The challenge of adapting a famous comic book or novel is that there will always be fans who aren’t happy with the inevitable changes a show has to make. A great adaptation makes fans barely think about the changes made along the way; poor attempts to bring concepts to screen make any changes appear a gross oversight of what fans actually wanted. For Netflix The sand man, there are minor and major changes from Neil Gaiman’s highly revered comic book series. A minor change, like Dream’s hair going from its otherworldly height to a more reasonable tease, is easy for most people to understand. There is, however, one major change that is causing quite a stir.
In a noted departure from the comic book, the television adaptation of The sand man lacks British wizard John Constantine (who has previously been played by Matt Ryan and Keanu Reeves). Rather than his more well-known appearance as a blond-haired man in a pinstripe suit, The sand man stars Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, a direct descendant of John Constantine. Gaiman comics usually depict the real John Constantine.
Coleman’s performance is thrilling, despite only appearing briefly in The sand man Season 1. And if the series gets the green light for Netflix season 2, we hope to see more of Coleman’s take on the magician. For fans of the comicIt might be a little confusing, but below we have a clear explanation of how Johanna Constantine and John Constantine fit into Netflix’s ambitious new fantasy show.
Who is Johanna Constantin? Is she the same as John Constantine?
While John Constantine is in The Sand seller comics, it does not appear in Netflix The sand man. Instead, his descendant Johanna Costantine appears (and has an identical ancestor). Rather than just a gender-swapped version of the Wizard, Johanna is a DC Comics character, much like John.
Created by Neil Gaiman, Johanna Constantine is an 18th century aristocrat and adventurer who is the ancestor of John Constantine. She first appeared in The sand man #13. As in the TV series, she interrupts a meeting between Dream and Hob Gadling, who meet once in a century. While on the Dream show puts him to sleep, in the comics he offers her a secret deal.
Who is Jenna Coleman?
The British actress has worked in film and television since the late 2000s, appearing in various films and television shows, including The snake, Doctor Whoand featured in the Emmy-nominated Victoria.
At a press conference before The Sandman first, SlashFilm spoke with Gaiman, who explained that it was a conscious decision to choose a woman like Constantine. “The truth is that we talked about it [during] the initial – sit down and have dinner before pitching it to Netflix and everyone else, that was one of the things that seemed to make sense. It was big and obvious that we were going [cast a woman].”
He also praised Jenna Coleman for her portrayal.
“I think Jenna is the best on-screen Constantine so far and weirdly the most real, because she has both the humor and the appeal, and that sordid, doomed quality. You know if you fall in love with her, you are dead and food for the demons.And you also know that you can’t help but fall in love with her.
Milan Polk is an editorial assistant for Men’s Health, specializing in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.
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