How the DCEU Can "Reinvent" Green Lantern

Green Lantern is the biggest hero that has yet to make an impression on the DC Extended Universe, and we still have many more questions than answers about the Emerald Ring Slinger's next film iteration. Green Lantern drew the short straw in DC's current shared universe largely because of the last, failed stab at bringing the character to the big screen - the 2011 Ryan Reynolds starring film.

That film struck out with both audiences and critics, lacking much of the basic building blocks of what has made the character so enduring. Warner Bros. long ago announced the character would get a DCEU reboot with Green Lantern Corps, which has been slated for a 2020 release. Yet Green Lantern Corps has cycled through several creative false starts, only recently finding its guiding hand in writer/producer Geoff Johns.

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To say Geoff Johns has some experience with Green Lantern would be a massive understatement; after the comic languished in the late 90's and early 00's, Johns brought it roaring back with Green Lantern: Rebirth and its follow-up ongoing series, arguably bringing the character its greatest accolades and popularity ever. In interviews at San Diego Comic-Con this year, Johns was guarded about what the movie will be about or which characters it will feature, but promised something of a reinvention, as well as strong thematic ties to his run on the comic. So what does that mean for Green Lantern's future in the DCEU? To figure that out, we need to look to the character's recent past.

Green Lantern: Rebirth

Green Lantern Corps Comic

Amid the grim and gritty trends of the 90's comics world, DC Comics decided that Green Lantern had become stale. Radical, controversial changes were made to the book, as an insane Hal Jordan destroyed the Green Lantern Corps and became the villain Parallax. Ganthet, the last of the Guardians of the Universe, abruptly gave the last surviving power ring to a young man named Kyle Rayner with no explanation. That iteration of the character, largely written by Ron Marz, saw early success as it chronicled Kyle's journey from directionless young artist to a bonafide hero, nobly upholding a legacy he had no real attachment to. But by the time Marz left the book in the late 90's, Green Lantern's popularity had waned considerably, and by 2004 the character was essentially an also-ran.

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Enter Geoff Johns. The all-star writer reinvigorated the franchise with Green Lantern: Rebirth, which saw the return of the book's most iconic aspects, like the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro, and, most importantly, a redeemed, heroic Hal Jordan. Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner were all welcomed into the Green Lantern Corps, but the proceeding ongoing series focused on Hal Jordan. And yet this wasn't some cheap nostalgia trick, as Johns massively expanded the character's world, introducing the emotional spectrum, which saw every color of the rainbow get its own equivalent to the GLC. Sinestro Corps War was among DC's biggest and most well-received event books of the 21st century, and Green Lantern was suddenly DC's second most reliable seller, trailing only Batman.

The argument can be made that the success of Johns' book played a significant role in getting the 2011 Green Lantern film made, and Johns even had a co-producer credit on that film, though he wasn't one of its primary creative forces. That film's failure - along with Johns' departure from the comic book - saw Green Lantern's popularity collapse on multiple fronts, and seemingly rendered the character radioactive to the burgeoning DCEU. Five movies into the shared universe, there have been some hints about the character, but he's still a complete no-show. Amid the reshuffling of DC Films' leadership structure, a draft of the Green Lantern Corps script by David Goyer and Justin Rhodes was apparently scrapped in favor of Johns writing a new script from scratch.

Page 2 of 2: How The DCEU's Green Lantern Will Be "Reinvented"

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