The Sandman: This is why Lucifer fights Morpheus in “Elder Duel”

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In Netflix’s “Sandman,” Morpheus goes up against Lucifer to regain his helmet. This competition did not exist in the comic book template. We will explain the reason for this change.

  • The DC series “Sandman” has been running on the streaming provider Netflix since August 5, 2022.
  • In search of his sacred objects, there is a competition with Lucifer that did not exist in the comics.
  • “Sandman” creator Neil Gaiman explains: The fight was intended to give actress Gwendoline Christie more airtime.

The Netflix series “Sandman” is about the king of stories, one of the seven endless ones, called Dream. The streaming service’s own production is based on the popular DC comics by Neil Gaiman (“Good Omens“, “Anansi Boys”), who is involved in the series implementation as Executive Producer. Gaiman also developed the comic templates for “Lucifer” and “Marvel’s Eternals”.

The merciless battle between the king of dreams Lord Morpheus (Tom Sturrridge) and the ruler of hell Lucifer (Gwendoline Christie) takes a different course in the Netflix series “Sandman” than in the comic book template.

Morpheus ends up in hell in search of his magic items. A demon of Lucifer has the Sandman’s helm in his possession and only wants to give it back if Morpheus wins it in a contest.

In the comic books, there is then a competition, the so-called “Elder Duel” between the demon and the lord of dreams. For the series, however, the showrunners choose a different path. The devil himself plays here.

In an interview with the US magazine “Variety”, Neil Gaiman, the creator of the comic book series, explains how this decision came about.

When I created Lucifer, I wanted him to let others play and become increasingly angry as he watched. When you’ve cast a “Lucifer” fan like Gwendoline Christie in his role, who stands eight feet tall with heels and wings, you want to give her a stage as often as possible. So why not let Lucifer play the “Elder Duel”? Why not let Gwendoline be the person to take on that competition because it’s cooler, because we love her, and because she’s on screen. But also because it is so much more personal.

Gaiman to Variety

A fight against an inferior being is less exciting and impressive than an equal competition. Therefore, it was decided to let the devil himself compete against Dream. Due to the immense size difference between GoT actress Gwendoline Christie and British Tom Sturridge, the “Oldest Duel” looks like a real threat to the king of dreams.

It is not uncommon for certain scenes from templates to be altered for the benefit of movies and series. What works on a short panel in a comic may not work for a series.

Since comic book author Gaiman was involved in the production of “Sandman,” such a plot change isn’t a major break for the series. So the show stays true to the comics while still being able to implement its own ideas under Gaiman’s guidance.

“Sandman” and “Lucifer”

The character Lucifer plays a prominent role in “Sandman” as in the comics that appeared from 1989 to 1996. Neil Gaiman developed his own idea from this and even gave the charming devil his own comic series with the same title.

DC and Fox have already adapted this comic and brought you a popular series with “Lucifer”. Therefore, fans had hoped that Tom Ellis could return to his signature role in “Sandman”. But nothing will come of it.

Sandman: Cast

The Sandman: This is why Lucifer fights Morpheus in "Elder Duel"
The Sandman © Netflix

Starring Tom Sturridge (“Sweetbitter”) in the role of Dream and the amazing ” Game of Thrones ” actress Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer.

Jenna Coleman (“Doctor Who“) as Johanna Constantine, Stephen Fry (“Kingdom”) as Gilbert, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste (“The Good Place”) as Death himself also appear in “Sandman”.

You’ll also hear Patton Oswalt (“The Goldbergs”) as Matthew the Raven and see Charles Dance (“The Crown“) as Roderick Burgess, Boyd Holbrook (“Narcos”) as the Corinthians and David Thewlis (“Fargo”) in the role of John Dee.

Fans are also happy about the cast of the non-binary actor(s): in Mason Alexander Park (“Cowboy Bebop”) as Desire.

In other roles you can see:

  • Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne
  • Sanjeev Bhaskar as Cain
  • Asim Chaudhry as Abel
  • Sandra James Young as Unity Kincaid
  • Razane Jammal as Lyta Hall
  • Donna Preston as Despair
  • Kyo Ra as Rose Walker
  • Joely Richardson as Ethel Cripps
  • David Thewlis as John Dee
  • Niamh Walsh as Young Ethel Cripps
  • Nina Wadia as Fate Mother

Sandman: Stream

“Sandman” can be seen exclusively on the streaming service as a Netflix in-house production and will probably never be seen on free or pay TV, other streamers will also get nothing.