Edwin's Coming Out Story In Dead Boy Detectives Is The Sweetest, And The Story Behind It Makes Me Love It Even More

 Edwin holding a white flower in Dead Boy Detecives.
Credit: Cr. Ed Araquel/Netflix © 2023

Spoilers for Dead Boy Detectives are ahead! If you haven’t seen the series, you can stream all of Season 1 with a Netflix subscription.

The series Dead Boy Detectives – which is based on Neil Gaiman’s DC comics of the same name – is mostly about two ghosts, Edwin and Charles, solving crimes with their new medium friend, Crystal. However, their personal journeys of self-discovery and improvement play a vital role in their success, too. For Edwin, the brains of the operation and a teen who died in the early 1900s, that means exploring his sexuality and coming out to his dearest friend (and love).

Overall, the way the show handled this tender storyline was beautiful, and the story behind its development makes it even better.

Charles and Edwin smiling at each other in Dead Boy Detectives.
Charles and Edwin smiling at each other in Dead Boy Detectives.

How Edwin Comes Out In Dead Boy Detectives

While chatting with HuffPost, co-showrunner Steve Yockey explained how important it was to represent Edwin’s story as he worked to understand himself and his sexuality in the show. As a boy who died in the early 1900s, his internalized homophobia is present and impactful, and as the show goes on he breaks that down, especially when Crystal is introduced. He has to face his feelings, as the showrunner said:

We always felt that Edwin died before he understood that he could be with a man. As a ghost, he’s spent all of his time with best friend Charles, and that was good enough for him. So when Crystal comes along, that upsets this siloed dynamic.

While Crystal is a love interest of Charles’, she’s also Edwin’s friend. Between her, Niko and Charles, of course, they’re able to support Edwin while he figures things out.

The show does a beautiful job of showing how Edwin’s friends support and educate him. Eventually, not only does he feel comfortable enough to come out, but he’s courageous and tells Charles (his best friend for literal decades) he loves him romantically.

Rather than dismissing Edwin because Charles’ feelings aren’t the same, he hugs his friend, tells him his true feelings, and reassures Edwin that his feelings are valid and accepted.

They don’t fight, they don’t get awkward, they simply exist in the moment and love each other completely, and that’s the kind of energy we need in this world.

(L to R) Jayden Revri as Charles Rowland, Yuyu Kitamura as Niko Sasaki, George Rexstrew as Edwin Payne, and Kassius Nelson as Crystal Palace in episode 4 of DEAD BOY DETECTIVES.
(L to R) Jayden Revri as Charles Rowland, Yuyu Kitamura as Niko Sasaki, George Rexstrew as Edwin Payne, and Kassius Nelson as Crystal Palace in episode 4 of DEAD BOY DETECTIVES.

The Story Behind Developing Edwin's Plotline

Along with this being a lovely story generally, it’s also a fantastic expansion on the Dead Boy Detectives canon. The characters come from Neil Gaiman’s comics, and Yockey wanted to pay homage to the source material while also making it even more inclusive, which is done (in part) through Edwin’s coming-out story. The showrunner elaborated on this goal, telling Out:

But [Gaiman] said at the very beginning that his favorite thing about Dead Boy Detectives is that, unlike some of his characters like Dream or Death, who need to be Dream and Death, with these characters, each creator has taken them and kind of done something wild with them. He encouraged me to do the same thing. So that freed me from a lot of the expectation. And then it was just about making sure the boys were recognizable in their relationship so that comic book fans could be like, 'Oh, that's Charles and Edwin,' and then go crazy everywhere else.

Overall, the goal of this show, and Edwin’s story specifically, is to show a complex human who is simply trying to figure himself out. There’s a lot more to him than his sexuality, but, as Yockey told HuffPost, this coming-out story also helps add a “richness” to Edwin. He said:

His sexuality isn’t all that he stands for; it’s only one piece of him. But I think that journey of self-discovery and identity adds a richness to the character.

Thankfully, Edwin’s story, this message and adaptation made its way to streaming when Dead Boy Detectives moved from Max to Netflix to be with DC shows like The Sandman and Sweet Tooth, and millions are able to watch it!

Read More About DC Adaptations Coming To TV Soon

Tom Sturridge as Dream sitting in a throne on The Sandman
Tom Sturridge as Dream sitting in a throne on The Sandman

Upcoming DC TV Shows: Full List Of Series In 2024 And Beyond

This show is well-developed, incredibly heartfelt and three-dimensional. Edwin’s coming out story is simply a small piece of a grand puzzle, and it’s treated with care and normalcy. Dead Boy Detectives proved itself as a worthy entry among not only Netflix’s best shows but also the best LGBTQ+ shows through his lovely story, and hopefully, we'll get to see it continue.

While we wait for more news on a second season of Dead Boy Detectives, make sure to check out the 2024 TV schedule to see what other shows are coming to the small screen, and go back to watch Edwin and Charles do what they do best on Netflix.