The Green Lantern Corps has been one of the major missing pieces from the DCEU up to this point, leaving many fans wondering who Warner Bros. will cast as each character. While an unnamed, ancient Green Lantern had a cameo in Justice League, neither Hal Jordan nor John Stewart was featured in the actual league lineup. That omission is likely due in part to the complicated backstory of the character, but is also certainly just as much to do with the fact that the character was featured in an ill-fated pre-DCEU movie in 2011.
Green Lantern is going to have to get back on track via its own movie. Concrete details on the film are still somewhat scarce; we know the intention is for the movie to feature at least two human Green Lanterns in Hal Jordan and John Stewart, and possibly more than that. Man of Steel writer David Goyer is working on a script from a story crafted by Geoff Johns himself, and directors like Christopher McQuarrie have been courted to direct. But so far we know next to nothing about casting. We’re running down the best actors for each crucial role in Green Lantern Corps' expansive world.
James Marsden as Hal Jordan
The list of actors reportedly being considered to play Hal Jordan is not short. The test pilot turned intergalactic space cop is arguably the most iconic hero to wield the power ring, and the only logical reason he was excluded from Justice League was the character was still viewed as radioactive - and not in the fun Hulk way - after the disastrous Ryan Reynolds-starring Green Lantern film.
It’s going to take the exact right actor to rehabilitate Hal Jordan for the big screen, and that actor is James Marsden. Marsden’s already done the superhero rounds once before, as the criminally underutilized Cyclops in the X-Men films. But Marsden has proved himself a much more interesting actor since he left Wolverine and friends, showing off his comedic chops in 30 Rock and Anchorman 2; his role as Teddy on Westworld has shown he’s still perfect to play the archetypal hero. The 44-year old Marsden still very much looks the part of a superhero, but also has the seasoning to play the slightly older Hal Jordan reportedly on tap for Green Lantern Corps.
Sterling K. Brown as John Stewart
The breakout of NBC’s hit series This Is Us, Sterling K. Brown is likely set to be an A-list movie star for the foreseeable future. Brown had a small but important role in Black Panther, but his fate in the film would seem to suggest a future as a Marvel superhero isn’t in the cards. Adding him to the DCEU would be one of the smartest possible moves Warner Bros. could make, and no one is more suited to taking on the role of John Stewart.
Stewart has traditionally been the backup Green Lantern to Hal Jordan’s first stringer, but that changed for many people due to his starring role in the 2001 Justice League animated series. Green Lantern Corps will reportedly feature John and Hal on relatively equal footing as partner Green Lanterns, a concept introduced in the Geoff Johns written GL comics of the ‘00s. A big role for John Stewart requires a big talent, and Brown fits that bill – a fact he agrees with.
Eric Johnson as Guy Gardner
Guy Gardner is, historically, the most obnoxious human Green Lantern. The third human to join the Green Lantern Corps, early versions of Guy were largely unremarkable, until a near-death injury caused him brain damage and he awoke as something of a raving lunatic. More recent iterations have retconned him to just being sort of an abrasive jerk who’s always looking for a confrontation, even with his ostensible allies.
Eric Johnson has become one of Hollywood’s most reliable onscreen scumbags. He played the racist, self-involved hack Dr. Everett Gallinger for two seasons on the turn of the century hospital drama The Knick, as well as homicidal stalker Jack Hyde in the Fifty Shades Of Grey films. Johnson also has some experience playing a hero, in the much-maligned 2007 TV reboot of Flash Gordon. It’s easy to imagine Johnson causing unnecessary headaches for the likes of Hal Jordan and John Stewart, even if he’s trying to do the right thing deep down.
Rami Malek as Kyle Rayner
Kyle Rayner began his comic book life as a lightning rod character, replacing a crazed Hal Jordan who murdered most of the remaining Green Lantern Corps and sucked all of the power out of the Central Power Battery, leaving Rayner as the last Green Lantern. Jordan’s actions were retconned to be the work of the fear entity Parallax, and the Corps was eventually restored, with Kyle becoming a highly honored member. His inclusion in Green Lantern Corps would likely require a significant rewrite, with emphasis on Kyle’s thoughtful, artistic personality.
Rami Malek has been dazzling audiences for three years on USA’s cyberpunk series Mr. Robot (and will soon reach a wider audience as Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody). His soulful, wide-eyed performance would be the perfect fit for the most empathetic member of the Green Lantern Corps.
