Donna Preston Talks About Despair’s Surprise Cameo in ‘Dead Boy Detectives’

Ashley Hurst What's on Netflix Avatar

Despair Dead Boy Detectives

Source: Netflix

Netflix’s new paranormal series Dead Boy Detectives is set in the same universe as The Sandman, and that means crossovers. The series features two of the Endless siblings: Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Despair (Donna Preston). In this interview, we chat to Donna Preston about her surprise cameo as Despair. 

Despair’s appearance in Dead Boy Detectives comes in episode 7, “The Case of the Very Long Stairway,” in which Edwin (George Rexstrew) is trapped in Hell, and slips into the Gray Realm — the domain of Despair — in his anguish. This marks the first time that we see Despair’s realm in the series; a misty, empty place but for the myriad mirrors that hang in the air. Her cameo had fans rejoicing — this was our best look at Despair yet!

In this interview, we chat to Donna Preston about her experience reprising the character in Dead Boy Detectives, and how it came to be. Check it out!

WoN: When did you find out that Despair was going to make an appearance in Dead Boy Detectives?

It was all really last minute, which added to the excitement. I thought I was going to have to wait until the filming of Sandman season 2 to reprise the character, so to be able to bring despair back to life so soon was such a joy.

WoN: What was it like stepping into Despair’s realm for the first time?

It was as magical as you would expect. Playing Despair in her own space really gave me the opportunity to add a new layer to the character. Despair’s realm is something that has only lived in our imaginations until now, so to see that image come to life was so exciting for us all.

WoN: Did you get a chance to speak to Neil Gaiman about Despair’s cameo in Dead Boy Detectives?

Yes, we spoke about it, but not at length. That’s the great thing about working with Neil…he really trusts in you as an actor to embody the characters and really sink your teeth into the essence of what the character means to you. The character then takes on parts of you and I think it makes the end result seem more organic and even more believable. His faith in you as an actor is one of the main reasons I adore working with him.

WoN: Despair doesn’t get much screen time in The Sandman season 1 — How much did you enjoy being front and centre of a scene set in Despair’s realm?

Neil and I have always wanted to explore Despair’s many facets. She has so much more to her than we saw in Sandman season 1 and I was thrilled to be able to show how she has evolved. Seeing how viewers were thirsty to see more of Despair has been heartwarming. In DBD, fans of the show are getting a little sneak preview into what we have in store for Despair in Sandman season 2. She’s powerful in her own right and this time around, she knows it.

WoN: How was your experience working alongside George Rexstrew?

Working with the wonderful George was just fabulous, he is a ray of sunshine and such a delight to work with. I adore George and absolutely LOVED working with him. We also had such a hoot off screen. Fingers crossed we’ll do more together.

George Rexstrew Dead Boy Detectives

Credit: Netflix

WoN: The Sandman is currently filming new episodes. Can you tell us a little about what it’s been like being back on set?

Being back on set is so much fun! I can’t say much but what I will say is that series 2 is definitely worth the wait.

Dead Boy Detectives is now streaming on Netflix. You can read our review here. The Sandman season 2 is still in production, with the new episodes set to air in 2025.

Written by

An expert in all things geek with a particular emphasis on DC, Marvel, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones. On Netflix, Ashley is an expert on The Sandman, Dead Boy Detectives and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Bylines at Winter is Coming and Comic Book Resources and notably runs a fan page social account for Netflix's The Sandman.

 Poster Rating: TV-MA
Language: English
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Cast: George Rexstrew, Jayden Revri, Kassius Nelson, Briana Cuoco, Jenn Lyon, Ruth Connell
Season Additions:
  • - Season 1 was added to Netflix on April 25th, 2024
Read Our Review for Dead Boy Detectives View Viewing Statistics