If you took a quick glance at the online fan conversations surrounding the Justice League movie, it would be easy to describe the fan base as a bit "impatient," as many are already looking beyond Steppenwolf and the Parademons to the next big threat. That's quickly become an accepted reality in the modern world of shared movie universes, as casual fans and devoted comic die hards scour the films for every hint at the bigger story unfolding chapter by chapter. But when it comes to the role to be played by Green Lantern in the DCEU... the confusions is downright messy.
It would be one thing if Warner Bros. and DC Films stated unequivocally that no Lantern would appear until the planned Green Lantern Corps movie coming in 2020. Rumors of a cameo in Justice League would still appear, but there would at least be a larger context in which to place it. Instead, all fans have is rumor and speculation: The Lanterns may show up to aid the League in a "key" sequence, but Hal Jordan won't be included. It could be a sign of the studio shifting to one of Hal's successors from the comics, or even a more alien tease of a coming cosmic threat.
But as tempting as it may seem to imagine Zack Snyder blowing the doors off of audiences with a surprise debut of a new, franchise-leading Lantern... that's easier said than done. For starters, it means planning, conceiving of what the DCEU's Lanterns will even look like, and executing without anyone finding out along the way. So if there is a planned appearance from a Green Lantern set for Justice League, it seems most likely to be a small, standalone, but none the less significant scene. And we have a theory.
What's Been Rumored So Far
The latest twist on the question of just who, how, when, and why a Green Lantern would appear, or simply cameo in Justice League suggested that it may have little to do with Earth's Lanterns at all. In a livestream with DC fans, TheWrap's Umberto Gonzalez (the source for most of the recent Lantern talk) confirmed that a member of the Green Lantern Corps would appear, but he had forgotten the name due to its strange alien nature. Admittedly, about 97% of known Lanterns could fit that bill, so what seems like a major reveal amounted to little more once than what was already known.
Stepping back to look at all we've heard about the ties between Justice League and the Green Lantern Corps - the characters, not necessarily the movie - the rumors, and a quote from Zack Snyder w'eve never been able to forget, one interesting possibility has emerged. An interesting Lantern, actually - one that the Guardians of the Universe succeeded in wiping from the Universe's memory centuries ago. And one that could offer a perfect link between the Justice League's Apokoliptian villain, the next big bad coming to the DCEU, and the larger mythology of the Green Lanterns of Oa.
Raker Qarrigat: The Forgotten Lantern
It was during our visit to the set of the still in-production Justice League movie that the question of Geoff Johns's influence on the DCEU was raised, with all present emphasizing how important a resource he is. The visit followed closely behind word that Johns had been appointed the President of the newly-created DC Films division of Warner Bros., formalizing what many already believed was a supervisory role in terms of story, adherence to DC mythology, and 'getting characters right,' for lack of a better term. Not to mention his encyclopedic knowledge of all things DC.
It was Zack Snyder himself who offered up an anecdotal example of Johns's reliability on even niche DC facts, while steering clear of too specific details:
His knowledge of comics is just crazy. He’s like an encyclopedia of comic books. I’ll be like, “Hey, is there a weird [Green Lantern] from–?” and he’ll be like, “You know…” He’s just amazing about keeping everything in canon that I’ve not even heard of. He goes, “Yeah, it’s back!” Like we’ll look through some archive. You know, there’s DC-pedia, but he’s even crazier than that.
At the time, it made sense that Snyder should use a member of the Green Lantern Corps as an example, considering Johns's particular expertise in the area - on full display in his Green Lantern: Rebirth and his use of the Lantern mythology as the prime mover behind the DCU as a whole beginning in the early 2000s. But we, like so many other comic fans reading that quote, couldn't help but wonder which parts of that question Snyder had left out... and why Green Lantern would be on his mind at all.
But with Batman V Superman focusing on Darkseid's possible domination of Earth, turning it into a reflection of his own planet Apokolips in Bruce Wayne's glimpse of the future, and a commander of Apokolips' forces acting as the villain in Justice League, the answer to that question might be the most obvious: "Is there a weird Green Lantern from Apokolips?" And there is. Just one, in fact: Raker Qarrigat.
