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Green Lantern Corps Should Tackle Hal Jordan's Most Controversial Story

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Emerald Twilight, one of the most controversial comic book stories of all time, would offer a solid base for the Green Lantern Corps movie to build upon. This may seem counter-intuitive, given that the story of Emerald Twilight centered around the destruction of the Green Lantern Corps, but the story would also offer a clean slate that is sorely needed after the failure of the last Green Lantern movie. Indeed, an Emerald Twilight movie could potentially serve as the basis for restarting the entire DC Extended Universe.

Early reports indicated that the initial script drafts for the upcoming Green Lantern Corps movie included the death of veteran Green Lantern Hal Jordan - the first Earthling to join the Green Lantern Corps. This idea was apparently a deal-breaker for actor Tom Cruise, who was up for the leading role. An adaptation of Emerald Twilight could address Cruise's complaints about the original story idea, if Warner Bros. is still committed to having Cruise bring Hal Jordan to life. Even if they are not, or Cruise is still not interested, it would present a story unlike anything seen in any superhero movie before - spinning a tale of a hero's corruption and downfall, while leaving the door open for their eventual redemption.

Related: How the DCEU Can "Reinvent" Green Lantern

Using Emerald Twilight as the start of a new Green Lantern franchise would also allow screenwriter Geoff Johns to hasten the circumstances that helped him to establish his own stories in the original comic books. Johns previously developed an entirely new mythology for the Green Lantern Corps during his legendary decade-long run on the Green Lantern monthly comic and it would be easy enough for him to repeat the feat and reestablish The Corps in a new form for the movies. If nothing else, the core idea of Emerald Twilight would offer a fantastic avenue for introducing the concepts that Johns eventually built upon. It would also allow Johns a chance to more naturally introduce his original characters, such as Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, to a wider audience.

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Emerald Twilight Made Hal Jordan A Genocidal Villain

Emerald Twilight originally spun out of the events of The Death of Superman and The Return of Superman, which saw the town of Coast City, California completely destroyed by the villain Mongul. Emerald Twilight opened with Hal Jordan struggling to cope with the destruction of his hometown and the death of most of his family. After trying to use his powers to resurrect the city and all the people who lived there (albeit as constructs of solid green light), Jordan was taken to task by The Guardians of The Universe - the ancient alien race who organized The Green Lantern Corps and created the willpower fueled rings and batteries that provided them with phenomenal cosmic powers. Claiming that Jordan's actions were a violation of cosmic law, The Guardians demanded that Jordan relinquish his ring and his position within The Green Lantern Corps.

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Refusing to surrender and rebelling against The Guardians, Jordan assaulted the Guardian home world of Oa with the intention of taking the power he needed to permanently restore Coast City and the people who had needlessly lost their lives during Mongul's attack. Jordan faced many of his fellow Lanterns en route to Oa, defeating them easily and taking their rings. In a moment of desperation, The Guardians resurrected Sinestro - a former member of the Green Lantern Corps and one-time teacher of Hal Jordan, who had become corrupted by his own power and also rebelled against The Guardians. Jordan was barely slowed down, as he snapped Sinestro's neck with his bare hands, vaporized fellow Green Lantern Kilowog with his ring, and entered into the Central Power Battery that fueled all of the Green Lantern rings in the universe.

Absorbing the power of all but one of The Guardians from within the Central Power Battery before blowing it up (an action later revealed to have killed many Green Lanterns), Jordan dubbed himself Parallax and embarked upon a crusade to save every innocent who had ever died unjustly in the history of the universe. This led into the Zero Hour event, where Hal Jordan fought his former friends as they attempted to stop him from hitting the cosmic reset button on the DC Comics Universe and establishing an infinite series of worlds where everyone could have a happy ending. Naturally, Hal Jordan was unsuccessful but he did survive the battle and went on to become a reoccurring enemy to Kyle Rayner - an artist from Earth, who had been chosen by the Last Guardian, Ganthet, to be the wielder of the only still-functioning Green Lantern ring in the universe.

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Related: The Weird History Behind Green Lantern's Ring

Parallax would later achieve a measure of redemption through another pair of comic book crossover mini-series. The events of The Final Night saw Hal Jordan making peace with his most of his friends and loved ones, before sacrificing himself to destroy an alien monster called The Sun Eater and reignite Earth's near-dead sun. Later, during the storyline Day of Judgement, Hal Jordan's spirit became the new host of The Spectre - a literal angel of vengeance, who bonded itself to the ghosts of men who sought to see justice done. As strong-willed as ever, Jordan attempted to subvert the will of The Spectre, and aim its mission towards redeeming the wicked rather than destroying them outright, as it had done in the past.

Geoff Johns' Green Lantern: Rebirth Saved The Series

All of this was unsurprisingly confusing to potential new readers, since Hal Jordan was still portrayed as Green Lantern on most DC Comics merchandise through the late 1990s and up until the 2001 Justice League animated series introduced John Stewart as the Green Lantern assigned to protect Earth. A second Green Lantern ring was introduced into the reality of the comics so that John Stewart could be a Green Lantern there as well, but this did little to appease those fans who were angered by Emerald Twilight. Many fans took exception to the idea that a straight-arrow, ex-military man like Hal Jordan could ever be pushed into betraying his fellow Corps members and killing them off of his own free will. This, coupled with an increasingly lackluster series of stories, caused sales on the monthly Green Lantern comic to drop steadily.

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Enter Geoff Johns, who proposed a radical reinvention of the core Green Lantern concept in 2004. Johns' story, Green Lantern: Rebirth, revealed that The Guardians had built the Central Power Battery on Oa to act as both a conduit for the collective willpower of all life in the universe and a prison for a parasitic being made of pure fear... a being known as Parallax! When it was discovered that Parallax could infect the minds of Green Lanterns and control them from a distance through the Central Power Battery, The Guardians attempted to combat this by recruiting only the most fearless and noble of souls as Green Lanterns. While this worked for a time, Parallax was eventually able to find a way to slowly work himself into the mind of a Green Lantern without them realizing it, taking control of them in a moment of great emotional stress.

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Green Lantern: Rebirth was brilliant for a number of reasons. It explained Hal Jordan's past actions without excusing them completely, as Hal blamed himself for not being strong enough to resist Parallax' manipulations. It explained both the Green Lanterns' previous inability to use their rings on anything that was yellow and why The Guardians of the Universe recruited only the most fearless of sentient beings to join The Green Lantern Corps. It also established the conceit of the Green Lanterns drawing off the balancing agent of an emotional electromagnetic spectrum, which Johns would later use in his run on the monthly Green Lantern comic to establish Sinestro's trademark yellow-energy ring as being powered by Fear instead of Willpower, along with a host of other Lantern Corps empowered by other emotions like Hope or Rage.

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Page 2 of 3: Why Green Lantern Corps Should Adapt Emerald Twilight

Key Release Dates
  • Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
  • Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
  • Wonder Woman 2 (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019
  • Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
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