Why Rosemary's Fate In The Sandman Netflix Series Was Different From The Comic

(Spoilers follow for "The Sandman" season 1, episode 4.)

The Netflix adaptation of "The Sandman" made some pretty interesting changes from the comics it was inspired by. Sure, a lot of plot details were kept intact, but overall, the series arguably achieved a decent balance between staying faithful to the original material and changing it to make a more cohesive story.

Among the biggest changes the series implemented involved John Dee (David Thewlis). Contrary to his comic depiction as a madman who only wanted others to suffer, the show's version was portrayed more naively, using the same methods of control and manipulation in order to try and make the world a better place. He's not an innocent character by any means, but it was interesting seeing him create a path of destruction out of misplaced good intentions.

Even though John is no longer the decaying Doctor Destiny of the comics, one aspect of his story has been changed in a surprising way. In both the comics and the series, a woman named Rosemary (Sarah Niles) picks him up after he escapes the hospital from which he was being held. However, after she is taken hostage and forced to drive him out of the city, she's shot dead by John in the comics. In the series, she instead is given his coveted amulet of protection and set free.

So, what caused the change in fate? According to "Sandman" creator Neil Gaiman, it was all about subverting expectations.

A good woman

If you didn't already know, Neil Gaiman runs his own Tumblr blog, where he frequently answers questions regarding his work. Asked about Rosemary and why he and the rest of the development team decided to give her a somewhat happier ending, in true Gaiman fashion, his answer was pretty succinct:

"I wanted the people who knew the comics really well to realize that perhaps they didn't always know what would happen next," he responded.

As simple as this answer is, it makes a lot of sense. Many comic adaptations either follow the original material too faithfully, or they completely disregard it in favor of an original story. In the case of the former, watching an adaptation can become a game of predicting what will happen next, thus not really being surprised or invested in the plot. Even though "The Sandman" isn't perfect in how it adapts its iconic stories, many of the changes from the page to the screen were effective in getting both newcomers and longtime fans truly invested in the story. Rosemary being given the amulet of protection instead of getting murdered is one of these well-done changes.

The first season of "The Sandman" is available to stream on Netflix.