Did 'The Sandman' Really Gender-Swap One of Its Main Characters?

Did 'The Sandman' Really Gender-Swap One of Its Main Characters?
Image credit: Legion-Media

Or should we read the comics before taking issues with the adaptation?

With Netflix 's adaptation of Neil Gaiman 's graphic novel 'The Sandman ' to premiere in just a week, it seems that there is yet another gender-swap scandal brewing around the show.

A lot of people have taken issue with the character named Johanna Constantine – an exorcist portrayed by Jenna Coleman who boasts a striking resemblance to John Constantine – another iconic exorcist known outside 'The Sandman' universe. With Johanna's name, signature trench coat and occupation, some social media users were quick to suggest that this is just John Constantine being gender-swapped.

However, just like with the criticism of the show casting a woman to portray Lucifer Morningstar, the people seem to be accusing the show of going "woke" without actually digging into the source material. In Gaiman's graphic novel, Lucifer's gender identity has never been explicit. With Johanna Constantine, things are even simpler: the character is John Constantine's ancestor and not the female version of him.

Still, people do not seem to be doing their research and slam the show for bowing to "woke" tendencies.

"Seriously? Please don't tell me this a "woke take" on Constantine (w/Keanu Reeves) ? I really like Jenna as an actress – but if this is that freakish trend of sex-changing established characters/stories then it really has to stop." – @totitolvukall

OG fans of Gaiman's story could not help but sigh.

"The second you mentioned KEANU as a contender for Constantine is the second you told on yourself bc the character he played wasn't even really John, either; are you aware John Constantine is actually a blond English man or…" – @new52supes

In fact, the explanation of John Constantine himself not appearing in the adaptation is pretty mundane: copyright issues.

"And for Johanna Constantine, it's not a genderbent version of John, but a independent character existing in the book as an ancestor of JC. They just use her as a possible substitute as they don't have the rights for the DC character." – @Captain_Bleuten

In spite of some people misunderstanding Jenna Coleman's character, 'The Sandman' fans are excited for Johanna Constantine to appear on the screen. A lot of them have already decided she is going to be their favorite character, even though we only saw her in several scenes in the trailer.

'The Sandman' premieres on Netflix on August 5.