The Sandman Comics Were Literally Embedded Into A Set For The Netflix Show [Exclusive]

The Netflix adaptation of Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" has managed to do what was considered impossible. The live-action series embraces the larger-than-life aspects of Gaiman's intricate saga while creating a compelling episodic structure that works in its favor. Apart from boasting a stellar cast who assume the roles of diverse characters from Gaiman's source material, "The Sandman" is also beautiful to look at, thanks to its committed visual effects team.

/Film spoke to Ian Markiewicz, who worked as VFX supervisor on "The Sandman," in a soon-to-be-published interview. Per Markiewicz, the show tried its best to recreate panels from the comics whenever it worked best for the narrative, and the Gates of Horn, which can be seen in "Sleep of the Just," featured "a bunch of material from "The Sandman: Overture." He said:

"There's tons of little Easter eggs in there. So there's a bunch of material from [The Sandman: Overture] that we took that actual physical panels from Overture, and placed them into small little pieces of that larger design."

"The Sandman: Overture" serves as a prequel to Gaiman's comics series, and its events are set on a distant alien planet where Dream travels to investigate the Corinthian's wrongdoings. The visual elements embedded into the Gates of Horn are a compilation of comic panel snippets from "Overture," such as the close-up of Dream's helm and the animal motifs that are etched onto it. By incorporating these elements, "The Sandman" adds an intriguing visual layer to the scene for comics fans, while offering new audiences yet another reason to check out the extremely rich source material. 

Bringing hauntingly beautiful panels to life

Recreating panels from a popular and beloved comic series can be daunting, as some things get inevitably lost in translation when transferred to a completely different medium. However, "The Sandman" pays homage to its source material in a way that complements the tone of the show, as seen in the sequence where Dream escapes captivity, which is a faithful visual recreation of the comics. Although events in "The Sandman: Overture" have not been referenced in the series as it is a prequel, there are two scenes from the installment that have made it to the show. The first is when Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong) tells Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) that she has a "presentiment" that he will not be returning soon, and the second is the one in which Morpheus confronts Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook) right before being captured. 

Circling back to the Gates of Horn, the comics detail that it is guarded by a Gryphon, a Wyvern, and a Hippogryph. While these animals are present when the Dreaming is first introduced in episode 1, they are gone by the time Morpheus returns from captivity. However, on closer inspection of the gates, one can see that these creatures are etched onto the ivory gates, mimicking the beautiful art style of "Overture." Apart from this, the many faces of Morpheus that can be seen etched above are direct recreations of the art style of Dream in "Overture." 

This is a pretty cool Easter egg, for sure, and given how "The Sandman" keeps getting better at capturing the essence of its source material (as seen in the bonus episodes "Dream of a Thousand Cats; Calliope"), it will be interesting to see how the show continues to do so, if it is renewed for a potential second season.