The story of Raker Qarrigat is entirely contained within the pages of Green Lantern 80 Page Giant #3, written by Scott Beatty and released in August of 2000. The comic began by following Earth's then-Green Lantern Kyle Rayner as he and Orion, son of Darkseid were caught and transported to Apokolips. With a drained power ring, the two fled from the Parademon watchdogs of the planet into the planet's vast underground. And what they discovered was a long forgotten member of the Green Lantern Corps, sent to the planet almost 1,000 years earlier as a precursor to all-out war between the Green Lanterns and Apokolips - a conflict that had been wiped from history.
The conflict technically began centuries earlier, when a Manhunter - the robotic sentries the Guardians of the Universe first used to map the galaxy's planets and lifeforms - made contact with Apokolips, and was destroyed. Other Lanterns were sent, and similarly disappeared, with Darkseid eager to keep his dominion under total control. Raker Qarrigat was sent, and when Darkseid crushed his power ring (and his hand along with it), the Lantern returned to Oa with a new mission. The first order of business: expand the Corps into the version the DC Universe grew to know.
With 3,600 sectors, Raker sought 3,600 Lanterns to recruit and train. Having completed the task, Raker was chosen to lead that force into combat against Darkseid. Unfortunately, Darkseid's use of yellow weapons and armor hindered the Lanterns' abilities, and he won the day. Well, actually, he put up enough of a fight that the Guardians themselves stepped in to call a truce.
The Guardians of the Universe are somewhat famous for their lack of moral fortitude, or willingness to wade into borderline unethical or tyrannical reasoning - one of the main reasons why they simultaneously detest, and value human beings. So it shouldn't come as a shock for them to take one look at Apokolips, and decide that it is a world they have little interest in ruling over (especially if it means battling more of Darkseid's kind). Agreeing that Darkseid is best to rule over such a terrible place, they agreed to cease hostilities if Darkseid would remain content with his own planet, and not put others in jeopardy.
The ruler of this "Dark World," as it was known to the Guardians, agreed... with one condition. He would be able to keep Raker as a spoil of war. Being who they are, the Guardians agreed, abandoning Raker and agreeing to wipe him, and this conflict, from their universal history. But Raker was not abandoned by his fellow Lanterns, who smuggled him a power ring before departing. For a thousand years Raker survived on the planet, feeding the planet's hungry and protecting their weak.
How Raker Could Factor Into Justice League
We still wouldn't advise fans get their hopes up for a major role, since the presence of Raker, or any Green Lantern created to tie into Apokolips or Darkseid's rule is still just speculation. And considering that the majority of the movie won't feature the big bad of the New Gods, any scene including either is likely to be of a cameo or post-credits nature. That being said, there have been reports of Warner Bros. seeking an actor to play Darkseid in Justice League, - meaning the villain himself could appear in some form. And if he does, then the focus of the film at least partially shifts to a place where Raker, a Green Lantern could appear.
Now, whether that's simply to show him alive on Apokolips, or simply to show Darkseid killing him one and for all is unknowable. But even if that were the case, it would be an opportunity to confirm to fans that the Green Lantern Corps is alive and operational in the DCEU. That even if the Lanterns have yet to appear in the DCEU, their presence is being felt in connection to some of the biggest players in the movie universe so far. And better still, the filmmakers would have all the time in the world to decide what the modern Corps looks like, while delivering a satisfying glimpse of Raker's era to tide fans over.
That's our theory for the mystery Lantern that could explain the many rumors in the most appealing way possible for the studio, should they be looking to tease both Darkseid and the Green Lanterns (and should Zack Snyder's Apokolips-on-the-brain prove telling). But what do you think? Does it seem like a smart, cool move? Or would you prefer that a Lantern of Apokolips be worked into a larger movie role, if anything? Let us know your own theories in the comments.
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020