On the surface, it doesn’t seem like DC Comics’ Green Lantern mythology and the Star Wars saga have a ton in common, aside from both being space opera adventures. But upon closer inspection, both of these franchises have had incredible parallels, going back to their very beginnings. Was George Lucas influenced by Green Lantern comics when creating the Jedi, or coming up with Anakin Skywalker’s arc? Honestly, we’d say probably not. But nevertheless, the similarities are striking, And it’s been an ongoing thing for decades.
The Green Lantern Corps and the Jedi Order
In DC Comics lore, the Green Lantern Corps has been a peacekeeping force for literally hundreds of thousands of years. With their emerald power rings, they can channel energy from the Emotional Spectrum because of their innate willpower to create constructs and energy weapons. They draw their power from an energy that has existed since the dawn of creation. Also, they are usually paired with another Lantern, in a senior officer and rookie partnership. Every time they charge their rings, they take a solemn vow to the Corps, in the form of a spoken oath.
In Star Wars, the Jedi Order has also existed for thousands of generations, with a select few thousand acting as guardians of the peace for trillions of beings. Only a very select handful of sentient beings who can wield the Force had have allowance to train as Jedi. Similarly, potential Green Lanterns must be innately special for the ring to choose them. And not every sentient being can wield a ring, just as not every sentient being has an aptitude for the Force. Like the Lanterns, after initial training, they pair Jedi in a master/apprentice relationship. And like the Green Lanterns, they must also take a vow to the order. Of course, one of their own once decimated both the Lanterns and the Jedi Order, only for them to rebuild again.
Oa and Coruscant, the Bright Centers of the Galaxy
The home world of the Green Lantern Corps is the ancient planet Oa, the center of the known universe. There, the immortal Guardians of the Universe preside over their intergalactic representatives and issue orders to their Green Lanterns. Oa, in more recent comics, has also become the home of the United Planets, an intergalactic governing body. At the center of the Star Wars galaxy is Coruscant, which is home to the Jedi Temple and has been for centuries. The same Temple where the Jedi Council presides over its thousands of Jedi Knights, in a similar manner to Oa’s Guardians. Like Oa, Coruscant is also the seat of galactic government, first with the Republic, and later, the Empire.
The Fall of Hal Jordan, the Fall of Anakin Skywalker
The Star Wars saga centered on the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker. But we didn’t see his actual transition into Darth Vader until the prequels. But the Green Lantern comics gave their premiere ring wielder, Hal Jordan, almost the same arc as Anakin would have, over a decade earlier. The Guardians of the Universe considered Hal Jordan to be the greatest Green Lantern of all time, a gifted pilot even before he received the power ring. Eventually, though, things went very sour.
When an alien despot destroyed his hometown of Coast City, killing millions, Hal suffered an unbearable loss. And he wanted more power from the Green Lantern central battery to undo it all. When the Guardians denied him, telling him he must accept loss, he went on a rampage and killed almost the entire Green Lantern Corps. He siphoned all the power from the main battery on Oa, emerging as the villain Parallax. After a few years as a bad guy, he ultimately redeemed himself, and died saving the Earth during the Final Night event, reigniting a dying sun.
Sound familiar? Anakin Skywalker was already a great pilot when he became Jedi, and as the Chosen One, many considered him the most powerful Jedi ever. When he was asked to let go of loss by wiser Jedi, he decided he couldn’t, and needed more power to save his wife from death. He kills all the Jedi in their temple, and becomes Darth Vader. As we know, in his final act in Return of the Jedi, he ultimately redeemed himself. Of course, Hal Jordan’s dark side turn was later retconned as a possession. And Hal got to come back to life with a clean slate. But for over a decade, Hal Jordan was DC’s Anakin Skywalker analogue.
The “Last” Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, and the “Last” Jedi, Luke Skywalker
When the Jedi Order fell, eventually one farm boy named Luke Skywalker picked up a lightsaber and embarked on a journey that would make him the last Jedi. But Luke Skywalker’s world-famous story was somewhat reflected in the Green Lantern comics of the early ‘90s, when a new, younger Lantern named Kyle Rayner became to the Green Lantern Corps what Luke Skywalker was to the Jedi Order — the last of his kind. Or, depending on your point of view, the first of a new kind of Jedi.
When Hal Jordan broke bad and destroyed the Corps, only one ring remained. The last Guardian went to Earth and gave the final power ring to a young slacker named Kyle Rayner. He became the “Torchbearer” for the whole Lantern Corps, the only Lantern left, much like how for years Luke was the last Jedi. Kyle even spent some time under the mentorship of former Lantern John Stewart, in an Obi-Wan/Luke-style relationship. He eventually reignited the Green Lantern Corps again after a decade. And he had an epic battle with Hal Jordan, who became his nemesis, much as Luke did with Vader. And thanks to some time-traveling adventures, Hal became like a father figure to Kyle, completing the Luke/Vader parallels.
Multi-Colored Power Rings, Multi-Colored Lightsabers
In the Green Lantern mythology, each color ring represents a different aspect of the Emotional Spectrum. Green is willpower/courage, while blue is hope, purple is love, and indigo is compassion. All of these same colors represent the lightsaber hues of members of the benevolent Jedi Order. And these are all emotions and attributes a Jedi must display. Of course, in the DC Universe, the different colored rings each have a separate corps of their own. And there is only one Jedi Order in Star Wars. But their colors match the “good guy” rings in the pages of DC Comics.
Meanwhile, the emotion of rage fuels the Red Lantern rings. In Star Wars, only a Sith wields crimson blades. But the emotion of rage powers both the Red Lanterns and the Sith. In the Green Lantern comics, greed fuels the orange power rings. In Star Wars: Ahsoka, we see our first orange lightsabers, held by mercenaries who were former Jedi. As mercenaries, they’re in it for the money, so we’d say orange sabers represent greed as well. In both DC and Star Wars, white and black power rings/lightsabers are coveted and rare, worn by few (or one). The only colored lightsaber that’s doesn’t really line up with a corresponding power ring is yellow. In Green Lantern comics, yellow represents fear. In Star Wars, Jedi Temple guards hold yellow sabers, as does Rey eventually.
Will we see more Green Lantern and Star Wars parallels in the future? If the past several decades have been any indication, we think the answer is a definite yes. In the comics, we’ve seen Green Lantern and Star Trek crossover. Here’s hoping we see some power rings ignite next to some lightsabers. How fun would that be?