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Why Matthew The Raven From Netflix's Sandman Sounds So Familiar

Netflix's "The Sandman" is a world within worlds rife with incredible characters brought to life by a cast that is quite literally a dream, understandably so. The new adaptation of Neil Gaiman's tale goes to hell and back to tell its story, so those along for the ride needed to be the right fit — even if some of them don't ever appear on-screen. Besides walking nightmares, fallen angels, and paranormal investigators, a rather talkative raven named Matthew is one of the most important characters that help Dream (Tom Sturridge) out.

Initially not on the best terms with the Lord of Dreams, Matthew becomes a valuable ally in our hero's efforts. A character with a past of his own, he's probably one of the few good souls that cross paths with the tortured member of Endless and would need to be a welcoming voice in Dream's ear. It makes sense, then, that Netflix looked to a star who has had his fair share of vocal credits in the past, varying from Marvel supervillains, a hero's role model, an imaginary friend, and most notably, a lowdown rat.

Patton Oswalt cooked up a storm in the Pixar classic Ratatouille

Even before he was ruffling feathers as Matthew in "The Sandman," stand-up comedian and actor Patton Oswalt had a hand in lending his voice to a creature that, in reality, is known for not having one. 2007 saw him cook up an outstanding performance in one of the best Pixar movies ever made when he took the lead in "Ratatouille." The Oscar-winning entry had Oswalt take on the role of Remy, a rat whose dreams of being a chef come to fruition after making a deal with kitchen nightmare Alfredo Linguini.

Oswalt breathes as much life into the furry foodie as Tom Hanks does with Woody or Ellen Degeneres does with forgetful fish Dory, but we never revisited the world of "Ratatouille." Be that as it may, Oswalt has openly admitted that if a sequel were ever served up, he'd be happy to return to the role. "[It] hinges on [director] Brad Bird coming up with an idea that he likes and would want to pursue," he told Deadline when asked if he'd return for what can't be called anything but "Rata-two-ille." "So, if he drew up something, that would mean that a truly big inspiration had hit him and he wants to do it. I would absolutely run and do that." Sequel or not, there's still enough from Oswalt's classic performance to ensure that this delicious treat never goes out of date.

Patton's Happy, and we know it

Imagine signing on the same talent that gave us one of Pixar's most adorable characters and applying it to bring life to someone's imaginary friend. Well, what happens when that imaginary friend teams up with an ex-cop on the hunt for a notorious child killer? That was the wild but entertaining outcome of "Happy!" Syfy's adaptation of the comic book of the same name from Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson saw Patton Oswalt voice a blue, winged unicorn who partners with short-tempered, excessively violent ex-cop Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni).

Helmed by Brian Taylor, one-half of the "Crank" films' directors, "Happy!" was a wild and excessively trippy show given its subject matter. The brains behind a Godzilla-sized career moment for Jason Statham was handling an overly chirpy Oswalt clashing with a sweary Miloni, leading to pure gold. Unfortunately, Syfy couldn't see the bright side and canceled "Happy!" after its second season.

In another bit of self-reflection on social media, Oswalt tweeted, "We had SUCH amazing plans for Seasons 3 & 4 (which would have ended the series with an INSANE finale)." Let's just be happy we got to see something rather than nothing in the end.

Patton Oswalt enforced a classic comic book mantra in Marvel's Spider-Man

Anyone who has ever caught themselves in the web of the legendary wall-crawler will know a rule Spider-Man swears by. "With great power comes great responsibility" has been repeated for decades, becoming a staple within pop culture and uttered in the most notable iterations of the web-slinger's adventures over the years. Cliff Robertson and Martin Sheen (in a somewhat messy fashion) have both said the critical line, and Patton Oswalt followed them when he voiced hero-defining mentor Uncle Ben in "Marvel's Spider-Man" in 2017.

This take on everyone's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man ran for three seasons before ending in 2020. During that time, Oswalt appeared as Peter's dear old Uncle Ben, whose death sparks the young teen to take up the hero gig and fight crime in New York City.

Admittedly, as briefly as Ben may have been present for Peter's time as a hero, Oswalt revealed in a behind-the-scenes interview that he had a good grasp on just how much of a substantial character Ben is even after he's gone (via Marvel HQ). "It's the absence of him that makes him so powerful, the way he haunts one of the greatest heroes in this universe," Oswalt explained. "That's something, I think, that Peter Parker can look back on. He wasn't trying to form a hero; he was trying to make a person."

Oswalt mastered M.O.D.O.K. — just not for very long

Another of Patton Oswalt's trips into Marvel territory required an enormous head. An adaptation that the star himself co-created and wrote for, "M.O.D.O.K." was a short-lived series highlighting the day-to-day life of one of Marvel's most iconic ne'er do wells.

Using stop-motion animation, this take on the Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing saw him as a villain on the brink of divorce while still trying to keep the doors open for the evil organization AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics). Debuting on Hulu, the show was met with a decent reception critically (via Rotten Tomatoes). Still, it didn't earn enough attention from viewers for the streaming service to take it any further, canceling "M.O.D.O.K." after just one season.

Following the announcement, Oswalt took to Twitter to reflect on the decision while still taking the time to acknowledge the blessings that came with his stint as MODOK. "*Sigh* oh well," the star told fans before adding, "Got to work with the best writers, a dream voice cast, and @Marvel let us run amok in their toy box. Another great experience. Forward!"

He had a pop at Pip in the post-credits scene of Eternals

When Marvel Studios chose to have a star as big as Harry Styles rock up in the MCU, it made sense to include a worthy hype man to get the crowd going. Thankfully, the production company looked to Patton Oswalt for the role of Pip, friend to Eros (Styles), Thanos' adoptive brother.

Though only briefly seen in the mid-credits scene for "Eternals," Oswalt gave it his all for his debut appearance as Pip the Troll, even providing motion capture for the CGI character (via ComicBook.com). As revealed by Oscar-nominated special effects wizard Matt Aitken, Oswalt embraced that his new debut in the MCU would require him to lose a few inches to get the job done. He explained, "He's there on his knees to get his head in the right height. But yeah, no he was there. He's fantastic. He's just great."

Although there's no confirmation of when either Pip or Eros, aka Starfox, will return, when rumors of a potential spin-off with this new double act in the MCU surfaced, Oswalt expressed his enthusiasm for strolling through space with Styles. "That would be amazing," the actor told ComicBook.com. "Because it just seems to me that every time Marvel has rolled the dice on these kind [sic] of B[-] or C-level characters that everyone's like, 'Oh, who cares about them?' That's where they end up kind of really blossoming." Well, if the Eternals do return as stated in their debut, Pip and Starfox shouldn't be too far away.