The following story contains mild spoilers for The sand man Netflix comics and series.
We live in a world of interconnected universes. If you’re a TV or movie fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you’re not, it probably sounds like something Neil Degrasse Tyson or Carl Sagan would say. Alas, we’re not talking about the actual cosmos of outer space, but the somewhat related worlds of science fiction, horror, and general genre movies and shows.
When shows like Peacemaker are spin-offs from movies like The Suicide Squad, pretty much everything we watch on Disney+ is connected to a larger world, either the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars, and even franchises like game of thrones, The Lord of the Rings, and The boys are now expanding with prequel seriesit’s reasonable to wonder if something like Netflix The sand man (which is based on a DC Comics series written by Neil Gaiman) is connected to any larger DC Universe, similar to the above Peacemaker is.
Fortunately, we have the answer for you. And even more fortunately, it’s not that complicated.
East The sand man comic part of the DC Universe?
Yes! While Neil Gaiman’s initial 75-issue series The sand man the comic largely tells its own stand-alone tale – consisting largely of interconnected short arcs and stand-alone tales – there are many references to the story existing in a world where other DC staples, such as Gotham City, also exist.
For example, in the first arc of sand man, titled “Preludes and Nocturnes” – which is adapted into much of Netflix’s Season 1 The sand man– when we first meet John Dee (played by David Thewlis on the show), he’s become a monstrous shell of a human after abusing the ruby stolen from Dream. We see him go through the character of Doctor Destiny, a superhero getting beaten up by Batman and the Green Lantern. This is how he ends up in an asylum.
An asylum, you say? Yes, you guessed it – the asylum Dee ends up in is none other than Arkham Asylum, of course best known for being the location of most of Batman’s unhinged villains. There are other connections even in this first Sand seller volume as well as occult fighter John Constantine (previously played in live-action by Keanu Reeves and Matt Ryan, played in The sand man on Netflix in a gender-swap form, as Johanna Constantine (a full-fledged DC character) by Doctor Whoby Jenna Coleman) and a brief visit with Justice League member Martian Manhunter.
But since The sand man was sold as its own universe, these connections are largely limited to comics.
East The sand man Does Netflix show part of the DC universe?
Nope! Comic book references to places like Arkham Asylum and the likes of Green Lantern, Batman and Martian Manhunter are nowhere to be found on Netflix’s show – which makes sense, given that Netflix has no other connection to the show. DC Universe or any original project featuring these characters.
The only light The connection runs through the character of Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman), who essentially functions as a rebooted version of the occult-immersed character of John Constantine, who was previously played by Keanu Reeves in the 2005 film. Constantine and by Matt Ryan in the NBC series Constantine and the CW Arrowverse.
Although Netflix doesn’t set its story within the larger DC Universe, The sand man has its own comic universe – and it’s possible that if the series is a success, Netflix will continue to develop it.
Evan is the cultural editor of Men’s Health, with bookmarks in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine and VICE. He likes weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he does.
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