Why the cast list probably should say “Morpheus” instead of “Dream”
(Yes, I’m posing a shouting-at-the-wall argument to Netflix even though the show isn’t even out yet. I’m tired and cranky. En garde!)
The audio drama of The Sandman lists the protagonist as “Lord Morpheus” yet The Netflix live-action series of The Sandman lists the protagonist as “Dream.” Both are technically correct however he really, really, should be listed as Morpheus. And here’s my argument as to why.
SPOILERS FOR THE SANDMAN COMICS UP AHEAD!
When Morpheus “died” (I still say he’s spending his afterlife as a dream entity in Hob’s mind) Daniel became the new aspect of Dream to take his place.
Dream of The endless is an entity that is best compared to a giant jewel. Each facet is a persona, an incarnation that can act autonomously, but is ultimately just a piece of the greater whole.
Daniel becomes Dream of The Endless however there is one name he does not take...
He refuses to answer to the name Morpheus. “Not Morpheus. I have no right to that name. I am Dream of The Endless: It is enough.”
Morpheus was as close as our protagonist got to having a true name. It was how Rose Walker was able to call out to him for help when she was nearly raped by Funland.
It was the one name Daniel did not inherit from him. It was the way to distinguish between the different aspects of Dream. Though both Daniel and Morpheus are aspects of Dream of The Endless, Morpheus would never answer to Daniel and Daniel would never answer to Morpheus.
When they released Plushies of the two of them it was how they were distinguished from each other: “Morpheus & Daniel.” (Damn you, DC for constantly teasing the notion of them co-existing as rulers of The Dreaming! Anyway...)
Yes, he answers to many names but Morpheus was a distinction specific to that aspect of Dream, just as Daniel is specific to the other aspect of Dream.
I suspect the show’s protagonist will be referred to as Morpheus a few times, probably by the likes of Lucifer, but the fact that the audio drama has him listed as “Lord Morpheus” but Netflix has him listed as “Dream” has already caused some annoying and unnecessary issues in the fandom.
Over on Twitter I already had to explain to someone that it’s the same character. “Then why is the Audible one listed as Lord Morpheus and this Netflix one is Dream? Wouldn’t they have the same name on the cast lists? It can’t be the same character.”
Imagine if the Good Omens audio drama listed Aziraphale as Aziraphale and Crowley as Crowley but on the Amazon Prime one it was Angel and Demon on the cast list. Technically correct but unnecessarily confusing.
Part of me dreads that the real reason he’s listed as “Dream” on the cast list is some meddling executive doesn’t want the character “confused” with the Matrix character also named Morpheus, much like some of those awful scripts for the Sandman that circulated in the 90s. Please, please, don’t idiot proof. This feels like idiot proofing.
Frankly, I’m tired of the Matrix character being the only search result when you do an image search for “Morpheus.” The Matrix character was named for the lord of dreams, so he shouldn’t have automatic first dibs on it just because the Matrix franchise wants to do a revival. That’s not fair.
End of rant.
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