netflix’s upcoming slate, check out everything announced so far during Netflix’s Geeked Week event.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by follow @jschedeen on Twitter.