The Sandman. Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian in episode 102 of The Sandman. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

“The Sandman”: An Explanation of Dream’s Shapeshifting

Some fans were perplexed by how subtly Dream of the Endless demonstrated his alleged shapeshifting abilities in “The Sandman” on Netflix. Early issues of “The Sandman” comics demonstrated how Dream and his Endless family siblings are viewed differently by various individuals depending on their assumptions of what the god-like Endless should look like. Most of these scenes were cut from the Netflix adaption, making the one instance that was kept stand out as a little odd.

A Hope In Hell, the fourth episode of The Sandman,” showed Dream’s shape-shifting ability. Dream is led past several cells on the way to the palace of Lucifer and addressed as Kai’ckul by a lady he recognizes as Nada, his old lover. To illustrate how Nada’s people view Dream as a god, Dream is portrayed by Ernest Kingsley Junior rather than Tom Sturridge when he speaks to Nada.

The brief sequence demonstrates Dream’s (the Sandman’s) many monikers and roles as the God of Dreams in various cultures. He only gets recognized by sentient life as having a similar appearance; he does not, however, actually change shape. It is widely recognized that Dream sees himself in the guise of a pale-skinned human male with dark hair, which is how Morpheus is typically depicted. However, some of “The Sandman’s” audience seems to have missed the delicate way this concept was presented.

What Other Characters From Comics Have Looked Like Dream?

Preludes and Nocturnes, the first story arc of “The Sandman” comics, did more than the Netflix series to highlight Dream’s capacity to assume relatable forms. The Martian Manhunter, who saw Dream as a floating, blazing skull, provided the best illustration of this. It was clarified that this was Lord L’Zoril, the Martian God of Dreams. In later issues of “The Sandman,” Dream of the Endless was seen appearing to a cat as a black cat and conversing with the Japanese storm god Susano-O-No-Mikoto as a warrior.

Dream can change his shape, but to call him a shapeshifter would imply that he is actively trying to hide this fact. It would be more accurate to state that Dream has the ability to manifest himself in a way that best enables people to understand who he truly is. This could account for how the Dream King changed into a black trenchcoat, emulating the warlock John Constantine’s signature attire after the warlock reported that he had seen Morpheus in his actual form in the third issue of “The Sandman” comic.