“I’m the King of Dreams. Ruler of the Nightmare Realm.” Did the voiceover from the trailer of the much anticipated The Sandman send chills down your back? You are not alone. Several fans of the 75 comic book issues and otherwise are waiting with bated breath for Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the cult classic. Avid readers who’ve devoured the graphic novels multiple times, however, do have some valid questions regarding the placement of The Sandman in the DC Universe. Let’s try to clarify, shall we?
Is Netflix’s The Sandman canon to the DCEU?
Back in 1989, the world of The Sandman comics written by Neil Gaiman was very much a part of and even dictated by the DC Universe. The early issues even featured multiple cameos established in the universe. Scarecrow, the incarcerated Batman villain, Justice League members, and even Martian Manhunter showed up in the books. However, by his own admission, Neil Gaiman grew tired of the rules and limitations of the existing universe.
On the one hand, Gaiman has explicitly admitted that the lore for The Sandman is an independent entity barring a few characters that he “inherited or stole or begged or borrowed from the DC Universe itself.” On the other hand, in quintessential Neil Gaiman style, he toys with his fans. When a Twitter user asked if The Sandman “is happening in the current DCEU?”, Neil being Neil replied, “It is happening in all possible universes, including ours.” Utterly ambiguous, which left us all hopeful.
It is happening in all possible universes, including ours. https://t.co/qecS0b6jRU
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) July 26, 2022
In an interview with RadioTimes, Neil revealed, “I began it in the DC Universe incredibly intentionally.” But later, when he had to rewrite a few characters just to feed the canon for the DC universe, he thought, “This is too much like hard work actually trying to do all this continuity and keep it all going with other comics, I think I’ll just not. I’ll go off and do my own thing and when I visit DC continuity, I’ll go and visit those bits that everyone’s forgotten about and nobody cares about, like Element Girl or Prez.”
Will Batman appear in the Netflix adaptation?
Going back to the comics, issue #71 of Volume 10 titled The Wake, had Clark Kent, Martian Manhunter, and Batman in the same panel. So why wouldn’t the audience hope for a similar scene in the live-action adaptation? Also, fortunately, or unfortunately, we live in the era of the cinematic universe. With MCU and DCEU overpowering, there is also a theory of a Grand Pixar Cinematic Universe.
As usual, Neil Gaiman has a way of quashing our dreams and still keeping the intrigue alive. On his Tumblr page, he shared that with Netflix, they have a “chance to do it again, and to do it with the economy of not needing to exist in a shared universe in the same way.” He even added that they “don’t need the scene with the Justice League to get Dream to the Ruby.” There probably goes our chance of having a Batman cameo.
Is Neil Gaiman serious about his statement or is it just one of his misdirects to throw us off the scent? Only time will tell. And the best part? We don’t have to wait too long. The Sandman will premiere on August 5 on Netflix. Let us know your thoughts.