The Sandman: who are the first villains of the Netflix series?
The first trailer for Netflix’s The Sandman revealed that the first major villains will be the Order of Ancient Mysteries, an English secret society.
It is no exaggeration to say that Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s film The sand man generated a parcel of excitement among the fans. The first trailer for the series was recently released and seems to perfectly recreate scenes from the first issue of the comic book.
The protagonist, Dream, is the master of the Dream. He is also one of the Seven Immortal Beings known as Endless. The trailer shows how Dream was imprisoned by an occult secret society using ceremonial magic. This group is the Order of the Ancient Mysteries and they are the first villains portrayed both in the comics and (apparently) in the upcoming Netflix series.
Like many characters in The sand man, The Order of the Ancient Mysteries only makes a few appearances, but their presence is continually felt throughout the series. Debut in The sand man # 1 (by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg), The Order was an occult secret society founded by Roderick Burgess in Wychcross, England, at the turn of the 20th century. During World War I, the group persuaded Dr John Hathaway, the Royal Museum’s senior curator, to provide them with a rare book of magic, the Magdalene Grimoire. Hathaway’s son had been killed that morning and Burgess exploited his grief. Together, they and the rest of the Order of Ancient Mysteries performed a magical ritual to imprison Death, hoping to end the mass slaughter caused by the Great War.
However, they failed, instead capturing Death’s younger brother, Dream. The Order stole the items from Dream’s office and kept him locked up. They also blackmailed Hathaway, forcing him to give them rarer artefacts from the Royal Museum. After his thefts were discovered, Hathaway committed suicide, writing a suicide note that explained his actions and exposed the Order. However, the note was magically destroyed.
Over the following decades, the Order of the Ancient Mysteries turned on itself. A few members fled, stealing the artifacts that had belonged to Dream. Eventually Roderick Burgess died of old age and his son, Alex Burgess, replaced him as head of the Order, leading it with his lover Paul as second in command. Throughout the ’60s, the two tapped into the New Age movement, teaching basic mysticism to young hippies whom they used for sex and money. Meanwhile, Dream escaped his imprisonment, condemning Alex to spend the rest of his life trapped in endless nightmares.
The Order declined after that, but it has appeared in other DC comics. In Green arrow: quiver (by Keven Smith, Phil Hester and Ande Parks) villainous Stanley Dover studies the magic of the Order of Ancient Mysteries. He steals a grimoire from them, summoning an infernal entity known as the Nameless Beast.
In Sandman Presents: The Dream (by Si Spurrier and Bilquis Evely), it is revealed that the remnants of the Order worked with a tech CEO named Hyperion Keter, using a perverse twist of Kabbalah and sympathetic magic to tattoo Dream with a seal that weakened it. Keter also created an AI that eventually took control of the dream, threatening reality itself. Eventually, Dream was restored to power again, but by that time countless lives had been destroyed by the influence of AI on the collective subconscious.
It is unlikely that the first season of Netflix The sand man will represent the Order of Ancient Mysteries beyond the pilot episode. However, the group remains one of the most formidable villains in the entire comic book series, and their members are the only humans who have ever used magic to imprison Dream.
KEEP READING: Sandman Fan Spots Obscure Easter Egg in Audible Drama
Marvel’s ‘iron carnage’ is more gruesome than anything in Venom 2
About the Author