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“The Sandman” Johanna Constantine Explained

Johanna Constantine, who will feature in Netflix’s upcoming “The Sandman” series, is a source of consternation and debate. John Constantine appears in “The Sandman” comic books, and the original casting made it unclear whether Johanna Constantine was a stand-in for him. The connections between Johanna Constantine and the characters portrayed in the original DC Comics series that the show is portraying were further muddied in early interviews.

When it was first revealed that Coleman will play Lady Johanna Constantine in April 2021, there was a lot of uncertainty and debate. As a result, some news agencies reported that Coleman would play a female version of warlock John Constantine in The Sandman. Lady Johanna Constantine is a separate character in graphic novels who is an ancestor of John Constantine from the 18th century and was developed specifically for The Sandman comic book series by writer Neil Gaiman and illustrator Michael Zulli.

The mythology surrounding Coleman’s character became even more convoluted when it was revealed in September 2021 that Coleman would be playing two characters, one of which would be a modern-day lady named Johanna Constantine in Netflix’s “The Sandman” adaption. This prompted a new round of protests, which echoed and were rebutted in the case of Gwendoline Christie’s portrayal of Lucifer in the series. Coleman’s casting in the two roles, according to Neil Gaiman, was solely based on practicality and fit for the roles, as well as a desire to avoid some tricky legal difficulties surrounding the rights to John Constantine.

Lady Constantine clarified the situation.

Lady Johanna Constantine made her first appearance in “The Sandman” graphic book. Lady Johanna Constantine was more con artist than conjurer, but she was dangerous because she knew enough actual magic and ancient lore. This set her apart from her descendant, modern-day magician John Constantine, who had been created several years before for Swamp Thing. Both Constantines were heirs to a curse that bestowed magical talent on one Constantine in every generation in exchange for the loss of everyone they had ever loved to Hell.

Lady Constantine first saw the “Sandman”, Morpheus, in 1789, while she was investigating a rumor about the Devil and the Wandering Jew meeting once every 100 years in a certain London pub. Except for the identities of the two men meet, who were actually Morpheus and an eternal friend, her information was spot-on. However, Morpheus was inspired by Lady Constantine’s boldness in attempting to trap him, and he approached her in 1794 for help with a problem in which he couldn’t be seen acting publicly.

In a 2003 mini-series written by Andy Diggle and illustrated by Goran Suduka, Lady Constantine’s whole history was revealed. After covertly assisting King George III in a matter of some importance, she restored her royal title, according to their account. Lady Johanna Constantine’s character was fleshed out in this mini-series, further separating her from her descendent by presenting her as a master spy and highly trained expert in espionage. This was a long cry from the comic book’s John Constantine, whose education was as haphazard as his attire.

Is Johanna Constantine the same person as John Constantine?

A trailer for Netflix’s “The Sandman” finally answered the question of whether Jenna Coleman was playing a female version of John Constantine. Coleman, dressed in John Constantine’s iconic trenchcoat, was seen in the trailer speaking with a woman dubbed Mad Hettie about the Dream King’s reappearance after decades of imprisonment. This sequence was adapted from the third chapter of Preludes and Nocturnes, the first “Sandman” graphic novel, in which warlock John Constantine was informed of the Sandman’s return to power soon before meeting him in person.

Despite this, describing Johanna Constantine as merely a female John Constantine seems a little flippant. During a cast panel video produced for Netflix Geeked Week, Jenna Coleman and “The Sandman” creator Allan Heinberg both remarked about Johanna’s character, describing her as “upgraded in her clientele” and “a touch aristocratic” in comparison to John Constantine. This corresponds to what we see of her in the trailer, where her overcoat is immaculate and clean to the point of practically gleaming, resembling a wizard’s robe rather than the filthy duster worn by John Constantine in the comics, giving him the iconic appearance of a private investigator. Despite the fact that Johanna’s clientele includes the Queen of England, she appears to be a carbon copy of John Constantine, as her character poster warns, “Even devils don’t trust Johanna Constantine.”

“The Sandman’s” Johanna Constantine’s Story Explained

Morpheus came to John Constantine in “The Sandman” graphic novel Preludes and Nocturnes, seeking the magical bag of sand that contained most of his power, which Constantine had collected along with other various magical objects at some point in his history. According to a new photo, Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) is wearing a dark blue trenchcoat similar to Constantine’s, implying that this storyline will be revisited in The Sandman season 1. This scenario appears to be based on a sequence from “The Sandman” comics, in which Morpheus of the Endless grudgingly donned a trenchcoat in response to the warlock John Constantine’s suggestion that he try to blend in better.

Will Netflix’s “Sandman” Show Feature John Constantine?

The fact that Jenna Coleman is playing a female version of John Constantine in Netflix’s “The Sandman’s” modern-day setting strongly suggests that the genuine John Constantine will not appear in the series. After a fan asked if the decision to cast Coleman as a modern-day Johanna Constantine was based on the rights issues surrounding the use of John Constantine, who had recently been removed from the Arrowverse after being played by Matt Ryan for several years on Legends of Tomorrow, in anticipation of JJ Abrams’ Constantine reboot for HBO Max, Gaiman responded (via Twitter).

Gaiman acknowledged that the rights issues made a one-episode cameo for John Constantine more difficult, but insisted that the decision to create a modern-day Johanna Constantine based on the 18th-century Lady Constantine and cast the same actor in both roles was made early in the show’s development cycle and was not necessarily related to the rights issues. Giving John Constantine a cameo in “The Sandman” would be entirely needless, in addition to being legally difficult, given Gaiman’s participation in the decision to create Johanna Constantine.

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