Where is the DCEU's Green Lantern During Justice League?

The Justice League came together at San Diego Comic Con to present a new trailer to the dedicated fans of Hall H. The trailer revealed stunning new footage of the long-anticipated superhero team up of Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and the returning Superman (Henry Cavill), which is directed by Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon, who is overseeing reshoots and post production. We also were treated to the full reveal of the main villain of the movie, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), who will lead the Parademon forces of the planet Apokolips in their invasion of Earth in the name of their dark god Darkseid.

Steppenwolf's dialogue in the trailer offers some illuminating teases about the state of the DC Extended Universe, specifically in regards to one particular superhero absent from Justice League: Green Lantern. Hal Jordan is traditionally portrayed as a founding member of the Justice League in the comics, so it's notable that the Emerald Gladiator isn't one of the half dozen heroes who form the League in the DCEU. However, he does get name-dropped: in the new Justice League trailer, Steppenwolf is heard to boast:

"No protectors here. No Lanterns. No Kryptonian. This world will fall, like all the others."

Of course, the Kryptonian Steppenwolf refers to is Superman, who died saving the world from Doomsday at the conclusion of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, though his resurrection in Justice League is perhaps the worst-kept 'secret' in superhero movies today. The truly intriguing part of Steppenwolf's monologue, however, is "No Lanterns." This marks the first formal in-movie confirmation that Green Lantern does exist in the DCEU. However, it opens up all new avenues for questions: Where is Green Lantern, and why isn't there a Green Lantern protecting the Earth?

It's sound corporate synchronicity by DC Films and Warner Bros. that along with the Justice League trailer outright referencing Green Lantern for the first time, Green Lantern Corps was formally announced as one of eight upcoming DCEU films slated for release over the next few years. Green Lantern Corps is rumored to be a "Lethal Weapon-style" buddy cop movie in space centering on Hal Jordan and John Stewart as the Green Lanterns of space sector 2814, which is where Earth is located. There's no confirmation yet on the director or who will be cast as Jordan or Stewart. We also don't know when the film will be set within the continuity of the DCEU. Will it take place before the events of Man of Steel as a DCEU prequel like Wonder Woman was, or will it take place after Justice League?

Man of Steel established several facts about Earth in the DCEU: Kryptonians landed on our world centuries ago, as part of their space faring exploratory efforts. Indeed, once the armies of General Zod (Michael Shannon) were freed from the Phantom Zone, they went about a mission to terraform the Earth to suit a Kryptonian takeover, which was foiled by Superman. Now that we know Green Lanterns exist in the DCEU, their absence in defending the Earth from Zod's Kryptonians - especially since Hal Jordan and John Stewart both hail from Earth - is all the more glaring. What's more, just as the evil denizens of Apokolips were somehow aware that Superman died fighting Doomsday, leaving the planet defenseless as far as they were concerned, they also know Green Lanterns are in absentia. (It's also curious that the Apokoliptians only deem Kryptonians and Green Lanterns as threats to their invasion; they are either somehow unaware or unconcerned of the presence of Wonder Woman, a demi-god who has been active in the DCEU for nearly a century.)

All of this begs the questions of where the Green Lanterns are, what happened to them, and why isn't there a Green Lantern protecting Earth? We can posit some scenarios.

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Key Release Dates
  • Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
  • Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020
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