Rights Issues Prevented John Constantine On Netflix’ The Sandman

Written By Kieran Bugg

Sandman fans can thank JJ Abrams for a gender-flipped John Constantine in the upcoming Netflix series.

Insiders reveal Netflix couldn’t use John Constantine due to rights issues. Specifically, Abrams is developing his own John Constantine series for HBO Max. And he wants the character for himself.

Thus, Matt Ryan dropped his John Constantine on Legends of Tomorrow.

Instead, Jenna Coleman portrays Johanna Constantine on The Sandman. Plans for a live-action Sandman adaptation have buzzed since 1991.

The Sandman spent over years in development hell before David Goyer pitched a script to Warner Bros. back in 2013. Goyer was to produce this film alongside co-creator Neil Gaiman. Joseph Gordon-Levitt had the lead role. In addition, Gordon-Levitt would’ve directed the Sandman movie.

Rights Issues Prevented John Constantine On Netflix’ The Sandman

Rights Issues Prevented John Constantine On Netflix' The Sandman

Image: Netflix

Furthermore, it likely would’ve featured a comic-accurate John Constantine.

Sadly, it all fell apart after creative differences arose between Gordon-Levitt and the studio in 2016. Nonetheless, the project still remained a priority with plans now shifting from a movie to a TV series. Eventually Warner Bros. and Netflix struck a deal to co-produce The Sandman. The Sandman debuts on Netflix on August 5th.

Netflix later announced Tom Sturridge as the lead with many other talented actors joining the project shortly after. Actors such as Gwendoline Christie who’ll portray a new version of Lucifer and Mark Hamill who’ll voice Mervyn Pumpkinhead.

Later, Netflix cast Coleman as Johanna Constantine. During the first day of Netflix’s Geeked Week we finally got our first official look at The Sandman.

No doubt there’ll be much confusion. After all, many assumed Coleman was always set to play the famous anti-hero. But she is actually playing two different characters, both of which now have the same name.

Rights Issues Prevented John Constantine On Netflix’ The Sandman

Rights Issues, John Constantine, Netflix, Sandman

Johanna was in fact an ancestor of John Constantine from the 18th century in Gaiman’s original comic. That will still be the case in the Netflix series but now with Coleman playing both ancestor and descendant.

With John Constantine’s role in the story now as a woman with the same name as his ancestor.

This change will obviously be very confusing for most fans of the original comic book and frustrating for others.

However, there’s no doubt that Jenna Coleman will excel as both characters in the upcoming series. She’s one of Britain’s most highly praised actresses in recent years.