The universes in which we live are interrelated. If you enjoy watching television or movies, you’ll understand exactly what I’m saying. If not, that probably sounds like something Carl Sagan or Neil DeGrasse Tyson would say. Unfortunately, we’re not discussing the real cosmos of space, but rather the loosely connected realms of science fiction, horror, and genre films and television.
When Disney+ is connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars, shows like Peacemaker are spinoffs of films like The Suicide Squad, and franchises like Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, and The Boys are now expanding with prequel series, it makes sense to wonder whether something like Netflix’s The Sandman (which is based on a DC Comics series written by Neil Gaiman) is connected to any larger universe.
Fortunately, we know the answer.
Is the comic book The Sandman a part of the DC Universe?
Yes! Although the first 75 issues of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comic book primarily consist of connected short arcs and standalone stories, the story generally tells its standalone epic, there are numerous references to the story taking place in a world where other DC icons, such as Gotham City, also exist.
For instance, when we first meet John Dee (played by David Thewlis in the show), he has transformed into a monster-like shell of a human after abusing the ruby that was stolen from Dream in the first arc of The Sandman, titled “Preludes and Nocturnes,” which is adapted into much of Season 1 of Netflix’s The Sandman. He appears to us as Doctor Destiny, a superhero who is being beaten up by characters such as Batman and the Green Lantern.
Saying an asylum, what? Yes, you guessed it—Arkham Asylum, most renowned for having been the residence of the majority of Batman’s insane villains at one point or another, is where Dee ultimately finds up. Other connections can be found in that first Sandman volume as well, such as the occult fighter John Constantine (previously portrayed in live-action by Keanu Reeves and Matt Ryan, and now portrayed by Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, a DC character in her own right) and a brief encounter with Justice League member Martian Manhunter.
But because The Sandman was marketed as a standalone universe, these links mostly exist inside the pages of the comic book.
Is the Netflix series The Sandman a part of the DC Universe?
Nope! There are no mentions of Arkham Asylum, Green Lantern, Batman, or Martian Manhunter in the Netflix series, which makes sense given that the streaming service has no other affiliation with the DC Universe or any original works that use those characters.
The character of Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman), essentially serves as a rebooted version of the occult-infused character of John Constantine, who was previously portrayed by Keanu Reeves in the 2005 film Constantine and by Matt Ryan in both the NBC series Constantine and the CW Arrowverse, is the only thing that even remotely resembles John Constantine.
The Sandman has its comic universe, even if Netflix doesn’t put its plot in the greater DC Realm. If the program is successful, Netflix may continue to expand this universe.