DC is changing up their approach to getting their iconic comic book characters onto the screen. With a few less than stellar box office performances, not all their properties are only coming to the big screen as once expected. When Justice League came out, DC released a promotional image showing when all their upcoming movies were coming out over the next few years. These included Flash, Cyborg, and Green Lantern Corps, among others.
Now, though, many of these “movies” are seeing a change. Green Lantern Corps, for example, is about to become a TV series ahead of trying it at the box office again
Why? Because Justice League didn’t perform as well as expected. Even though it made $212.8 million in the United States and $615.4 million internationally, many consider it the highest-grossing cinematic bomb in movie history. That’s quite a title to hold! To be honest, I didn’t think Justice League was that bad. I think it just didn’t start with a big enough draw as the main villain. After all, even some comic fans don’t know who Steppenwolf is. I get it, DC was trying for the long con and was planning on working their way up to Darkseid, like Marvel did with Thanos. It just didn’t work out in their favor.
The last time DC did essentially this same gambit was 2011’s Green Lantern. The storyline began with Hector Hammond and planned on working its way in the proposed sequels to Sinestro and likely the different colored rings. I assume it would have culminated gloriously with Blackest Night.
But, DC’s strategy failed then too.
Not only was Hector Hammond unknown by many, he’s also a boring character, to me at least. Even though Parallax was in the movie as well, pulling Hammond’s strings, way too much time was spent on boring old Hector. Franchises don’t start with boring villains. People enjoy Batman. They enjoy Spider-Man. However, aside from those heroes being cool, they also have wonderful villains. So does Green Lantern. So, for his movie to have launched a franchise, it should have begun with someone more interesting to get fans into his mythos. Honestly, I think Green Lantern is better than the bandwagon of hatred stacked against it, but that’s a post for another day.
So, DC’s cinematic universe continues to have missteps on getting started. Even Batman v Superman has been divisive amongst fans and critics alike. Suicide Squad, similarly, wasn’t unanimously well-received. So, even though Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam, and the completely disconnected Joker have all been successful, DC appears to be altering their approach to their next phase of movies. Some proposed films, like Cyborg, seem to have been put on hiatus. Ezra Miller’s Flash changes release dates almost as often as it changes directors.
Then, there’s the Green Lantern Corps. Before it was recently announced that Green Lantern would be a series on HBO’s new streaming service called HBO Max, Green Lantern Corps was due out as a theatrical release in 2021. Of course, it would have been a complete reboot to the 2011 movie because so many consider that one a failure. Green Lantern star Ryan Reynolds even inserted jokes into both Deadpool movies, essentially trashing his own turn as Green Lantern.
Now, to me, the hatred of the 2011 movie created an awful turn of events. Hal Jordan is my favorite character from the DC universe of comics. From Green Lantern: Rebirth in 2004 to 2009-2010’s Blackest Night story, Green Lantern was one of the best-selling comics on the shelf. Geoff Johns did some magnificent storytelling, fixing past plot holes and story direction mistakes all in one deft stroke in Rebirth and then continued to amaze over the next few years with the Sinestro Corps War, Rage of the Red Lanterns, and Blackest Night. Hal was absolutely one of the coolest characters out there.
Then, the Green Lantern movie bombed, even though it made $116 million in the US and $219 million internationally. Hal has sadly been demoted, a few times, from the limelight since. Replaced by new recruits in the Justice League comic, he was off in space. Meanwhile, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz rose in popularity while starring in Hal’s replaced limelight. I get it, anyone can wear the Green Lantern ring, so writers feel he’s the easiest to replace in order to inject new blood into the League. Superman, for example, isn’t so easy to swap out since his powers are rather specific to him. Hal was even left out of the Justice League movie. So, now images of the “original Justice League” members often leave Hal out as well. For a fan of Hal, this can get frustrating.
The character of Hal Jordan isn’t replaceable. The daring test pilot with unmatched bravery and a penchant for authority issues is part of what has kept the character popular for the majority of a century. It isn’t just the ring.
However, things are looking up.
While there’s currently no Green Lantern movie on the immediate horizon, HBO has officially announced their live-action Green Lantern tv series. If done well, this could be more exposure than even a movie might provide. After all, over the last couple of years, what have people talked more about, Justice League or Game of Thrones?
