The Sandman: Why are there two characters named Johanna Constantine?

The Sandman: Why are there two characters named Johanna Constantine?

If you’re not familiar with the Sandman universe from the comics, it might take you some time to understand the plotlines and characters. One that many viewers found confusing was that of Lady Johanna/Johanna Constantine.

Both the characters share the same name, and to make matters worse, both are portrayed by the same actor, Jenna Coleman. What in the Dreaming is going on?

Lady Johanna is a Sandman character from the 18th century, that has been adapted from the comics. Johanna Constantine is a gender-swapped version of John Constantine from the 21st century, who has been originally created for the show.

I’m sure this succinct explanation may have still left some room for doubt. Fear not, here’s a full-fledged version for you.

1. TV Show vs Comics: Johanna Constantine

In the comics, there was only one Johanna Constantine, that is the 17th-century ancestor of John Constantine.

But why did Neil Gaiman decide to gender swap John for a present-day Johanna in The Sandman? One simple reason is that the character of John Constantine has already appeared in the Arrowverse.

The Sandman: Why are there two characters named Johanna Constantine?
Johanna Constantine | Source: Fandom

So, perhaps due to legal issues and to simply keep the storylines/universes separate, Gaiman thought it was better to go with a female version of the character. For this, he even chose Coleman to play both versions.

As such, Johanna appears in Episode 3 where she is an accomplished exorcist. This is unlike her comic-book counterpart, who’s actually a sorcerer. While there are a few tweaks to the story, the episode majorly follows the “Dream a Little Dream of Me” arc, with Dream using Johanna’s help to retrieve his Pouch of Sand.

2. TV Show vs Comics: Lady Johanna

As a character that is adapted from the comics, Lady Johanna’s portrayal in the TV show (other than the appearance) is quite close.

In the comics, she is an aristocrat who lost her title due to her parent’s treason. But her spunky personality and can-do attitude come to the rescue, and she soon regains her title when she successfully completes one of King George III’s missions.

The Sandman: Why are there two characters named Johanna Constantine?
Johanna Constantine | Source: IMDb

It’s after this that she crosses paths with Dream and Gadling, as we see in Ep 6.

But Lady Johanna wasn’t that big of a character when she was first introduced, and on similar lines, this episode too does not focus on her. If anything, it’s just a nice Easter egg that reminds us that this Johanna is the ancestor of the one who saw in Ep 3.

Lady Johanna does return in the later issues of the comics. So, if we get more seasons of The Sandman, we might get to see her again!

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3. About The Sandman

The Sandman is an American fantasy drama TV series based on the 1989–1996 comic book written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. The series was developed for Netflix and is being produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.

The first season adapted the first two comics in the series, Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. In 1916, Dream, the king of Dreams and Nightmares and one of the seven Endless, is captured and imprisoned after an occult ritual. After being held captive for 106 years, he escapes and sets out to restore order to his kingdom of The Dreaming.

The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge as Dream, with Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar in supporting roles.