Warning: SPOILERS for the Netflix TV show “Sandman” and the comics “Sandman”
There are several references to the Prodigal Son in the first season of The Sandman, but who is he and how is he related to Sleep (Tom Sturridge) and the Infinite? The Netflix series “Sandman”, executive produced by Neil Gaiman, is a long-awaited adaptation of his favorite saga of graphic novels in the genre of dark fantasy from DC Comics. Sturridge plays Morpheus, the lord of dreams, along with Jenna Coleman as Joanna Constantine, Kirby Howell-Baptist as Death and Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar. The first season of “The Sandman” adapts Gaiman’s first two volumes, “Preludes and Nocturnes” and “Dollhouse,” which means that “The Prodigal Son” does not appear, but his absence is repeatedly mentioned.
At the beginning of The Sandman, Dream of the Endless is captured by a British sorcerer named Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance). The so-called Magician intended to delay and subdue Death to his will, but instead kept the Sandman captive for more than a hundred years. When Dream finally escapes, he sets out in search of restoring his ruined kingdom, Dreams, by re-acquiring the stolen symbols of office: the ruby from the stone of dreams, the helmet and the sandbag of dreams. The first season of “Sandman” also features some other members of the Infinite; Death appears in episode 6, while their mischievous younger siblings, Desire (Mason Alexander Park) and Despair (Donna Preston), manipulate events from afar. The other members of the Infinite, Destiny and Delirium do not appear in the first season of The Sandman, as does The Prodigal Son, whose absence affects the plots of Desire against Dreams.
The Prodigal Son, repeatedly mentioned in the first season of The Sandman, is Destruction, the fourth oldest member of the Infinite. Destruction is the younger brother of Fate, Death and Dreams and the older brother of Desire, Despair and Delirium (which was once Delight). Like the rest of the Infinite, Destruction was created at the beginning of the universe, when life was formed and became capable of destruction. However, Destruction is also the personification of necessary change, and he is an anthropomorphic personification, just like his brothers and sisters in the Infinite. In the Sandman comics, the identity of the Destroyer remains a mystery for years until his identity is revealed in “Short Lives”. Netflix’s “Sandman” also doesn’t reveal “Destruction” in the first season, although comics have been published for decades, and the identity of “Destruction” has been known to longtime “Sandman” readers since the 1990s.
Why Destruction Left the Infinite in the Sandman Comics and What Happened to Him
Destruction left its kingdom and responsibilities and left the Infinite in the 1700s. In the Short Lives story arc, Dream and Delirium set out on a journey to find their prodigal brother. Eventually they succeeded, and they found out that the Destruction was gone, because he foresaw what destruction humanity would be capable of due to the rapid development of science, and he no longer wanted to be responsible for it. Of course, the rejection of Destruction didn’t stop the destruction in the universe; he just didn’t want to embody or control it anymore. When he was finally found, it turned out that Destruction was a strong red—haired man, similar to the British actor Brian Blessed, whom Neil Gaiman once wanted to play the Destroyer in the film “The Sandman”. It’s not yet known who will play Destruction if and when he appears in Netflix’s “Sandman.”
If the Sandman adapts two volumes of graphic novels per season, then Destruction most likely won’t appear until the third season. But his siblings, especially Desiree and Delirium, clearly miss him, who initiate the search for Destruction in “Short Lives”. Desire also blames Dream for Destruction’s departure. Like the rest of the Infinite, Destruction has a sword symbol, but it is missing from the galleries of his brothers and sisters’ realms after he left and disappeared. “Encounter with Destruction” is what to expect if “The Sandman” becomes a big enough hit and Netflix orders more seasons to complete the story.