Last week, Warner Bros. announced their slate of DC Comics films from 2016 until 2020. Kicking off with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, this lineup of films (which could be called DC’s Phase 1) will conclude with a reboot of one of DC’s most famous characters: Green Lantern. Although 2011 gave us a Green Lantern movie, it was a critical and commercial failure, and for years it was ambiguous whether there would be a follow-up. However, with the establishment of the DC Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. has decided to give Green Lantern another shot at the big screen... even if it is six years away. However, with the franchise getting a new start, there’s one lingering question: who will be the DCCU’s Green Lantern? Luckily, there are plenty of characters to choose from.
As a primer for the uninitiated, the DC Universe is protected by the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force that patrols the universe and combats threats with their power rings, unique devices that channel willpower and grant the wearer special abilities. Since 1959, Earth and the rest of Sector 2814 have been protected by a variety of Green Lanterns, and when this reboot is released in 2020, one of these notable humans will have the honor of defending sector 2814 on the silver screen. This list gives a rundown on each of Earth’s Green Lanterns and why they may or may be a good fit for the movie. Oh, and just to make sure no hardcore Lantern fans start yelling later, Alan Scott was not included on this list because his ring is magical, and he is not a member of the Corps. However, if a Justice Society movie is ever made, there’s a good chance he’ll be one of the primary members.
Simon BazBackground: Growing up as a Lebanese-American, Simon dealt with a lot of intolerance after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As an adult, he made a name for himself as a street racer and car thief, but one night, he accidentally steals a van with a bomb inside it. He drives the van to the abandoned automotive factory that he was just laid off from so that the bomb would go off without hurting everybody. He is soon arrested by the authorities on charges of terrorism, and while being interrogated, a Green Lantern ring selects Simon as its new wielder and flies him away from the detention center. Eventually, Simon discovers that this malfunctioning ring is a combination of Hal Jordan and Sinestro’s (who was a Green Lantern again at this time) rings, both of whom were stuck in the Dead Zone. After clearing his name from the bombing, Simon was instrumental in rescuing Hal and Sinestro, as well as helping defeat the First Lantern. He was later recruited into the Justice League of America as Hal’s counterpart in case the Justice League ever went rogue.
Why He Might Work: Beyond just adding diversity to the team, Simon has demonstrated enormous willpower with his ring. While on the run, he visited his brother-in-law, who was comatose after an accident in one of Simon’s street races. Although Simon’s Green Lantern mentor B’dg told him that the ring is not able to cure ills or raise the dead, Simon was somehow able to heal his brother-in-law’s injuries. If the DCCU decides to extend the capabilities of a Green Lantern’s power, maybe Simon should be the one to demonstrate these new abilities.
Why He Wouldn’t Work: Simon has only existed for two years, and the Green Lantern books haven’t done much with him past offering some side assistance. Frankly, there’s not enough source material to work with, and it would be easier to go with one of the other Earth Lanterns. Simon still has plenty to do in the comics, but he’s not ready for the movies.
Guy GardnerBackground: Guy Gardner was originally designated by the Guardians as Hal Jordan’s replacement, but eventually he was allowed to serve concurrently with Earth’s main Green Lantern. Although he is skilled with the ring, Gardner is primarily known for his obnoxious and egotistical personality. While serving with the Justice League International, he frequently challenged Batman’s leadership, which eventually resulted in the Caped Crusader punching Guy in the face. Regardless, Guy has been a valued member of the Green Lantern Corps, and though his methods may be unorthodox, he always has the backs of his fellow Corpsmen. Recently, Guy gave turned in his green ring for the red ring of rage, and is currently leader of the Red Lantern Corps. Guy has also appeared in Young Justice, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Green Lantern: The Animated Series.
Why He Might Work: To put it simply, if the Justice League movie is looking to brew any conflict between its members, Guy is the perfect candidate to light the fuse. His passion may also appeal more to general audience, although the writers may need to tone down his arrogance to make him more likable.
Why He Wouldn’t Work: While Guy may have a dedicated fanbase, his overall personality is just too wild to mix well with the other main Justice League members. For the solo movie, it would be wiser for him to be introduced as a replacement rather than Earth’s first ring wielder, so that if he is eventually introduced, there can be scenes of him arguing with his predecessor about how he’s doing a "much better" job as a Green Lantern.
Kyle RaynerBackground: When Hal Jordan became Parallax and destroyed the Green Lantern Corps, the only Guardian of the Universe to survive was Ganthet. Creating a new Green Lantern ring from the remains of Jordan’s old one (who had absorbed the Central Power Battery’s power at this point), Ganthet came to Earth to select a new Green Lantern. He chose Kyle Rayner, a struggling artist, and while it was never clear why the Guardian chose Rayner, he clearly made the right decision. For many years, Rayner was the universe’s only Green Lantern, and despite suffering personal tragedy like his girlfriend’s murder (which is where the term "women in refrigerators" originated), he became a notable superhero, joining the ranks of the Justice League and Teen Titans. Hal and the other humans have since gotten their rings back, but Kyle has remained a dutiful ring wielder. He’s also gotten several power upgrades, including being host to the Ion and Parallax entities at separate times, and more recently becoming a White Lantern.
