The Sandman Comics VS Series: What’s the premise and how is it different?

The Sandman Comics VS Series: What’s the premise and how is it different?

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman might have finally gotten a good adaptation after years. Netflix’s The Sandman remained true to the iconic comics for the most part, except some minor changes, which were necessary, if you ask me.

It is actually a good decision that the makers cast persons of color to play characters which were white in the comics. It does not take away much from the story, and keeps the main premise intact, yet makes sensible changes, being true to our time.

In terms of plot, the premise of the series is almost identical to that of the comics, apart from some minor changes, which I’ll talk about in this article.

In short, Sandman is trapped in an occult trial and remains in captivity for over a century. He is finally able to escape after years, but he comes back to his realm to realize that much has changed since he left.

What is the premise of The Sandman?

The Sandman begins with Sir Roderick Burgess preparing for an occult trial, to capture Death, one of the seven Endless. The Endless refers to the personification of various metaphysical forces of nature who’ve existed since the beginning of time.

Roderick Burgess wishes to capture Death, to ask him to return his beloved son, Randall, who died in the battle of Gallipoli during World War I. He takes the help of John Constantine, who provides him with a book that contains the necessary spells.

However, instead of Death, Burgess ends up capturing Dream. He takes away all of Dream’s possessions; the helm, the sand pouch, and the ruby. Dream’s possessions give him wealth, prosperity and youth, but he is unable to make Dream talk, let alone claim anything else from him.

Burgess keeps Dream captive in an enormous glass jar, with a magic circle all around it. He keeps asking him what he can offer him in exchange of his freedom, but Dream refuses to speak.

Although Dream does not age, mortals do. Roderick Burgess keeps aging. Later, in an accident involving his younger son, Alex, he dies. Out of context, but I would be lying if I said the way Burgess treated Alex did not give me flashbacks of Game of Thrones, where Tywin treated Tyrion the same way. Is it a coincidence that Roderick Burgess and Tywin Lannister are played by the same actor?

The Sandman Comics VS Series: What’s the premise and how’s it different?
The Sandman | Source: IMDb

Coming back to the point, Alex tries to strike a deal with Dream after his father’s death. He promises to free him if he promised not to harm him and his boyfriend, Paul. However, Dream remains quiet.

An aged Alex keeps requesting Dream for the same, until one fine day, his wheelchair accidentally erases a part of the magic line, which helps Dream escape. Dream goes back to his realm, only to find it destructed and falling apart.

Thus, the King of Dreams decides to rebuild his realm again and bring back his citizens, but all his possessions are lost. So, he has to regain each one of them, to gain back his power and rebuild his paradise again.

This is basically how the premise of The Sandman looks like, and it is almost identical to Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel. There isn’t much change in the plot.

How is The Sandman different from the comics?

There is not much difference between the series and the comics, at least in terms of the plot and the premise. However, there are some changes in the cast and characters.

The Sandman Comics VS Series: What’s the premise and how’s it different?
The Sandman | Source: Fandom

For instance, Lucifer’s gender has been swapped, and the role of the Ruler of Hell is played by Gwendolyn Christie. Lucien, the royal librarian of the realm of the Dreaming, is Lucienne in the show, played by a black woman. In the comics, Lucien is a white man.

In the comics, Death is a white Goth girl. In the series, she is played by a black woman.

One important change is that John Constantine, a sorcerer in the DC canon, has been gender swapped to become Johanna Constantine in the series. Johanna Constantine is not to be confused with Lady Johanna, who is from the original comics.

So, there aren’t any major changes in the series from the comics. The gender and race of some of the characters has been changed, that is all. Apart from that, there are some minor changes.

For instance, in Episode 3, Johanna feels sad because her girlfriend Rachel suffers a terrible fate simply because her ancestor Johanna left her with Sandman’s sand. This is different from the comic book version, where it is hinted that Rachel knew the sand’s magical powers but tried to trade it in for drugs after stealing it from John Constantine.

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About The Sandman

The Sandman is an American fantasy drama TV series based on the 1989–1996 comic book written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. The series was developed for Netflix and is being produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.

The first season adapted the first two comics in the series, Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. In 1916, Dream, the king of Dreams and Nightmares and one of the seven Endless, is captured and imprisoned after an occult ritual. After being held captive for 106 years, he escapes and sets out to restore order to his kingdom of The Dreaming.

The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge as Dream, with Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar in supporting roles.