Why Netflix's Sandman Uses Constantine's Comics-Accurate Name Pronunciation
Netflix's upcoming television adaptation of the beloved DC comic book series The Sandman will use the comics-accurate pronunciation of the Constantine family name -- and creator Neil Gaiman has taken the time to clear up any confusion fans of other on-screen DC projects may have.
Netflix's The Sandman stars Jenna Coleman in the role of Johanna Constantine, an occult detective and relative of John Constantine. Over the years, John Constantine's name has been commonly pronounced as "Constan-TEEN," including in many official DC adaptations. In the original comics, however, the Hellblazer's surname is actually pronounced "Constan-TYNE." (As John himself once said, it rhymes with "fine.")
During last month's Sandman cast interview, Johanna's surname was consistently pronounced as "Constan-TYNE," in keeping with the original comics. More recently, a fan of shows like NBC's Constantine and The CW's Legends of Tomorrow -- which featured Matt Ryan in the role of John Constantine (pronounced Constan-TEEN) -- contacted Gaiman on Tumblr, raising the question of how the name is actually supposed to be pronounced.
"Alan Moore named and co-created the character, and that's how he pronounced it," Gaiman replied, referencing the "Constan-TYNE" pronunciation. "And that's how it was pronounced in the comic he first showed up in," the author continued, referring to 1985's Swamp Thing #37.
"Consider Us Even, John Constan-Tyne"
Following his debut in Swamp Thing #37, John Constantine spun off into Hellblazer, which would become a hallmark of DC's now-defunct Vertigo Comics imprint. Since then, the character has been adapted on-screen on numerous occasions, starting with the 2005 film Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves in the title role. The aforementioned Ryan took over the role for the NBC series Constantine, subsequently reprising it as part of the Arrowverse, most notably becoming a series regular on DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Ryan has also voiced Constantine in various animated projects.
Throughout all of these shows and movies, the character's name has been pronounced "Constan-TEEN." Interestingly enough, though, the comics-accurate pronunciation was referenced during the Arrowverse's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event, which saw Ryan's Constantine come face-to-face with Tom Ellis' Lucifer, the latter of whom originated as a Sandman character. During their brief encounter, Lucifer teasingly pronounces John's surname as "Constan-TYNE," with the Hellblazer quickly correcting him.
Speaking of Sandman characters, Lady Johanna Constantine was originally introduced as John's ancestor in 1990's Sandman #13. In the upcoming Netflix series, Coleman portrays two versions of the character -- one who lives in the 18th century and another who exists in the present day, with the latter serving as a stand-in for John, who played a significant role in 1989's Sandman #3.
Gaiman previously explained the decision to omit John from Netflix's The Sandman. "The rights situation with John is certainly circumscribed right now," he said, alluding to the fact that there are other on-screen plans for John at the moment. "But the plan to have Lady Johanna and Joanna be in the story and played by the same person was there from the start. It seemed tidier. So it worked out."
The Sandman premieres Friday, Aug. 5 on Netflix.