Even if a Justice League film is far from being made by Warner Bros. and DC Comics, there’s no question the studio wants the movie to become a reality at some point. Before that can happen, the Green Lantern casting situation must be resolved – whether or not WB follows our 5 Ways To Save Green Lantern 2.
The choice is to bring back Ryan Reynolds – after a critically-panned first outing – or recast the role, possibly even following a different main character. We’ve explained in the past why sticking with Reynolds could work, but the actor might make the decision much easier for all involved, now claiming to have “little interest” in repeating the same mistakes.
A Justice League movie will be including a ring-slinger, so here are 6 Actors Who Could Play The Next Green Lantern.
Assuming DC and Warner Bros. attempt to simply say goodbye to Hal Jordan’s origin story and bring in a completely new Lantern, then John Stewart is the obvious solution; thanks to DC’s many animated films and TV shows, the character has already been introduced to an entire generation.
The studio knows that Stewart has plenty of supporters, since rapper Common was cast as the Lantern in George Miller’s failed Justice League: Mortal film. If Stewart is making a return, Common must be one of the frontrunners; a fact that makes plenty of sense given the character’s history.
While cartoons may have downplayed Stewart’s ethnicity, his comic book origins did not. As one of the first African-American superheroes without ‘black’ in his moniker, Stewart gave a voice to the issues and realities of black America. If the studio wants to do the same in live-action, Common is good pick – evidenced by his work on AMC’s Hell on Wheels.
If the studio is unable to decide the future of Reynolds’ hero by the time Justice League actually gets moving, a ringbearer other than Hal could be seen in his stead. Not to launch a sequel, but provide support.
And that, comic fans, is a role clearly made for Guy Gardner: the embodiment of a confident, steak-eating, beer-drinking American male. A stereotype to be sure, but actor Michael Rosenbaum has several roles under his belt – not just Smallville‘s Lex Luthor – that called for being obnoxious, smart-ass, and yet likable; all qualities needed to make Gardner work.
DC’s New 52 version has Gardner as a washed-out cop from a police family, so besides providing some expertise for the League, that backstory would anchor Rosenbaum to an actual character, keeping the wise-cracking (which the Flash voice actor has experience with) from falling into shallow development. That’s if Marvel doesn’t snag Rosenbaum first.
Australian-born Alex O’Loughlin may not be well-known to movie buffs, but Hawaii Five-0 fans know he’s a leading man in the making. With the looks and swagger of a tropical cop, O’Loughlin more than looks the part of Hal Jordan (and was considered for the role of James Bond before Daniel Craig).
Playing naval officer-turned-detective Steve McGarrett, O’Loughlin is no stranger to action, given the show’s ‘new movie every week’ structure and style (this is a Kurtzman and Orci joint, remember). Following a star like Ryan Reynolds is a challenge for any actor, but the real hero of Green Lantern was Jordan – a fighter pilot that exudes cockiness, insecurity, and a sense of humor; contradictions more easily said than done, but O’Loughlin pulls it off on a weekly basis.
Recasting Hal Jordan could be the riskiest move for WB, but entrusting the job to an actor who is somehow both proven and a relative unknown would definitely help hedge their bets.
Although we’d still argue that a Green Lantern movie series that doesn’t include Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Guy Gardner is missing a great opportunity, a young up-and-comer like Jai Courtney would give the studio plenty of options for solo appearances. After memorable performances in both Jack Reacher (2012) and A Good Day To Die Hard (2013), Courtney is distinguishing himself as a name to know.
Possessing the physicality for action and ability to instill fear with a smile on his face (see: his role in Jack Reacher for evidence), Courtney is about as close to a live-action Gardner as any actor we’ve seen. He may not have proven himself as a reliable action star just yet, but if introduced as part of a team of heroes in Justice League, or even a Green Lantern Corps film, he has the potential to excel.
Bottom line: if a movie version of Gardner is written without Courtney’s name on the short list, the studio is missing out.
We’re not going to shock anyone by casting Idris Elba as John Stewart, since the British actor has distinguished himself as one of the most underrated leading men currently working, period. With size and skills to convey both physical threat and the intelligence of a US marine-turned-architect, there’s no other we would more trust with the role.
Elba is currently appearing as Heimdall in the Thor series over at Marvel, and may end up getting his wish of portraying Luke Cage with the studio at some point. But if Marvel deems Cage a poor fit alongside bigger heroes, and Thor 2 is as open to character deaths as rumored, he could be available to don the green ring.
Beyond just bringing in the under-20 crowd due to Stewart’s role in the animated Justice League, Elba is too good for either Marvel or DC to pass up; in our opinion, we’d rather see him rescue Green Lantern and do Stewart justice.
Why even deny that after all these years, we still think Chris Pine would make a perfect Hal Jordan? We were disappointed when the rumors of him being considered for Green Lantern (2011) proved to be for naught, so perhaps fate is conspiring to right a terrible wrong. In the years since, Pine has proven an even more bankable star anchoring not only Star Trek but the upcoming Jack Ryan (2013) reboot, poised to kickstart the espionage franchise if successful.
The similarities between James Kirk and Hal ‘High-Ball’ Jordan are clear to any comic or movie fan, so there’s no question he could do the character justice. Granted, two franchises is quite a tall order, but if Jack Ryan receives even moderate reviews or box office returns, the door could be wide open.
We still maintain that Pine could also turn in a fitting portrayal of Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash, but if given the chance, we’d still cast him as Hal Jordan in a heartbeat.
That concludes our list of actors who could pull off the role of the galaxy’s most gifted space cop, while also indicating a new direction for the franchise. Whether staying true to the Hal Jordan origin story, bringing in younger audiences and highlighting one of the most well-known minority heroes, or introducing a veritable menace into the League, we think each has its own risks and benefits.
What are your hopes for the next take on Green Lantern? Think Reynolds will return once the studio puts a better director and script in place, or is it best to simply forgive and forget – and move one with a new face?
Leave your thoughts (and casting choices) in the comments.
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