Green Lantern has been given the green light. Ha! That terrible joke is a result of the news this weekend past out of NYCC revealing that HBO Max has given a 10-episode order to the live-action Green Lantern TV series. We first heard that a show based on the popular comic book property was in development last year when it was teased as part of the WarnerMedia-owned streaming services’ future lineup. Best-selling author turned screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith (It, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), who at one point was also tapped to direct Warner Brother’s Flash movie, will co-write and executive produce the DC Comics adaptation with DC TV series veteran Marc Guggenheim (Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow).
Where things really get interesting though is the official announcement for the show which reveals that Green Lantern “will depict the adventures of a multitude of Lanterns”. Which Lanterns? Well, the blurb name drops a whole bunch of them, but there are rather significant omissions.
From HBO Max, DC, Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television comes a bold adaptation of the iconic comic book franchise, a saga spanning decades and galaxies. GREEN LANTERN will depict the adventures of a multitude of Lanterns, including Guy Gardner, Jessica Cruz, Simon Baz and Alan Scott — Earth’s first Green Lantern, who, true to the comics, is a gay man — and many more. The series will also include fan favorites such as Sinestro and Kilowog, and will also introduce new heroes to the ranks of the Green Lantern Corps.
Paging Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner! Where you guys at?! Hal Jordan is undoubtedly the most well-known and popular member of the Green Lantern Corps in history, and Stewart and Rayner would be right on his heels – both having served as Jordan’s replacements at some time or another during the character’s long history. Jordan was most recently played on-screen by Ryan Reynolds in the much-maligned 2011 movie, a film that even Reynolds regularly disses on. It’s almost certain that the character will be rebooted on the big-screen in the DCEU with a Green Lantern Corps movie in the works from comic book veteran Geoff Johns at one point. However, those plans were shelved when WB decided to change the roadmap of their cinematic universe entirely in the wake of Justice League’s critical and commercial failure.
So could it be that the studio doesn’t want to create confusion and is now keeping back its three biggest Green Lantern heroes for another go at a movie? It certainly makes sense, but does go against WB’s recent enthusiasm for the DC multiverse and having different versions of characters all running around at the same time. But this is all speculation for now.
As for the confirmed members of that lineup though, it’s a really interesting mix. As the blurb states, Alan Scott was the original Green Lantern, debuting during the DC Comics Golden Age in 1940. The character was a railroad engineer who found a magical green train lamp (actually part of a mystical meteor) which instructed him on how to create and wield a magical ring that gave him a wide variety of power but had an inherent weakness against wood, just like your mom. Yes, wood. Don’t ask. Scott was originally a member of the post-WWII hero team the Justice Society of America and was pretty popular with readers.
When DC Comics decided to reboot their characters with a more modern angle in 1959, they took the name of Green Lantern and gave it to Hal Jordan but tossed out everything else. Now the lantern and ring were actually the vastly powerful tools of an intergalactic police force created by the ancient alien race known as the Guardians of the Universe. The Corps used their rings and lanterns (now known as power batteries) to will objects into existence as they kept the peace across the universe.
In the 1980s, Guy Gardner was introduced as another member of this Corps. It was retroactively revealed that Gardner had originally been the second choice of Abin Sur, the alien who crashlanded on Earth and picked Jordan as his replacement based on the latter’s ability to overcome fear. Gardner was supposed to have been Jordan’s backup from the start but an accident put him in a coma for years, meaning he only claimed his own ring much later. As a result of his injuries leaving him emotionally unstable though, Gardner was also a massive departure from the confident, natural leader Jordan, having a very brash, reckless, and anti-authority attitude.
And for the record, John Stewart, a decorated ex-US Army sniper who became a meticulous architect, was tapped as Gardner’s replacement while he was in his coma. And when Jordan went evil (he was possessed by Parallax, the living embodiment of fear) and wiped out the entire Green Lantern Corps in the 1990s, it was sensitive artist Kyle Rayner that was chosen as the Torch Bearer, the last remaining Green Lantern who had to single-handedly carry the legacy until eventually Jordan and the rest of the Corps could be restored.
And in more recent times, that rebuilt Corps has seen the addition of Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, bringing some diversity to the line-up.
Introduced in 2012, Baz is a young Lebanese-American living in Detroit who has seen lots of racial prejudice due to the events of 9/11. A street racer who turned to a life of crime, Baz stole a van only to discover there was a bomb inside it. He heroically drove the van into an abandoned factory to prevent any loss of life, but was still labeled a terrorist and arrested by authorities. During his arrest though, a semi-functioning Green Lantern ring (which was actually the rings of Jordan and rival Sinestro fused together and lost during a different story) seeks him out and bonds with him, allowing him to escape.
Deciding to turn over a new leaf, Baz used the ring to perform many heroic acts, including helping Guy Gardner to stop the Third Army, a robotic force created by a group of Guardians who had gone insane and wanted to replace the Green Lantern Corps. For his acts, Jordan let Baz keep the ring, and eventually he was even offered a spot on a new version of the Justice League, despite some heroes’ reluctance to trust him. Which may stem from the fact that Baz doesn’t trust his own malfunctioning ring and often carries an actual gun as a backup.
As for Jessica Cruz, her origin actually begins during the Forever Evil crossover in 2014, in which the Crime Syndicate invaded the mainstream DC universe. Hailing from Earth-3 in the DC Multiverse, the Crime Syndicate is the evil, inverted version of the Justice League. Hal Jordan’s counterpart in this twisted team is Power Ring, actually mild-mannered janitor Harold Jordan who is possessed and controlled by the Ring of Volthoom, a device that feeds on his fear. During the events of Forever Evil, Power Ring is stopped by Sinestro who cuts off his arm before incinerating him (for which Harold is actually grateful as it frees him from this curse).
A while later, Jessica Cruz and her friends are on a camping trip when they stumble across criminals disposing of bodies in the forest. The criminals attack and kill the entire group besides for Cruz who runs away in fear. That fear attracts the Ring of Volthoom which had been looking for a new host. It bonds to Cruz, causing her great physical and psychological pain as it feeds on her trauma, forcing her to perform malicious acts. After eventually being found by the Justice League, Cruz is helped by Batman to de-power the ring and start to come to terms with her fear and guilt over the things she was forced to do.
When Hal Jordan later returns to Earth, he also teaches her how to assert her own will over the ring, which is potentially more powerful than a normal Green Lantern rinfg. He would even go further to force Cruz and Baz to work together by fusing their power batteries into one. He hoped that the two would be able to help each other overcome their respective issues and fully become the heroes he believed they could be.
Just how this upcoming show will integrate the stories of Alan Scott, Simon Baz, and Jessica Cruz will be very interesting, seeing as they don’t follow the traditional origin stories for the Green Lantern Corps. And will Gardner be introduced without reference to him being the backup for Jordan? Gardner being the second choice is a huge part of his character and why he is always motivated to go above and beyond proving himself. We also get some name drops for Sinestro and Kilowog, and hints of the rest of the Green Lantern Corps but no mention of whether fan-favourites like Soranik Natu, Isamot Kol, Sodam Yat, Stel, Tomar-Re and more will be included
With no release date set at the moment, we may have to wait a while for some answers.
Last Updated: October 12, 2020