The Sandman star Tom Sturridge talks about his character Morpheus’ growth in the first season, saying he learns to feel empathy for the first time. The Sandman is set to premiere its first season on August 5 on Netflix. Along with Sturridge, the large cast also features Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Charles Dance, Jenna Coleman, David Thewlis, and Stephen Fry.
The Sandman, based on Neil Gaiman’s comics of the same name, follows Sturridge’s Morpheus as he escapes from century-long imprisonment and must work to restore order to his kingdom of the Dreaming. The series has lounged in development hell for decades, with many adaptations attempts failing to get off the ground until Netflix signed off on the TV series in 2019. At SDCC 2022, the creative team released several new teasers for The Sandman, suggesting an accurate recreation of the comics’ look and tone.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant at Comic-Con, Sturridge talks about what Morpheus’ character arc for the first season will entail. He talks about how Morpheus starts the season apathetic and self-serving, but the loss of his powers requires him to seek help from humans, teaching him to empathize with someone other than himself. He also talks about how Morpheus’ sister Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) teaches him the benefits of feeling for others. Read his quote below:
Sturridge talks about Morpheus having a quest to become more sympathetic, which can be seen as a pretty typical protagonist arc. Morpheus’ depiction in The Sandman comics shows how self-serving and narcissistic he can be, but as the protagonist, he has to overcome some sort of change for the better for the audience to emotionally invest in his story. If Morpheus stayed the same throughout the series, there’d be less sense of weight and consequences to story beats and developments.
A good formula for writing stories is to measure how the protagonist affects and is affected by the story and how they’ve changed from beginning to end. Morpheus starts the story at a low point and must confront his own deeply engrained way of thinking in order to achieve his goals, which is a rock-solid foundation for a character arc that all other plot points can develop around. With The Sandman dropping in less than a week, fans of the comics won’t have to wait much longer to see if Sturridge is able to pull off Morpheus’ character growth with the compelling fascination of the comics.
Next: Why Sandman Didn’t Cast James McAvoy As Dream (Despite Being Perfect)