The Sandman's Dream with a helmet
(Netflix)

You May Know the Prodigal in ‘The Sandman’ by Another Name

Today, Netflix dropped a casting announcement for the next installment of The Sandman, teasing three new characters. One of them has a name that breaks the mold: The Prodigal.

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The teaser features the seven siblings of the Endless posing in their finest outfits. The Endless, for the uninitiated, are the anthropomorphized forces that govern all of existence in the universe. In The Sandman season 1, we met Dream (Tom Sturridge), Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), Desire (Mason Alexander Park), and Despair (Donna Preston). Together, these four siblings define and rule over dreams and reality, life and death, desire and repulsion, and despair and hope, respectively.

But as fans of the comics knew—and as keen-eyed viewers might have noticed—there were three siblings missing from the family. Now we finally get to meet them: Destiny (Adrian Lester), Delirium (Esmé Creed-Miles), and a mysterious figure known as the Prodigal (Barry Sloane).

Wait a minute! Who is the Prodigal? And why doesn’t he have a D name like his siblings?

Turn back now if you’re avoiding potential spoilers!

In the original Sandman comics, “the Prodigal” is the name that the Endless give their long-lost sibling, Destruction. We first hear about Destruction long before we actually meet him. In fact, we first hear about him in one of the first scenes in Season of Mists. Season of Mists starts with a family dinner among the Endless, but of course Destruction is nowhere to be found.

Destruction walks down a dirt path, barefoot, with a bindle and book in his hands.
(DC Vertigo)

Destruction, as the personification of destruction and creation, leaves his realm and abandons his duties at the dawn of the modern age on Earth, when he realizes that humankind has become capable of mass planetary destruction.

In the comics, we do eventually catch up with Destruction, who lives as a nomad with a talking dog named Barnabas. After Morpheus and Delirium set off to find him, he finally has a heart to heart with them before reaffirming his decision to abandon his post.

How will Destruction’s story play out in the Netflix adaptation? It’s hard to say, since Netflix may be taking some liberties with the order of the source material. Nevertheless, it looks like we’ll meet him in the next batch of episodes, which Netflix assures fans is coming soon.


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>