With that said, which Green Lantern should the show include? Since Hal has been swapped out a few times over the years, there are a number of available characters that the series could use. The downside of multiple characters to choose from is the aforementioned point that Hal isn’t so replaceable. He’s a great character and deserves to be utilized. The upside is that some of those replacement characters have been pretty amazing.
First and foremost, Hal should be used in the show. When Batman got nipples, and his movie bombed? The next Batman movie didn’t star Dick Grayson, instead, while Bruce sat in movie-bomb prison. So, Green Lantern should have Hal.
John Stewart, DC’s first African American hero, has been the 2nd longest running Green Lantern character over the years. He’s an ex-military sniper who became an architect. That architect brain gave him a different take on the constructs created by the Green Lantern ring. While Hal used fists, planes, and whatever other blunt objects he could think of to brashly charge into battle, John constructs in-depth, almost machine-like constructs. If he makes a gun, for example, it’s made part by part.
Alan Scott, for me, is a non-entity. I know when I say Hal and John are the longest running Lanterns that Alan has been around longer, originating in the Golden Age of comics. However, he’s a completely different kind of Lantern and shares the name only. His lantern isn’t part of the space drama that is the Green Lantern Corps.
Guy Gardner is the hot-headed Green Lantern with an attitude that’s always looking for a fight. While he’s considered to be one of the favorite GLs by many, his attitude problem sometimes gets him written almost caricature-like. The cool thing about the attitude, though, is he takes no guff from anyone and comes across as sarcastically hilarious. He may, and hopefully will, make appearances in the series, but I doubt he’ll be one of the main characters.
Kyle Rayner took over as the universe’s one Green Lantern when the normal corps of Lanterns that protect the universe as space cops was destroyed by none other than Hal himself. In Hal’s defense, he was possessed by Parallax (thank you Geoff Johns). As the “Torchbearer” that kept the light of the Lanterns’ going for years until the Green Lantern ship was righted by Geoff Johns, Kyle became a fan favorite. He’s an artist. So, similar to John, Kyle’s ring constructs were born out of a dreamer’s imagination and weren’t always fists that just rammed in to get the job done. I love Kyle, but I think it’d be hard to start a show with him without completely rewriting Green Lantern history. Although, like Guy, it’d be nice to seem him added over time.
Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz have been the most recent additions to the Earth members of the Corps. As rookies, they were grouped together as partners by Hal before he headed off into space to protect the universe. Both Baz and Cruz have become quite popular in their short time in DC comics so far. However, like Kyle, it’d be hard to start the Green Lantern narrative with characters that have only been around a couple of years. Sure, the showrunners could potentially throw decades of story out the window and trash fan expectations. However, when shows and movies based on comics have completely ignored those very same comics, the end result has rarely been positive.
Green Lantern, as a corps of space cops, has plenty of popular characters that aren’t even Earthlings. Most notably, tough as nails drill instructor with a heart of gold, Kilowog, comes to mind. It’s doubtful, though, that any of these characters will be main protagonists since there are just too many fans wanting to see the Lanterns from the list of human options.
When the Green Lantern Corps movie was originally announced, rumored plot points were leaked stating the move would star two Lanterns in a space-set buddy cop movie. However, as revealed recently in an article by DEADLINE that is, in fact, a major plot point for the TV Series which hopes to focus on two stories spanning decades focusing on the Green Lanterns of Earth. My assumption is that this series is an altered version of the aforementioned planned movie. So, we should get two of the above Lanterns in the show with others as secondary characters. If we’re getting two lanterns, then, the easy bet is that it will be the two longest running Lanterns, Hal and John. Since they’re the two that have been around the longest, they’ve also had the most “buddy cop” interaction over the years. Therefore, they’re the most likely to reprise that buddyness in live action.
Picking the correct heroes isn’t the only step the showrunners need to take. To avoid DC’s past failures, they need to work a Geoff John’s level tapestry to quickly and appropriately bring in Green Lantern’s best villains. They need Sinestro (which is confirmed). They need the Red Lanterns. They need Blackest Night!
For the Green Lantern series to get a foothold in popular culture and become a hit, HBO needs to stay true to the tried-and-true comics that have been around since Hal Jordan debuted in Showcase #22 in October of 1959. That means if it does end up being the only version of Green Lantern coming out, which seems likely at this point, Hal needs to be in it. If the show will indeed follow two Lanterns as main protagonists, it should be Hal and John.
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