Morpheus’ journey to gather all of his stolen tools begins with the endless sandbag. It is one of his most powerful tools that helps him generate a dream or travel through different realms. He sacrificed a gargoyle to regain the strength that allowed him to summon “the Fates”. The three sisters (The Fates) recounted the whereabouts of the tools and, according to them, the sandbag was in the possession of a certain Johanna Constantine. Morpheus concluded that he had once met a woman of the same name in the 17th century. He then traveled to reality and confronted a woman named Johanna Constantine. In the comic, this character of Johanna only appeared once in the 17th century, with John Constantine keeping the sandbag. So why was John replaced by Johanna? The reason is simpler than you think.
The reason John Constantine became Johanna in Netflix’s ‘The Sandman’
Neil Gaiman once expressed his thoughts on Twitter to answer this question. He had already announced that there would be no John Constantine in the series. The reason is that the character “John Constantine” was already in production for the next premiere of HBO Max. JJ Abram’s production company, Bad Robot, already has the rights to the character, as they plan to do a series on “Justice League Dark.” In it, John Constantine will be one of the central characters that will help the Justice League in their mission. DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow” also included Matt Ryan’s Constantine long before Netflix’s “The Sandman.” John Constantine is one of the most recognizable characters in the DC Extended Universe. To avoid any confusion regarding copyright, we can assume that DC had to make some drastic decisions to kill off the character of “The Sandman.”
However, the introduction of Johanna Constantine was not entirely depressing, as it turned out. She played the same character, as in the comic. They kept Rachel as well, making Johanna gay in the process. As described, Johanna went to get Rachel’s sandbag, but they started kissing in the series. Soon, she realized that it wasn’t Rachel, but an illusion created by the magic of the sand that she held close to her. When Morpheus came to see what was going on, he discovered that the sand gave Rachel the enormous power of immortality, but instead, it took almost everything from her. She grabbed the sandbag and was about to leave when Johanna called for help. She reminded him that she wanted to acquire the sandbag to save humanity, so she should start by saving Rachel. She understood the logic behind this and granted Rachel a painless death.
What happened in the comic ‘The Sandman’?
When Morpheus contacted John Constantine, he told him that he had bought the sandbag at a garage sale in San Francisco. As soon as he owned the tool, he knew it had something alluring inside of it. He had a girlfriend named Rachel who stole his bag. When they arrived at his house, they found a place full of mysteries. Soon, Morpheus realized that the entire site was covered in a nightmare playing tricks on him. He ordered her to stop whatever he was doing and let them pass. They finally found Rachel with the bag and watched as her power tormented her. As Morpheus was leaving after seizing the bag, Constantine begged him to help her. Morpheus granted Rachel a happy dream and then a painless death. The King of Dreams was pleased at John Constantine’s involvement, so he blessed him with his wish to ease the nightmares he was having.
What happened in the Netflix series?
When the Fates told Morpheus about Johanna Constantine, he visited her. He found her performing an exorcism on humans. A sister from the church insisted on carrying out the marriage between a royal princess and a footballer named Kevin Brody. The sister sensed the presence of a demon, so she asked for Johanna’s help. Johanna then spelled out some Latin words in front of the pair, and it turned out that there was a demon named “Agilieth” residing inside Kevin Brody’s body. Agilieth told Morpheus to return the princess to her and she would tell him what demon had changed her helm. But before she could do anything, Johanna Constantine sent the demon to hell. Morpheus later tells her about the sandbag, and the rest of the story is pretty much the same as it is in the comic, except that Johanna starts making out with an illusion created by the “sand” that makes Morpheus wait. However, unlike what happened in the comics, Morpheus wanted to give Johanna a gift for helping him find the bag. He said that whatever nightmares kept her up at night, she wouldn’t come back.
Other characters that were not in the series ‘The Sandman’
Well, only the first two volumes have been mostly covered in the Netflix release. So the first two volumes, that is, “Preludes and Nocturnes” and “The Doll’s House”, had some characters that weren’t introduced here in the series. We don’t know why the characters have been cut, but we can name them and what their purpose was in the comic.
Etrigan: Apart from John Constantine, there is another character who had a searing perspective cut by the creators. It was Etrigan, the demon from hell. When Morpheus visited Hell, the guardian named Squatterbloat asked him some questions that pointed to a lack of respect for the dream lord. He was very angry at the demon’s behavior and Etrigan interfered. Morpheus knew that Etrigan was a demon of Merlin and was half human. He used to be a rhymer, but now he was in charge of other things.
Doctor Fate: Due to some copyright issues, even Doctor Dee was not featured in the series. John Deeson of ethel cripps, took the Ruby and then altered it. She used it against humans to control their dreams with the jewel’s power. He called himself “Doctor Destiny”. All of this was cut from the series.
League of Justice: In the comic, the Justice League is said to have taken the ruby from Doctor Fate to save humanity. He was then kept in Arkham Asylum. The Justice League was not mentioned in the series.
Scarecrow: When Ethel Cripps sent the Amulet of Protection to John, he decided to use it to escape the Asylum. She was successful with her approach, and then interacted with Scarecrow, who acted like a hangman. When John told Scarecrow about his desire to change the world, he advised everyone to return to the Asylum again.
Mister Miracle: When Scott Free was having a nightmare about his childhood, Morpheus visited him and asked him about the ruby. Scott Free used to be a member of the Justice League and went by the name Mister Miracle. He helped Morpheus track down the Martian Manhunter who could help him with the Ruby situation.
Martian Manhunter: Seeing Morpheus in front of him, Martian Manhunter greeted him with the utmost respect. Morpheus learned that the Justice League kept the ruby in a garage in upstate New York. He thanked her and left while Mister Miracle got to know a little more about the lord of Martian Manhunter’s dreams.
Hector Hall as the sandman: One of the nightmares that escaped from the dream world was Gross and Glob. They were depicted as a character in the series and were named “Gault.” In the comic, Brute and Glob brought the dead Hector Hall to life and brainwashed him into saying he was “The Sandman”. However, Morpheus came and stopped them from doing any more harm to humanity. However, Hector Hall was portrayed completely differently in the series, which was just as exciting as the comic itself. But some might argue against the idea. But overall, the improvisation seemed pretty subtle throughout.
There are supposed to be some limits and some creative liberties to be taken when creating a series like “The Sandman.” Neil Gaiman had written the story 30 years ago, so the audience will likely understand why the changes were made. These may have affected the entire build a bit, but the foundation of the story remains intact. There is much more to anticipate in the upcoming chapters of “The Sandman.”