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Here's the List of Every Gender-Swapped Character in 'The Sandman' (With a Twist)

Image credit: Legion-Media

Even though the term "gender swap" might be a tad debatable.

Long before 'The Sandman' hit our home screens, there was a buzz on social media about how the series appeared to have gender-swapped a handful of its characters – predictably sparking debates and ire across the Twitter threads.

Among the most controversial casting decisions are Johanna Constantine (who substituted John Constantine in the show), Desire (portrayed by non-binary actor Mason Alexander Pack), and Lucifer (who, being played by Gwendoline Christie, effectively ditched the canonical depiction of the character as a man).

But is it actually a list of gender-swapped characters? Because if one looks closely at the comic canon, then pretty much everyone (except, perhaps, Lucifer) quickly falls out from the list.

Johanna Constantine, despite her story and fashion choices being similar to those of John, is officially not a female version of the character but rather an embodiment of John's ancestor, Lady Johanna Constantine, and some of John's story aspects that the creators were not able to use because of copyright issues.

Desire, in their turn, could not be gender-swapped because they canonically do not have a gender. Referred to as "sibling" or "sister-brother", Desire is capable of appearing as a man, a woman, both or neither in the comic books, which is why casting a non-binary actor was just the reasonable decision for the show to follow the source material.

When it comes to Lucifer, one could argue that this character was gender-swapped, even though the series author Neil Gaiman has never explicitly mentioned Lucifer's gender identity in the comics. The graphic novel depicted the ruler of Hell as an androgynous being with a David Bowie twist to it; never focusing too much on any gender aspects of the character. The Netflix adaptation clearly establishes that Lucifer is a woman, which makes the "gender-swapped list" basically consisting of one character whose gender identity never affected it too much.

Naturally, the comic canon explanations never seemed to be good enough for people who simply want to take issue with the casting. Both Neil Gaiman and 'The Sandman' fanbase seem to be growing tired of explaining the characters' origin to social media critics, especially in the wake of the majority of such critics never actually bothering to familiarize themselves with the source material.

For those not stopped by gender swaps and diversity, 'The Sandman' is currently streaming on Netflix, already having risen to the #1 spot in more than 80 countries across the world.

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