Alison Brie as Carol Ferris
Carol Ferris is far more than a love interest to Hal Jordan. The heir to the Ferris Air is a formidable pilot in her own right. She also eventually becomes Star Sapphire; originally a villain obsessed with Jordan, Star Sapphire eventually became a member of the Star Sapphire Corps, who utilize the violet light of love in the same way Green Lanterns use the green light of will.
It’s probably past time that Alison Brie was playing a superhero. The actress came to prominence on the NBC Community, and is currently starring in the well-received Netflix wrestling series Glow. Her recent roles on the big screen in The Post and The Disaster Artist prove she’s ready to take on bigger cinematic parts. She’d be a perfect fit to play the fiery, determined Carol, and to eventually wield the light of love.
Rose McIver as Arisia
A film of the presumable scale of Green Lantern Corps needs at least a few characters to lighten the mood. An obvious candidate would be Arisia. The Green Lantern from Graxos IV in sector 2815 – Earth’s neighboring sector – Arisia comes from a long line of Green Lanterns, as she’s the fifth member of her family to serve. She’s also young – it varies just how young, but she’s been portrayed as everywhere from 13-years old to in her early 20s – and incredibly enthusiastic about her solemn duty.
Rose McIver would be a perfect fit for the energetic, diminutive Arisia. McIver has been giving a master class in acting range over four seasons on the CW’s iZombie, where she embodies a different personality on a weekly basis. She’d be well suited to bringing the elven, yellow-skinned Green Lantern who never gets tired of being a hero to the big screen.
Riz Ahmed as Simon Baz
Simon Baz is a relative newcomer to the DC universe. Created in 2012, Baz was shaped deeply by his life as a Muslim American in post-9/11 Michigan; Baz and his sister were both persecuted for their ethnicity and religion. Baz became a Green Lantern almost by accident, and while he has great potential, he’s yet to really earn his stripes, and he’s been largely relegated to Earth as a reserve ring-slinger.
Riz Ahmed first caught the attention of audiences in the Jake Gyllenhaal starring film Nightcrawler, before his star-making turn in the HBO miniseries The Night Of, for which he won an Emmy; that series reflected on many of the same anti-Muslim themes that are present in Baz’s backstory. Film audiences also know him as the doomed Empire defector Bodhi Rook in Rogue One; it might be time for Ahmed to take on a longer-lived underdog hero.
Gina Rodriguez as Jessica Cruz
Of all the Earthborn Green Lanterns, Jessica Cruz is likely the one that would need the biggest rewrite to make work within the Green Lantern Corps film. In the comics, Cruz originally wields the power ring of, well, Power Ring, the evil Earth-3 analog of a Green Lantern. Her journey toward becoming a Green Lantern involves the Anti-Monitor, Darkseid’s daughter, and some coaching from Batman. It’s an agreeably convoluted comic book story, but it would need some serious streamlining for a film.
Cruz is currently tied to Simon Baz via a shared power battery, and they’re largely relegated to Earth as reserve Lanterns. Gina Rodriguez has been delighting audiences on Jane The Virgin for four seasons, and her recent turn in Annihilation proved she’s a capable action star as well. Seeing Rodriguez and Ahmed as inexperienced partners on Earth could be an intriguing angle.
Kevin Michael Richardson as Kilowog
Kevin Michael Richardson has actually played Kilowog already. He voiced the lovable Lantern drill sergeant in both the video game Green Lantern: Rise Of The Manhunters, and in the fan favorite Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Richardson has been a titan of voice animation for over twenty years, working on everything from The Powerpuff Girls to American Dad. His DC voice work hasn’t included only Kilowog, but roles in Teen Titans, The Batman, and Young Justice as well.
While unconventional, there is precedent for a noted voice actor jumping from the small screen to films to voice the same character. Peter Cullen began voicing Optimus Prime in the original 1984 Transformers series, and reprised the role for Michael Bay’s movies; longtime Winnie The Pooh Jim Cummings will voice the honey loving stuffed bear in the upcoming Christopher Robin film. No one embodies Kilowog better than Richardson – it’s time for him to make the leap to the big screen.
