The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman has addressed a major change from the original comic book in the new Netflix fantasy drama.
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While most fans have welcomed the gender-swapped characters, including Lucifer and Lucienne, in the new series, some have taken issue with Jenna Coleman's character, Johanna Constantine.
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In the original comic, Johanna is the 18th-century ancestor of warlock John Constantine and while they both appear early on in the book, John is absent from the series.
Creator Neil responded to a viewer who posed the following question: "Why is Johanna so pretty and clean? If she's basically John Constantine and plagued with nightmares shouldn't she be a mess? Wakes up, hair perfect, makeup perfect, John's signature trench coat is clean & wrinkle free?"
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Addressing the change, Neil replied: "She's not a gender-swapped John, she's her own person, the Constantine of the Sandman world. Her Newcastle Incident wasn't a copy of John's. (1789 Lady Joanna wasn't grubby or unkempt unless she was in disguise, and she moved in high society. This one takes after her.)"
Jenna Coleman plays Johanna Constantine
The response comes after some fans of the comic complained about John's absence. One person took to Twitter, writing: "#TheSandman is dope but I miss John Constantine," while another added: "Man I'm loving #TheSandman so far but I just wish it had John Constantine and Johanna was the ancestor… Not that I don't like the character but John Constantine is my fav character so it's a little weird watching him like this."
Most fans, however, have embraced the slight change, with one person praising Jenna's performance, writing: "John Constantine is my favourite comic book character of all time. That said, Jenna Coleman's portrayal in #TheSandman is the most comic book accurate version of the character yet put on screen. She totally nails John's ruthless narcissism."
Creator Neil Gaiman addressed the change from the comic
Neil elaborated on the decision to cast a woman as Constantine while chatting to SlashFilm. He explained: "The truth was, we talked about that [during] the initial—sitting and having dinner before we pitched it to Netflix and everybody, that was one of the things that just sort of seemed to make sense. It was big and obvious that we were going to [cast a woman]."
He added: "I think Jenna is the best Constantine on screen so far and weirdly somehow the truest because she both has the humour, and the attractiveness, and that sleazy, doomed quality. You know that if you fall in love with her, you are dead and demon-fodder. And you also know that you can't help falling in love with her."
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