The Sandman. (L to R) Eleanor Fanyinka as Rachel, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine in episode 103 of The Sandman.

Johanna Constantine is the Breakout Star of Netflix’s ‘The Sandman’

Girls don't want boys, girls want a Johanna Constantine spinoff series.

Netflix’s The Sandman features an enormous ensemble of characters in its centuries-spanning saga. The series also boasts a formidable cast, with favorites like Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, and Stephen Fry. With so many dynamic performances, it’s hard to single out a fan-favorite character. But it’s Johanna Constantine who has captured the hearts and minds of viewers across the globe.

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Constantine, played by Doctor Who alum Jenna Coleman, is a member of the Constantine family (but NOT a gender-swapped version, according to Neil Gaiman) of DC’s John Constantine aka Hellblazer. Gaiman refers to her as “a current embodiment of the Constantine life force”. And much like John, Johanna is a cynical, bisexual occult detective battling demons and performing exorcisms for the right price. Coleman also plays Johanna’s eighteenth century ancestor and occult adventuress, Lady Johanna Constantine. Lady Johanna was a popular character in the comics, and even had her own spinoff series.

https://twitter.com/RICHARDLNEWBY/status/1555721074960211969

Neil Gaiman said of the character, “I created her to fill the role that John Constantine does in the past. When we broke down the first season, given that we knew that we would be encountering Johanna in the past, we wondered what would happen if we met a version of her in the present as well. We tried it and the script was sparkier, feistier, and in some ways even more fun. So having written her, we just had to cast her. Jenna Coleman gave us the Johanna of our dreams – tough, brilliant, tricky, haunted and probably doomed.” Johanna gets a fantastic arc in episode 3, where she is forced to confront her ex-girlfriend Rachel (Eleanor Fanyinka) to recover Dream’s pouch of sand. It’s a heartbreaking look at Johanna’s inability to commit, and the damage she unintentionally leaves in her wake.

Coleman’s performance as Constantine quickly had fans clamoring for a spinoff series, and Gaiman himself can’t help but agree. He tweeted,  “It’s been one of the most common questions we’ve been asked so far. I have no idea, and I think that’s probably up to whichever Warner Bros entity controls their characters.”

Gaiman added, “I think Jenna is the best Constantine on screen so far, and weirdly somehow the truest, because she both has the humour 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.”

John Constantine was previously played by Keanu Reeves in the 2005 movie Constantine, and by Matt Ryan in the eponymous TV series. After the series cancellation, Ryan reprised his role in several appearances throughout the CW’s Arrowverse. While there has been no word of any Sandman spinoff series (or a season two confirmation), we can still hope for the Johanna Constantine series of our dreams. Morpheus, are you listening?

(featured image: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.