Available on Netflix since August 5, Sandman won over fans of Neil Gaiman’s work. But they also wonder why the series has no connection to the DC universe when the graphic novels do. Explanations.
Launched since August 5 on Netflix, the Sandman series adapted from the work of Neil Gaiman is not part of the famous DC Universe, this universe of interconnected works made on the same model as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Considering the recent upheaval within the DC Universe – between the cancellation of The Flash and the movie Batgirl – perhaps this is good news.
Indeed, the graphic novels by Neil Gaiman were published between 1989 and 1996 under the Vertigo label which is a collection of DC Comics. The first issues of The Sandman saw John Constantine and members of the Justice League appear. DC’s lesser-known superheroine, named Element Girl, even found herself at the center of a unique The Sandman story, titled “Facade.”
Finally, the comic books of Neil Gaiman “somehow ended up wandering home“, as the author said in an interview with Variety. This process only accelerated over time, in that, as he continued to write, Gaiman began to claim that The Sandman had always existed separate from the DC Universe proper. Or, as he puts it:
His world is increasingly joining ours and becoming less and less one in which crime fighters in suits fly around etc. which means that by the end of The Sandman he had his own aesthetic that was no longer really the DC Universe.
Most Superhero Cameos From DC In Graphic Novels The Sandman are quite superfluous on the plot side, which simplified the task of the showrunners during the adaptation. With the exception of John Constantine. In this case, the Hellblazer was replaced by another occult detective who took the form of Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman), a character whose ancestor, Lady Johanna Constantine, also plays a key role in the original comics.
Then there’s the matter of John Dee (David Thewlis), aka Doctor Destiny, a DC Comics supervillain who’s just a little too vital for The Sandman to be ousted from the serial version. And at the same time, he’s not a famous character either, so his inclusion seems less problematic.
Which brings us to another question that preoccupied Neil Gaiman while developing The Sandman with David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg. “We didn’t want a series where you had to have read a whole bunch of comics published in 1988 and 1989 to understand what’s going on“, he explained to Variety. He also clarified that the presence of Doctor Destiny in the series was not a way of hinting at future Justice League cameos as in his comics:
“Well, a) No and b) The Justice League hasn’t been recomposed in about 29 years, at this point.”says Gaiman. “That group disbanded in 1996. No, we’re not introducing 1988’s Justice League.“
On the contrary, the absence of DC connections should only benefit Sandman in the long run and help the series realize its full potential by relying solely on its own identity.