Hero Worship: Who Should be the New Live-Action Green Lantern?
Time to call John Stewart into cinematic action.
by Joey EspositoJUNE 28, 2013
For all of June, with the end of the Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern run and the start of a new era of cosmic adventures for Hal Jordan and company, IGN Comics has been celebrating Green Lantern Month. Of course, this was kinda-sorta a big month for Superman as well, so I thought a good way to cap off Green Lantern Month was to wildly speculate about the (eventual, hopeful) return of Green Lantern in the new cinematic universe that Man of Steel has created.
Even though I personally think that there’s plenty of fun to be found in the 2011 Green Lantern movie (if not necessarily basic filmmaking or storytelling fundamentals), it’s probably a safe bet that all ties to that flick will be severed when it comes time to bring the character back. As such, I would propose leaving Hal Jordan behind altogether. I know, I know. I’m terrible.
Though in the comics Hal has been back in action as a Green Lantern for a decade now, the decade prior to that he was either a mass-murdering lunatic or serving as the spirit of vengeance, the Spectre. During that time, new Lantern Kyle Rayner stepped up and held down the fort as Green Lantern. And by fort, I mean the whole galaxy, since the Green Lantern Corps were, at the time, decimated.
Former Earth Lanterns John Stewart andGuy Gardner went on to pursue other roles in the DCU after the end of the Corps and Kyle was left more or less on his own until 2004. But that was in the comics. In the last few years of the Kyle Rayner era, it was another Lantern that was enjoying the spotlight in another, more mainstream, medium.
Though Kyle was indeed introduced as Earth’s Green Lantern in Superman: The Animated Series, it was John Stewart that was the Green Lantern present in 2001’s Justice League/Justice League Unlimited animated series. As a result of the animated JLA’s success, there is a generation of non-comic book reading but superhero-loving fans out there for whom John Stewart is their Lantern.
My formative years reading comics were the mid-1990s when Kyle was doing his thing, but even I’m partial to John just because of the animated series. Because of this mainstream familiarity – I guarantee the non-comics reading public are more likely to know about John than they are Kyle – John is the best route to go when considering an Earth Lantern for the new cinematic DC Universe.
I’ll admit part of my thinking here is just drooling over the thought of Idris Elba as John Stewart, but it also makes the most sense for the brand. The first live-action Green Lantern was unfortunately a disappointment, and it’s probable WB would like to distance themselves from that, especially after the financial success of Man of Steel. Even still, it’s unlikely we’d see another stand-alone Green Lantern movie until after the Justice League movie at the very least.
I know you want this too.
If you consider the average viewer of Justice League at the time it premiered in 2001 was 8-12 (I was 16, but you know, whatever), those kids are now enjoying the misery of their early 20s and are able to pay for their own movie tickets. Coincidentally, these folks also fall in one of the target Hollywood demographics: the 18-24s. If WB is going to build a Justice League universe as they claim, taking advantage of this demographic by using John Stewart to wipe the memories of the 2011 Green Lantern is the way to go.
I love all of the Green Lanterns for different reasons – and Kyle remains my Green Lantern -- but I think John is the clear choice to help distinguish the Green Lantern of the cinematic universe as something new, different, and hopefully, better.
Who do you guys want to see as the new live-action Green Lantern? Vote below!