The Netflix series introduces the mysterious character of Johanna Constantine. But who is it exactly?
Released a few days ago the series Tea Sandman on Netflix is already a success. In 10 episodes, the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s cult graphic novel delivers a dark and mature version of the original work, and allows viewers to discover the protagonists of the saga on the small screen for the first time. In addition to Dream (Tom Sturridge), this first burst of episodes is also an opportunity to discover Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), Lucifer Morning-Star (Gwendoline Christie) or even Johanna Constantine, camped by Jenna Coleman.
John or Johanna?
In the comics, it is not Johanna, but John Constantine who is in possession of the Infinity Sandbag. The Netflix series has chosen to feminize the character of John Constantine, to deliver an alter ego not so different from the original work. Not really inclined to emotionally engage, cynical and unable to formulate a sentence without swearing, the character played by Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) looks a lot like her male counterpart. On this point, Allan Heinberg did not look very far: the arc depicted in episode 3 substantially follows the same path as graphic novel.
Johanna does exist
It will however be necessary to pass again before shouting feminism-whashing and wokism. In fact, the character of Johanna Constantine does exist in Neil Gaiman’s comics, it simply does not have the same role. The young woman is an ancestor of John Constantine, and appears for the first time in 1789, when Dream and Hob Gadling meet in their usual tavern. A symbol heavy character, since Neil Gaiman would have created it in homage to Alan Moore, the creator of John Constantine.
Convinced that the Infinite is the Devil personified, Lady Constantine makes a mysterious deal with Dream. So many events that are also found in episode 6 of the Netflix series. It remains to be seen how Allan Heinberg will manage to make the link between the Johanna Constantine of the present and that of 1789. Note also that Lady Constantine has more in common with Dream than she wants to let appear: it was to her that belonged initially the mansion of Fawney Rig, where The Eternal would then be held for almost a century by Roderick Burgess.
In reality, the choice to feminize the character of John Constantine can also find its source in a purely practical consideration. The agreement between Netflix and Warner to obtain the exploitation rights of the Sandman universe may relate only to the original creations of Neil Gaiman. Enough to justify the presence of Lady Constantine, but not that of her male alter-ego, which still belongs to DC Comics. This track also explains why some members of the Justice League do not appear in the series.
Released on August 5, 2022, the ten episodes of the series The Sandman are already available on Netflix.