The Sandman, adapted by Neil Gaiman, sticks close to the original comic books, to the point where some scenes appear to have been taken straight from the pages. However, the series takes many liberties with some characters, such as Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman), a gender-bent version of DC's iconic exorcist, John Constantine.
The Sandman series decided to gender-bend John into Johanna for the show. The other, more obvious reason, is related to the character's rights. Many characters and villains from different comic book series could be brought into The Sandman's pages, such as John Constantine, Mr. Miracle, and even the Martian Manhunter. The same couldn't happen in Netflixs series because they couldn't use other DC characters.
The second reason for the change is that Johanna Constantine is actually two different people in The Sandman universe. In the comic books, Dream meets Johanna three centuries before crossing paths with her descendant John. So, for the series, The Sandmans creative team decided it would be more interesting to have the same actress playing both roles. As Gaiman himself said on Twitter, it seemed preferable to feature two versions of Johanna in different periods of history while keeping the same actress.
Johanna Constantine, on Netflix, is almost identical to John. Both are English exorcists who usually help wealthy individuals get rid of demons and other supernatural threats for a price. That's a wonderful feature that allows the series to stand apart from the DC universe in the comic books. The show must explain everything it needs to explain for the viewer.
The fateful encounter with Johanna Constantine, the first volume of Gaimans Endless saga, also follows the general story of Preludes and Nocturnes. Dream must look for his tools of power to rebuild the Dreaming and capture escaped Nightmares. One of these tools, the Pouch of Dream Sand, was last seen in possession of Johanna Constantine. So, Dream seeks the exorcist's assistance in deciphering his deadly tool.
Rachel, Constantine's former lover, was left behind when he left in the middle of the night, and six months later, Rachel has been completely drained by dreams. Rachel became trapped in a bed, incapable of moving, and dreaming non-stop about her lost love for the Pouch. Finally, after months under the spell of the Pouch, Rachel dies.
Rachel is not depicted as a drug addict who stole the Pouch, making her TV show tale even more tragic. Thats because Constantine's negligence is entirely at fault. After helping Dream retrieve his Pouch, Johanna finally forgets about a recurring nightmare in which she has to face another bad memory.
The Sandman is available right now on Netflix. Check out the teaser for the series below: