[WARNING: This article contains possible SPOILERS for Justice League 1 & 2]
Comic fans may have thought the questions and doubts would stop once Warner Bros. and DC Comics revealed the release date plans for their superhero universe, but the truth is, having an official schedule raised as many questions as it answered. The shift from individual films to event crossovers is a logical structure, but one detail seems slightly out of place. With Justice League rumored to call on a major villain to unite the forces of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and more, and Justice League 2 presumably bringing even more heroes into the fold, why is it that Green Lantern will miss out on both fights?
It seems odd to even entertain the idea, since Green Lantern is almost a requirement for any incarnation of the Justice League, but that's exactly the impression many will get from the promise of a Green Lantern reboot coming in 2020 - likely with a new actor in the role. And the lack of any news surrounding the character supports the notion that he'll remain on the back burner for WB.
Whether or not Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), or The Flash (Ezra Miller) appear in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, their presence in Justice League (2017) is confirmed by the title alone. But a closer look at the release schedule may reveal an unorthodox strategy.
DC Movie Release Schedule
- Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice - March 25th, 2016
- Suicide Squad – August 5th, 2016
- Wonder Woman - June 23rd, 2017
- Justice League - November 17th, 2017
- The Flash - March 23rd, 2018
- Aquaman - July 27th, 2018
- Shazam - April 5th, 2019
- Justice League 2 - June 14th, 2019
- Cyborg - April 3rd, 2020
- Green Lantern - June 19th, 2020
Although audiences have been shown that Marvel's approach to event films - introduce solo heroes to familiarize audiences with them, before uniting forces - can be successful, there's no real evidence that it's the only way to be successful (not until someone tries a different method, anyway). But as we've pointed out in the past, Marvel was at a disadvantage; Iron Man and Thor weren't headlining stars for the masses, and characters like Hawkeye and Black Widow were virtual unknowns for non-comic fans.
That's an issue that DC and Warner Bros. don't have, with heroes like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman representing a globally recognized superhero mythology - and they're looking to put that fame to use. With Man of Steel clearly showing Zack Snyder has a direction for DC's film universe (distinct from any other studio), WB is taking a profoundly 'comic book' approach. In short: bring the audiences in with Batman and Superman, and get them walking out talking all about Wonder Woman.
Consider it: if a new, lesser-known character that packs serious (if not necessarily obvious potential) is going to be launched, the odds of finding a place in a crowded world of publishers are against it from the start. The answer? Launch that character in a successful book, allowing established and well-known writers and artists to show audiences why they should care, instead of simply hoping they will eventually.
That thinking is already at work, with Zack Snyder entrusted with launching Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, in hopes that showing her as an equal to Superman (Henry Cavill) and Batman (Ben Affleck) makes a solo movie a logical step, not an uphill battle. That method extends to the first Justice League team-up, adding Jason Momoa's Aquaman and Ezra Miller's Flash to the ensemble cast (again, with Snyder making sure they match the tone of their fellow heroes) before they, too, are given the full spotlight in solo movies.
So, as much as it may disappoint Green Lantern fans, the trend seems to suggest that it will be Justice League 2 that fully introduces DC's new movie GL; before he earns a full-blown solo movie in 2020. Besides giving some more breathing room between the new hero and the failed Ryan Reynolds version (while giving other heroes a similar shot first), holding off on introducing Hal Jordan (or John Stewart, or Kyle Rayner) until the League is essentially formed also lets WB's writers tailor him to fit the needs of the franchise (a missing sense of confident humor, for instance), hopefully aiding in a successful relaunch.