Thomas Middleditch as Tomar-Re
Tomar-Re is a perfectly capable Green Lantern. He’s a Xudarian, and the Green Lantern of sector 2813. He was actually the Green Lantern who oversaw Krypton, and valiantly attempted to save it from destruction. He’s generally been a strong ally to both Hal Jordan and John Stewart, taking part in crucial battles against the likes of Nekron and Sinestro.
But there’s no getting around the facts – he’s a 7-foot tall fish bird man. Tomar-Re seems an obvious candidate to introduce some levity, and who better to play a physically awkward but benevolent hero than Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch? Middleditch’s nervous energy has been that HBO comedy’s most reliable weapon, and it’s the sort of energy that would be fun to see the other, more confident GL’s play off of.
Doug Jones as Saint Walker
Saint Walker is the most prominent member of the Blue Lantern Corps, who derive their power from the blue light of hope. Their powers are purely defensive, though they can be granted power boosts from Green Lanterns. Saint Walker is a deeply spiritual figure, serving as a priest on his doomed home planet of Astonia, which he managed to save by de-aging its dying sun.
When you need a serene, graceful alien, there’s only one man to turn to – Doug Jones. There is perhaps no creature actor more reliable than Jones, who has given life to Abe Sapien in the Hellboy films, Commander Saru on Star Trek: Discovery, and as the nameless amphibious creature in the Oscar winning The Shape of Water. There’s simply no one else who could credibly fill Saint Walker’s stately blue shoes.
Jon Hamm as Sinestro
Despite his trademark facial hair, Sinestro is no mustache twirler. One of the most complicated villains in all of comics, Sinestro was originally a Green Lantern who ended up abusing his power in attempting to maintain order on his home planet. Stripped of his emerald ring, he found a new one that utilized the yellow light of fear; he eventually forms the Sinestro Corps War and ignites The War of Light. His relationship with Hal Jordan, his former protégé, is the backbone of much of Green Lantern lore.
Jon Hamm has largely shied away from comic book films, and while there may have been rumblings of him replacing Ben Affleck as Batman, Sinestro is the role that best fits the former Don Draper’s considerable talents. Sinestro is often the most interesting character in Green Lantern stories, and he deserves an actor of Hamm’s caliber to bring him to life.
David Tennant as Larfleeze
Larfleeze is the one and only member of the Orange Lantern Corps, and that’s just the way he likes it. He has no interest in sharing the orange light of avarice, for obvious reasons. He does have something of a corps though, as he has the ability to create orange light constructs of the people he kills who then become his acolytes. Larfleeze is lethally dangerous and billions of years old, but he also has the emotional temperament of a child, and is prone to wild mood swings.
If you’re looking for an actor who can embody everything from childlike obsession at the concept of Santa Claus to coldblooded murder, David Tennant fits that bill. He’s shown his ability to elicit joy in his legendary run on Doctor Who, and his darker side as Kilgrave on Jessica Jones (and almost showed it off as Hannibal Lecter).
Michael Gambon as Ganthet
The Guardians of the Universe tend to be an austere lot. The ancient little blue men who grant the Green Lanterns their powers often operate in obtuse, confounding ways, and don’t tend to explain themselves to their own corps. The one exception is generally Ganthet, who tends to be a more thoughtful and empathetic figure than the rest of his ruthless brethren. Ganthet often identifies with the Earth Green Lanterns, and tends to assist them behind the backs of the other Guardians.
It seems a no-brainer that the Guardians should be voiced (and motion captured) by stately old British men, and Michael Gambon has just the right combination of playfulness and authority to portray the rebel Guardian. Gambon’s performance as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films featured just the right balance of kindness and big picture calculation that would fit Ganthet like a very small glove.
Daniel Craig as Atrocitus
Atrocitus is one of the Guardians’ oldest mistakes. The Manhunters – the Guardian-created, universe protecting robots that predate the GL Corps – went rogue and destroyed most of Atrocitus’ space sector, including his wife and children. His anger would fuel him for the rest of his life, as he was determined to make the Guardians pay for their mistake. He would eventually become the first being to wield the red light of rage, and would go on to found the monstrous Red Lantern Corps.
Whatever actor who plays Atrocitus would have to be capable of expressing both blistering outbursts of anger and a constant, low simmering fury largely through voice performance alone. Daniel Craig has proved more than capable of that sort of explosive and subtle anger in his role as James Bond, and would give Atrocitus the sort of gravitas that such an ancient, driven being deserves.
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