Morpheus’ journey to collect all of his stolen tools begins with the Endless Pocket of Sand. It is one of his most powerful tools which helps him to generate a dream or to travel through different realms. He sacrificed a gargoyle to regain the strength that allowed him to summon “the Fates”. The three sisters (The Fates) said where the tools were, and according to them, the sandbag was possessed by a certain Johanna Constantine. Morpheus figured out that he once met a woman of the same name in the 17th century. He then traveled back to reality and was confronted by a woman named Johanna Constantine. In the comics, this Johanna character only appeared once in the 17th century, and John Constantine kept 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 “John Constantine” character was already in production for the next HBO Max release. JJ Abram’s production house Bad Robot already has the rights to the character as they plan to make a series on “Justice League Dark.” In it, John Constantine will be one of the central characters who 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 copyright confusion, we can assume that DC had to make some drastic decisions to remove “The Sandman” character.
However, Johanna Constantine’s introduction wasn’t depressing at all, as it turned out. She played the same character, just like in the comics. They also kept Rachel, making Johanna a homosexual. As depicted, Johanna went to get Rachel’s sandbag, but they started kissing on the show. Soon she realized it wasn’t Rachel but an illusion created by the magic of the sand she was holding close to her. When Morpheus came to see what was happening, he discovered that the sand gave Rachel the tremendous power of immortality, but instead took almost everything from her. He grabbed the sandbag and was about to leave when Johanna called for help. She reminded him that he wanted to acquire the sandbag to save humanity, so he should start by saving Rachel. He grasped the logic behind this and granted Rachel a painless death.
What happened in “The Sandman” comic?
When Morpheus contacted John Constantine, he told him he had bought the sandbag at a garage sale in San Francisco. As soon as he owned the tool, he knew he had something fascinating inside. He had a girlfriend named Rachel who stole the cover. When they arrived at her home, they found a place full of mysteries. Soon, Morpheus realized that the whole site was covered in a nightmare playing its tricks. He ordered him to stop what he was doing and let them pass. They finally found Rachel with the purse and saw how her power tormented her. As Morpheus was leaving after getting his hands on the purse, Constantine begged him to help him. Morpheus granted Rachel a happy dream and then a painless death. The King of Dreams was happy about 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 church sister has insisted she lead the wedding 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 couple, and it turned out that there was a demon named “Agilieth” residing in Kevin Brody’s body. Agilieth told Morpheus to return the princess to her, and she would tell him which demon had traded in his bar. But, before he could do anything, Johanna Constantine sent the demon to hell. Later, Morpheus tells her about the sandbag, and the rest of the story happens almost like in the comics, except Johanna begins to understand with an illusion created by the “sand” that keeps Morpheus waiting. However, unlike in the comics, Morpheus wanted to give Johanna a gift for helping him find the cover art. He said whatever nightmares kept her awake at night would never come back.
Other characters who were not in “The Sandman” series
Well, only the first two volumes were covered mostly in the Netflix release. Thus, the first two volumes, that is to say “Preludes and Nocturnes” and “The Doll’s House”, included some characters who were not presented here in the series. We don’t know why the characters were cut, but we can name them and what their purpose was in the comic.
Etrigan: Besides John Constantine, there is another character who had stunning perspectives cut by the creators. It was Etrigan, the demon from hell. When Morpheus visited Hell, the Guardian named Squatterbloat asked him a few questions that indicated a hint of disrespect for the Dream Lord. He was very angry at the demon’s behavior and Etrigan intervened. Morpheus knew that Etrigan was a demon of Merlin and that he was half human. He used to be a rhymer, but now he was responsible for different things.
Doctor Destiny: Due to some copyright issues, even Doctor Dee was not introduced in the series. John Deeson of Ethel Cripps, grabbed the Ruby and then modified it. He used it against humans to control their dreams with the power of the jewel. His name was “Doctor Destiny”. All of this was cut from the series.
Justice League: In the comic, the Justice League was said to have taken Doctor Destiny’s ruby to save humanity. Then they kept him in Arkham Asylum. There was no mention of the Justice League in the series.
Scarecrow: When Ethel Cripps sent the Amulet of Protection to John, he decided to use it to escape the asylum. He was successful in his approach, then he interacted with Scarecrow, who acted like a hangman. When John told Scarecrow about his wish to change the world, he advised that they all return to the asylum again.
Mr Miracle: When Scott Free was having a nightmare about his childhood, Morpheus visited him and asked him about the ruby. Scott Free was a member of the Justice League and went by the name Mister Miracle. He helped Morpheus locate Martian Manhunter, who could help him with Ruby’s situation.
Martian Manhunter: Seeing Morpheus in front of him, Martian Manhunter greeted him with the utmost respect. Morpheus learned that the Justice League was keeping the ruby in a garage in upstate New York. He thanked him and left while Mister Miracle learned a bit more about the dream lord from Martian Manhunter.
Hector Hall as the Sandman: One of the nightmares that escaped from the dream world was Raw 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 more harm to humanity. However, Hector Hall was portrayed in a totally different way in the series, which was as exciting as the comic itself. But some might object to this idea. But overall, the improvisation felt pretty subtle throughout.
Certain limitations are meant to be there and certain creative liberties must be taken when creating a series like “The Sandman.” Neil Gaiman wrote the story 30 years ago, so audiences are likely to understand why the changes were made. These may have affected the whole build a bit, but the foundation of the story remains intact. There’s a lot more to anticipate in the upcoming chapters of “The Sandman.”