Who Is John Dee (Doctor Destiny) in The Sandman? Meet David Thewlis’ Character

john dee

The Sandman is one of the most highly-anticipated Netflix originals in recent months due to the fact that it is going to reveal the entire world that Neil Gaiman created in his DC comic book series. In that regard, the interest in the different characters of The Sandman is increasing, and that means people are now trying to get to know more about the personalities that will be appearing in the series. One of them is John Dee, who is also known as Doctor Destiny. So, who is John Dee in The Sandman?

John Dee is also known as Doctor Destiny and is the son of Ethel Cripps and Roderick Burgess in an extra-marital affair. He is a supervillain that managed to become powerful when he was able to take possession of the Dreamstone from Dream. John Dee is played by veteran actor David Thewlis in The Sandman.

One of the most prominent villains in the early part of The Sandman is John Dee, as he played a big role when he was introduced in the comics. He even had brush-ins with the Justice League throughout his time as a villain. But because we know that The Sandman on Netflix seems to be an entirely different universe compared to other DC shows and movies, let’s look at what we know about John Dee.

Who Is John Dee In The Sandman?

It isn’t a secret that interest in Netflix’s upcoming original called The Sandman, which is based on Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series published by DC Comics, is gaining traction in terms of the interest that people have regarding it. In line with that, there are more and more people who are interested in the characters that will be appearing in the series because of how there are some people who are big fans of The Sandman comics.

One of the characters that are sure to appear in season 1 of The Sandman on Netflix is John Dee, who was one of the characters that fans of The Sandman comics were able to meet during the earlier part of the storyline. So, who is John Dee in The Sandman?

Introduced during the second issue of The Sandman, John Dee quickly became one of the villains in the storyline. The character’s name, although John Dee, is actually unknown because this was simply a name he went by. He is also called by a different name that some DC fans are familiar with, and that is Doctor Destiny.


John Dee’s history is fleshed out in the storyline. He was born as the illegitimate son of Roderick Burgess when he had an affair with Ethel Cripps. And those who are familiar with plenty of different DC characters and the history of Dream/Morpheus in the comics will know how John Dee’s father is.

Roderick Burgess was the very reason why Dream got imprisoned for decades. Burgess set up a trap that was meant for Death but ended up entrapping Dream instead. This happened when he was returning from a significant event that was far from Earth, and the travel and the event themselves weakened him to the point that he got captured by Burgess, which was simply a fluke because of the fact that the Endless are some of the most powerful entities in the entire universe.


Who Is The Corinthian in The Sandman? Meet Boyd Holbrook’s Character

Dream spent decades as the prisoner of Roderick Burgess as the latter was trying to convince him to give him immortality. But Burgess was never able to force a single word out of the Endless throughout the decades that he imprisoned him.

Going back to our point, John Dee, as the son of Burgess, was just as villainous as his father. He was a criminal genius and a great inventor that was able to tamper with ancient relics themselves. Like a lot of different villains, his main goal was world domination, as he was able to create inventions that threatened the entire world and even forced the Justice League to act against him. 

At one point, John eventually became the supervillain named Doctor Destiny, who was smart enough to commit several crimes and used the Dreamstone, which was stolen from Dream himself, in experiments that allowed it to become attuned to him instead of Dream. He eventually called the stone Materioptikon, which is a relic so powerful that it allowed him to create reality from dreams.

Doctor Destiny was defeated by the Justice League, and that was how he got incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, which is a place that Batman fans are so familiar with because of the fact that this is one of the most popular places in the history of DC comics.

While John Dee was in Arkham, his mother gave the Dreamstone. Because of its immense power, the stone allowed John to escape Arkham while giving him incredible powers. But the cost was the fact that his mind and body were weakened, even though the stone was giving him incredible powers. And the more he used the stone, the more his sanity deteriorated despite the fact that he was becoming more and more powerful.

What Happened To John Dee In The Comics?

After Dream escaped from imprisonment, he sought out the Dreamstone so that he could repair the damage that Doctor Destiny had done while he was playing with the relic. This eventually ended up in a fight between John Dee and Dream. However, despite the fact that John Dee was able to put up a good fight, he resorted to destroying the Dreamstone because he thought that it would cause Dream’s destruction due to the fact that Dream had invested a good part of his essence into it.


Who Is Johanna Constantine in The Sandman? Meet Jenna Coleman’s Character

However, instead of dying, Dream became even more powerful because the essence that he stored in the Dreamstone got released and returned to him. This allowed him to defeat Doctor Destiny and send him back to Arkham Asylum.

Who Plays John Dee In The Sandman?

Fans of the Harry Potter movies will be delighted to know that the actor playing John Dee in The Sandman is David Thewlis, who played the role of Remus Lupin in the classic movie series. However, Thewlis has long been a veteran actor that played different roles throughout his entire career.

thewlis dee

Kids who grew up in the 90s would be familiar with him as the villain of the classic movie entitled DragonHeart. Since then, Thewlis continued to appear in other productions that only allowed him to improve his name and standing in the industry. 

He was in The Big Lebowski, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Veronika Decides to Die, Red 2, and Wonder Woman. The fact that he appeared as Ares in Wonder Woman means that this isn’t the first time that David Thewlis appeared in a production that was adapted from a DC comic book story.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments