For a while in the mid-to-late aughts, DC title Green Lantern and its offshoots was the title for the company. Geoff Johns’ run reintroduced Silver Age Lantern Hal Jordan and birthed a whole rainbow of other Lantern corps each with its own roster of characters. It was a great time to be a comics fan. Unfortunately, the 2009 Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds was not only a flop but a critical punching bag. As such, it seems like every announced GL live action project has hit a host of issues. Add another one to that list.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the proposed Green Lantern TV series from Arrowverse creator Greg Berlanti for HBO Max is getting reformatted. The series will no longer focus on Lanterns Guy Gardner and Alan Scott but instead will star John Stewart, the 1970s iteration who rose to prominence thanks to the Justice League animated series. Writer Seth Grahame-Smith had already written eight episodes in the original format and has now exited the project.
The Green Lantern title had been on DC’s slate for a long time. First it was to be one of the many now-jettisoned DCEU films. Later, it was going to be an HBO series called Green Lantern Corps. As of 2019, the show became an HBO Max exclusive and would lost the Corps in the title. Finn Wittrock and Jeremy Irvine had already joined the series as Gardner and Scott, respectively. Alan Scott, the original Golden Age Green Lantern, had come out as gay in the comics and the series would have focused on that.
John Stewart debuted in 1971 as one of DC’s first Black superheroes. Initially his arrival was part of the wave of Blaxploitation titles in film, TV, and comics in the decade. The same reason Marvel introduced Luke Cage. In the decades since, however, John Stewart became one of DC’s standout characters. Despite the fact that the current comic book Lantern was Kyle Rayner, it was Stewart Bruce Timm and company chose to be on Justice League. This introduced him to a generation of young fans. For many—myself included—Stewart is the Green Lantern, despite Hal Jordan’s return.
The THR report hastens to add this turnaround of Green Lantern has nothing to do with Tuesday’s news of James Gunn and Peter Safran coming on as DC Studios co-heads. Hopefully we’ll still see Guy Gardner, Alan Scott, and Hal Jordan on the show. I’d also love newer Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz to appear as well. But giving the lead to Stewart seems like a smart choice indeed.