The Sandman teaser has arrived, and it’s a dream come true. Neil Gaiman’s critically acclaimed fantasy comic has been an industry favorite since it was first published in 1989. Now the series will be brought to life as a Netflix original, debuting in full on August 5th. The teaser might be less than two minutes long, but it’s given us enough imagery to keep fans talking for hours (and you’d better believe that they are). From much beloved supporting characters to iconic moments from the series to shots that look like they were ripped straight from the page, it’s a feast for fans…and it’s only the beginning.
We’ll be talking about The Sandman a lot over the months ahead, but for now, here are some of the cool things we caught in the Sandman trailer.
Dream Come True
If anybody had doubts about Tom Sturridge playing Morpheus, then this teaser put them all to rest. Sturridge completely owns the role, embodying everything we love about Dream.
“I’m the king of dreams. Ruler of the nightmare realm,” Sturridge says, and when he says it, we can’t help but believe it. In addition to his commanding voice, Sturridge captures the essence of Morpheus just in how he looks at the camera. Check out the glare he gives while he’s in captivity—that isn’t an actor, that’s Morpheus, Lord of the Dreaming.
Art Becomes Life
Some of the shots from this teaser were direct recreations of Sam Keith’s iconic illustrations. Keith penciled the first five issues of The Sandman, developing the signature looks for Morpheus and his kingdom. Not only did the teaser capture Keith’s designs flawlessly, some of the shots seemed to be direct translations from some of his most iconic panels. Check out The Sandman #1 as you watch the teaser. Kieth’s visual influence is clearly right there on the screen. The shot of Morpheus conjuring a portal looks like it leapt straight out of the comic.
We get a good look at Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, an occult investigator who is about to have her hands full. This also represents an intriguing departure from the source material. Johanna Constantine appeared in The Sandman comics as an ancestor of the sorcerer John Constantine, but this version of Johanna appears to live in a modern setting. Coleman captures the aloof swagger we’ve come to expect from the Constantine bloodline, as she learns about the return of Morpheus.
You Mad, Jo?
As for who Johanna is talking to, why that’s Mad Hettie, a character who was first introduced in The Sandman #3. On the surface, Hettie may seem like an unassuming transient—a homeless woman living in London who spends the day muttering to herself. But there’s a far deeper meaning to Hettie’s so-called madness. When she says she’s been alive since the 1700s…well, she has. And as we see in the teaser, she clearly has knowledge of who Morpheus is. In the comics, Hettie proved to have life that extended far beyond the core Sandman series. She also appeared in spinoff titles like Death: The High Cost of Living, The Dreaming and The Sandman Universe: Books of Magic, as well as the original Hellblazer, which starred Johanna’s trench-wearing relation.
An Endless Kingdom
The teaser gives us a glimpse of the Dreaming, Morpheus’s kingdom, and it’s breathtaking. Seriously, I only wish my dreams were this vibrant. The Dreaming realm is colorful and full of architectural wonders. We also see the realm after it has fallen, becoming a decayed kingdom that exudes moodiness. The set pieces on this series are going to be spectacular, and I can’t wait to see more of them.
Death and Desire
The teaser gave us a brief look at Dream’s siblings, Death and Desire, and I already want more of them! Kirby Howell-Bapiste appears as Death, confidentially strutting across a field for a single second, but what a second it is. Death seems to embody power, grace and compassion all at once. I can’t wait to see what she brings to the table in a full-length episode—and with her iconic story “The Sound of Her Wings” a memorable part of The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes, there’s all likelihood that we’ll get one.
In addition, Mason Alexander’s Desire is seen, and the look they give to their mirror says it all. Readers of the comic know that Desire likes to create trouble for Dream, and now we’ll be seeing that rivalry play out onscreen.
Please Wait to be Seated
The teaser only gives us one second of David Thewlis as John Dee, but that single second holds so much promise. Dee clutches a ruby and seems to be standing next to a sign that says, “Welcome, please wait to be seated.”
Oh, my friends, if you’ve read The Sandman, then you know exactly what that means and how terrifying it is. “24 Hours” (published in The Sandman #6) is one of the most disturbing comics you’ll ever read, and it looks like we’ll be seeing it in live action. Make sure you put the kids to bed before this one.
The teaser closes with a brief look at the Corinthian, as portrayed by Boyd Holbrook. You’ll notice that the poster above doesn’t show his eyes and that in the teaser, they seem to be…bleeding. There’s a reason for this, as Sandman fans know, and it’s a deeply disturbing one. The Corinthian is a nightmare created by Morpheus who came to our realm to become a serial killer. The menace in Holbrook’s voice is breathtaking, and if the Corinthian’s comic book storyline is any indication, then it seems this is just a small taste of the horrors that await us.
(By the way, I’d be lax if I didn’t mention that the Corinthian is currently starring in his own series, written by no less than James Tynion IV. It’s called The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country and it’s well worth a look if you’re interested in the character. It’s also absolutely terrifying.)
Quoth the Raven
Let’s end with something a bit lighter, shall we? I never thought I would be so excited about seeing a bird, but Matthew the Raven is no ordinary avian, and he has fascinating ties to another iconic DC series.
Matthew Cable was a government agent who hunted Swamp Thing during his earliest appearances. Cable found himself caught in the crossfire of Anton Arcane’s war with Swampy, and ultimately lost his life. However, he was given another chance at life when he was reincarnated as a raven, who ultimately became Morpheus’s companion in The Sandman. If you’ve seen the 2019 DCTV series based on Swamp Thing, you might remember that actor Henderson Wade played Cable, and there were fans who wondered if we’d eventually be seeing him as a raven. Well, it’s not how they might have anticipated, but Matthew’s raven form will soon make its way to the screen, only this time, he’ll be embodied by comedian and actor Patton Oswalt. Hopefully in the next trailer, we might hear him speak.
This isn’t a dream, DC fans, The Sandman Netflix series is really happening. If the teaser left you hungry for more and you’ve not yet read The Sandman, the first eight issues of the series are available to read on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE. There’s also a highly acclaimed audio production that covers the first 2/3rds of the series (with the final installment finishing it out on its way) that’s available through Audible. In the meantime, we’ll be counting down the days until August 5th…
The Sandman, starring Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, the Master of Dreams, debuts August 5, 2022 on Netflix.