The highly anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman's award-winning comic The Sandman has finally arrived on Netflix. Fans of the graphic novel and curious viewers alike have flocked to the platform to see what the excitement is all about. Fans of the graphic novel recall the brief appearance of another famous DC Comics character Sandman early issues, a magician named John Constantine.
Is John Constantine in Netflix's Sandman? Here's what you need to know.
Is John Constantine in 'The Sandman' on Netflix?
The character of John Constantine was created in June 1985 by Alan Moore, Stephen R. Bissette, Rick Veitch, and John Totleben. John first appeared in the 37th issue of Swamp Thing for DC Comics. He is an occult detective, working-class warlock, and con man from Liverpool but living in London. Visuals for the character were based on the musician Sting.
In 1988, John was given his own comics series titled Hellblazer. The series was eventually published under the DC Comics imprint Vertigo in 1993, and is known for being the longest-running Vertigo title. John's character is a passionate humanitarian, but also possesses deadpan wit, cynicism, and a tendency to chain smoke.
John has been portrayed twice onscreen already. First, by Keanu Reeves in the 2005 film Constantine, then by Matt Ryan in DC's Legends of Tomorrow and briefly his own TV show.
John Constantine appears in an early issue of The Sandman in 1989. He helps Dream recover a pouch of sand that serves as one of Dream's totems of power. John had mistakenly given the sand to an ex-girlfriend, who became addicted to it like a drug. In thanks for the item's recovery, Dream offers the ex a peaceful death and releases John from his nightmares.
Interestingly, several of John's writers have claimed to meet their creations in real life, despite being fictional. Alan Moore claims to have seen John on two occasions, once in a snack bar and once in an alley. Similarly, Hellblazerwriter Jamie Delano claims to have seen Constantine in front of the British Museum, while later Hellblazer writer Peter Milligan claims to have spotted him at a party.
Sadly, John Constantine does not appear in The Sandman Netflix show. Neil Gaiman explains why on Twitter, saying, "The rights situation with John is certainly circumscribed right now," indicating the rights to the character are already in use elsewhere (reportedly in J.J. Abrams' Justice League Dark TV show for HBO Max.)
Who is Johanna Constantine?
However, despite John not being in The Sandman, his ancestor Johanna is definitely in the series and played by Doctor Who actress Jenna Coleman. In the original Sandman comics, Lady Johanna Constantine is a canonical ancestor of John's who is an occult expert and con artist herself.
Neil Gaiman explained his decision to cast Jenna as both ancestor and a new version of John Constantine, also called Johanna, saying to Slash Film, "I think Jenna is the best Constantine on screen so far, and weirdly somehow the truest, because she both has the humor, 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."
All episodes of The Sandman Season 1 are currently streaming on Netflix.