Gaiman’s amazing graphic novel series, The Sandman, gained a ton of fans since its debut back in the late 1980s, and they have been itching for the day they might see it brought to life on screen for many years. Despair is one of the best-known characters within the story, and plenty of people are now wondering who Despair will be in The Sandman on Netflix.
Despair is a fictional character in The Sandman series published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in The Sandman (vol. 2) #10 (November 1989), and was created by Neil Gaiman and Mike Dringenberg. In the stories, it is hinted that she may have been responsible for the destruction of the planet Krypton as a means to create the ultimate despair. Donna Preston is playing her in the series.
There’s been a ton of hype surrounding the premiere of The Sandman, and many people are eager to know more about each of the characters as soon as possible – as well as the talented professionals that will be playing them. Stick around to find out everything you need to know about Donna Preston’s role in The Sandman so far – including snippets from interviews with the cast, the show’s creators, Gaiman, and even sneak peeks of Despair on screen!
Who is Despair in The Sandman?
Despair is Desire‘s twin sister. She is stocky, flabby, with fair skin, black hair, gray eyes, and pointed teeth. Her voice is little more than a whisper, and she has no scent, but her shadow gives off a musky, pungent scent, like snake skin. She wears no clothes. On one finger of her right hand, she wears a ring with a hook attached, with which she habitually inflicts the flesh on herself, and the hook itself is the seal held in the galleries of the other Endless.
Her realm is a gray space in which there is hovering a white mist and infinite mirrors, which are connected to the mirrors of the world of humans, through which she can look at those who are desperate. The only other inhabitants of her kingdom are rats. Usually, Despair acts in the company of Desire when he/she plots against the other Endless, particularly when Despair had a challenge with Morpheus about Joshua Abraham Norton’s life, apparently at Desire’s offer.
She is less distant from Desire’s family, though, and seems to have a soft spot for Delirium, and seemed to suffer from the lack of Destruction so much that she managed to manipulate Dream to such an extent that he felt guilty for Destruction’s abandonment of his duty. She doesn’t talk much, and consequently appears abrupt, but her speech upon Morpheus’ awakening in The Wake revealed her sympathy for her and her feelings for him.
At the beginning of Season of Mists (Sandman # 21), it was mentioned that Despair was once a confirmed goddess by a sect, called The Unforgiven, in what is present-day Afghanistan. All the empty rooms were proclaimed holy places for her. The sect existed for two years until the last member killed himself, outliving all the others by seven months.
Later in the series, it was discovered that the Despair that is seen is not the first Despair, but a second incarnation. The original Despair was seen in Endless Nights during a Dream story. She was described much as she is now, plump, flabby and undressed, but taller and with red tattoos all over her body, and more chatty.
It is later revealed in Brief Lives that, like Daniel Hall, it was originally someone else who took the place of the first Despair after her death. In World’s End, it was seen that the Old Necropolis was destroyed because of the laughter of the inhabitants at the other Endless, because they wanted the funeral sheet of the first Despair.
The only hint at how the first Despair died was given by Daniel in his conversation with Lyta Hall during The Wake: “The person responsible for the death of the first Despair will have all the rest of eternity to die. Only then will his pain cease. … And he’d do better because of what he’s done to you.”
Who is playing Despair in The Sandman?
Now that we have introduced Despair to you, who could fit this description? Well, the producers of the upcoming TV series made an excellent choice by casting young British actress Donna Preston in the role of Despair in Netflix’s The Sandman. Preston has appeared in numerous films and television series. Her film credits include Set the Thames on Fire (with Noel Fielding), Grimsby (with Sacha Baron Cohen), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (with Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson), and Holmes & Watson (with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly ).
She has also regularly done voice acting for Discovery Channel, BBC, ITV, E4, Amazon, and Channel 4. In 2018, she appeared in Coronation Street, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and had a starring role in Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, pulling off practical jokes with improvisations for the general public.
In 2019, she performed at Pants on Fire at E4. Preston wrote and co-produced the series Fully Blown for BBC Three’s Comedy Threesomes, which aired in 2019 and was nominated for a 2020 Broadcast Digital Award. From 2019 to 2020, Preston starred as Tracey in Hey Tracey! on ITV2 alongside Joel Dommett and appeared in episodes of The Mash Report on BBC Two. She has starred in a number of online comedy sketches for Channel 4.
In 2020 she appeared in episodes of BBC Three’s Famalam and the feature film Loves Spell. That year, she was also shortlisted for the 2020 Funny Women Awards and was a guest on 8 out of 10 Cats on Channel 4. In 2021, she made an appearance on Inside No. 9 and co-hosted Apocalypse Wow!. She has appeared as herself on Sky One’s Dating No Filter, CelebAbility, and Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two.
That same year, she was nominated for two Channel 4 National Comedy Awards, for Outstanding Female Comedy Entertainment Performance and for the Comedy Breakthrough Award. She is set to appear as Despair in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and Catherine Tate’s Hard Cell in 2022, both on Netflix.