Why Constantine's Name Is Pronounced Differently Than Usual In The Sandman

Warning: SPOILERS for The Sandman

The way Johanna Constantine's (Jenna Coleman) last name is pronounced in The Sandman may sound strange but there's a reason why it's different from how audiences are used to hearing "Constantine" said. Executive produced by Neil Gaiman, The Sandman is the long-awaited adaptation of his beloved DC Comics graphic novels. Coleman's Johanna Constantine joins Tom Sturridge, who plays the title role of Dream of the Endless AKA the Sandman, and they are joined by a host of eclectic supernatural beings like The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), and Lucifer Morningstar (Gwendoline Christie).

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Johanna Constantine is a character from The Sandman comics but most audiences will be familiar with John Constantine, who has appeared in his own 2005 film starring Keanu Reeves, his own NBC series, and in DC's Legends of Tomorrow, where Constantine (played by Matt Ryan) became a main character and a member of the Arrowverse's misfit superhero team. In The Sandman comics, Johanna is John's ancestor who met Dream in the 1700s and helped him with a dangerous mission during the French Revolution. However, it's John who Morpheus meets and helps him recover his stolen bag of dream sand in the third issue of The Sandman. Johanna replaces John Constantine in Netflix's The Sandman and she takes on his haunted past, although Johanna is also an "upgraded" version of John in the show as she has powerful friends he didn't: Johanna begins The Sandman as the Queen and Royal Family's personal exorcist. But besides their different gender, Johanna Constantine oddly pronounces her surname differently than John.

Related: The Endless Family Tree: All Of Dream's Siblings Explained 

In truth, Johanna Constantine - pronounced Con-stan-TYNE - is actually the correct way to pronounce "Constantine." The North American pronunciation of Con-stan-TEEN pervaded popular culture, starting with Keanu Reeves' movie, which used the Con-stan-TEEN pronunciation. (No surprise since Reeves played an American version of John Constantine) Compounding the confusion but playing up to North American audiences, Matt Ryan's John continued pronouncing his surname as Con-stan-TEEN, and he even corrected Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), who said it as Con-stan-TYNE during Crisis On Infinite Earths. But Con-stan-TYNE is the proper British way to say "Constantine," and it was the pronunciation Alan Moore intended when he created John Constantine in the pages of Swamp Thing. Johanna Constantine in The Sandman is merely restoring the original and right way to say her surname to the global Netflix audience.

Is John Constantine In The Sandman? Will He Appear?

Lady Johanna and John Constantine

Johanna Constantine took John's place in The Sandman because John Constantine's character rights are held up elsewhere. HBO Max and JJ Abrams's Bad Robot production shingle has a Justice League Dark TV project involving John Constantine in development, and the character has just enjoyed a wildly popular version played by Matt Ryan from 2015-2021 on NBC and on The CW. Gaiman and executive producer Allan Heinberg simply substituted Johanna Constantine for John in The Sandman's present-day story but, intriguingly, Jenna Coleman also plays her own ancestor, Lady Johanna Constantine, in The Sandman episodes set in the 18th century. With Johanna established as the Constantine in Netflix's The Sandman, don't expect any version of John Constantine to appear in the future.

Johanna proves to be a better foil for Dream in The Sandman than John would have. The female Constantine is the first human Morpheus calls upon to help him retrieve his stolen symbols of office, his ruby, helmet, and his pouch of magical dream sand. But Johanna's secret torment touches Dream in a way that meeting John Constantine does not in The Sandman comics, and helping Johanna as she helps him becomes the first step in Morpheus' efforts to better understand the humans and mortals he serves. Meanwhile, no one mispronounces "Constantine" in The Sandman, and the Netflix show may also be the first step in audiences finally pronouncing the surname properly as Con-stan-TYNE.

2022-08-06T10:19:15.000Z

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