Why He Might Work: Although the 2020 Green Lantern movie is a reboot, it’s possible they may want to already have an established history in place with the Green Lantern Corps. To make Kyle’s powers more unique, there could be a reference to him being the only Green Lantern left in the universe and an explanation of what happened to the other Corps members. The DCCU also doesn’t mind casting younger actors to play superheroes as evidenced by Ezra Miller playing Barry Allen, so maybe they’ll choose a younger Green Lantern as well.
Why He Wouldn’t Work: Kyle Rayner’s origin is too dependent on the actions of Hal Jordan and the other Green Lanterns. Sure Superman: The Animated Series managed to keep his story self-contained, but that’s only because they gave him Jordan’s origin. He’s could certainly be introduced in a second or third Green Lantern movie, but Warner Bros. would be wise to pick one of his predecessors to headline the first movie and be a founding member of the Justice League.
John StewartBackground: When Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner were both out of commission, John was selected as Earth’s new Green Lantern. His time as a sniper in the U.S. Marines gave him a disciplined mindset, and his career as an architect is reflected in the precision of his constructs. John has dealt with more than his fair share of tragedy during his time in the Green Lantern Corps, including the death of his wife Katma Tui, failing to stop the planet Xanshi from being destroyed and being forced to destroy the living planet Mogo when it was being controlled by Parallax. Despite all this, John is one of the Corps most esteemed members, and is frequently called upon to make the tough decisions. Despite being created in 1972 (he was one of DC’s first black superheroes), John gained newfound popularity when he was made one of the main characters in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. John was also a minor character in Young Justice and mentioned briefly in Green Lantern: The Animated Series.
Why He Might Work: For those who grew up watching Justice League, John was likely the Green Lantern they were first exposed to. Hal may be the oldest of the Green Lantern Corps, but Joh brings that recognizably to young people who were devoted fans of the animated series and are now in their early-mid 20s. When a sequel to 2011’s Green Lantern was still being considered, many suggested that John replace Hal as Green Lantern to that the story can go off in its own direction while still existing in the same continuity. Since the 2020 movie is a reboot, that’s no longer a concern, but they can still churn out an excellent movie with John as the focus, especially if they explore his time in the Marines and how it affects his outlook on life. Even if John isn’t picked as the main character for Green Lantern, since each sector has two Lanterns patrolling it, John could be Earth’s primary defender while his partner is out patrolling the rest of Sector 2814.
Why He Wouldn’t Work: Although he is a disciplined soldier, John’s personality isn’t that interesting. Part of this is due to the quality of stories certain writers have put him in, but overall, he just doesn’t have the same enthusiasm that his teammates have. Chances are high that he would eventually appear in a Green Lantern movie, but as the primary character, he may be glossed over in favor of the final entry of the list.
Hal JordanBackground: Hal Jordan may not be the first Green Lantern, but he’s arguably the most famous. Inheriting the ring from his dying predecessor Abin Sur, Hal became the first human to join the Green Lantern Corps and quickly made a name for himself. Brash and overconfident, Hal gained a reputation for his unusual use of the ring and his tendency to rush headfirst into battle. Nevertheless, he has proven to be an exemplary Green Lantern, and is considered by many to be the greatest member of the Corps. Hal fell from grace in the ‘90s after he absorbed the power of the Central Power Battery and became Parallax. However, since being brought back to life in 2004’s Green Lantern: Rebirth, Hal has been the main character in the Green Lantern books and has been instrumental in defeating a variety of universal threats, such as the Black Lanterns, the mad Guardian Krona and the Sinestro Corps. Currently he’s the new leader of the Green Lantern Corps, something which he is having trouble getting used to.
Why He Might Work: All signs point to Hal being the main Green Lantern. Much of the DCCU is being inspired by the New 52, and Hal is one of the founding members of the New 52 Justice League. Hal also has the most interesting origin of all the Green Lanterns. Watching his father die in a plane crash, he spent his whole life overcoming fear and became a pilot so that he could reach past the limitations people tried to impose on him. Having the ring is the ultimate wish fulfillment. He’s able to explore the entire universe while helping others in the process. Hal also has plenty of interesting stories that can be adapted for film, such as his antagonistic relationship with his former mentor Sinestro or his time as Parallax. Also, since Barry Allen will be the DCCU’s Flash, their friendship could be explored in the Justice League films. Like Batman and Superman, Hal and Barry are frequent partners, and it would be great to finally see them fighting side by side in live-action.
Why He Wouldn’t Work: It’s possible that DC might try to distance themselves from 2011’s Green Lantern by choosing a different person to wear the ring. Some may consider Hal’s reputation to be tainted by that film, and he didn’t fare much better with the animated series that aired soon after, although that had more to do with poor toy sales than the quality of the show. However, since nine years will have passed when the reboot is released, ideally everyone will realize that the films are not connected in any way and give Hal a second chance. If Bruce Wayne can bounce back after Batman and Robin, Hal Jordan can do the same.