DC Studios’ DCU slate includes a Lanterns TV show featuring Hal Jordan and John Stewart in a story that is being compared to True Detective – and that works better than the previously announced untitled HBO Max Green Lantern Corps show. With DC Studios now crafting a new interconnected DC Universe involving film, television, and video games, previously announced projects that were stuck in limbo are no longer happening. That includes Greg Berlanti’s Green Lantern Corps show, whose place in the previous DCEU franchise had never been made clear. A show called Lanterns set in the DCU’s Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters is in the works instead.
With The Flash confirmed to reset the previous DCEU, the new DC Universe is set to build a new franchise almost from scratch. Although Viola Davis will reprise her role as Amanda Waller in the new DCU, this upcoming franchise will see new versions of names like Superman, Batman, and the Green Lanterns, as well as the big screen debut of characters like The Authority. With James Gunn guarantying that every DC Studios production will be canon and that all Elseworlds productions will be clearly labeled as such, Superman: Legacy will be a new beginning not only for Superman but for the entire DC Universe, including the Lanterns.
DC Studios’ Lanterns Works Better As A TV Show Than Green Lantern Corps Did
An HBO Max Green Lantern show by the DC Arrowverse creator Greg Berlanti was first announced in 2020, although there weren’t any details of whether the series would tie into the DCU or if it would somehow connect with the Arrowverse. It was later revealed that the HBO Max Green Lantern show, which could have been titled Green Lantern Corps, would focus on several different Green Lanterns across different eras and locations. Original Green Lantern Alan Scott as well as Guy Gardner, Simon Baz, and Jessica Cruz were going to appear on the show. Jeremy Irvine and Finn Wittrock were set to play Alan Scott and Guy Gardner, respectively.
Following writer Seth Grahame-Smith’s departure from HBO Max’s Green Lantern show, THR reported that the series was being redeveloped into a John Stewart story and that Irvine and Wittrock were no longer attached to the project. According to Gunn and Safran during DC Studios’ DC Universe slate reveal, Berlanti’s Green Lantern show was closer to a “space opera,” whereas their vision for a Green Lantern show was a True Detective-like mystery set on Earth. While the Green Lanterns lore does call for a space opera, a Green Lantern TV show would struggle with adapting the scope of such Green Lanterns stories given the budget limitations.
Even Game of Thrones, which was HBO’s flagship title for years, had limitations when it came to visual effects and what the show could deliver in terms of visual spectacle. For example, Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons or Jon Snow’s Ghost couldn’t always be on the screen. Adapting elements like Oa and the Green Lantern Corps, not to mention the cosmic Green Lantern villains, is something challenging even for big-budget movies, as seen in the 2011 Green Lantern film. That is why a Green Lantern mystery story set on Earth works better as a TV show than a cosmic, epic-scale one.
The Green Lantern Corps Should Be Saved For The Big Screen
Though it’s difficult to say whether things like Oa and the Guardians will appear in the DCU’s Lanterns, the Green Lantern Corps as a whole should be saved for the big screen. The TV format works great for a Hal Jordan and John Stewart True Detective-like story, especially if it is just the beginning of the Green Lanterns’ role in the new DC Universe, yet almost two decades without the Green Lanterns on the big screen is too much. Fortunately, according to Gunn and Safran, John and Hal will also be part of the “movie side” of the franchise – with the Lanterns actors reprising their roles in the movies.
Even if Lanterns does not necessarily lead into a Green Lantern Corps movie, the Green Lanterns role is an essential part of DC Comics and will most likely play a huge role in the new DC Universe. As space rangers who have to protect not only Earth but also the entire universe, the Green Lanterns could be one of the pillars of the DCU’s cosmic stories. Enemies like Darkseid or the Anti-Monitor are sometimes Green Lantern villains before facing the Justice League, something that could happen in the new DCU. The Lanterns show could also set up the existence of other human Green Lanterns, such as Jessica and Simon.
Why A Hal Jordan & John Stewart “True Detective” Show Is Perfect
The DCU’s Lanterns show will be the first live-action Green Lantern project since the Ryan Reynolds-led Green Lantern. A critical and commercial failure, Green Lantern (2011) couldn’t launch a new DC franchise and put the character’s live-action future in check for years. Not only hasn’t any Green Lantern received a solo movie since 2011, but the Green Lanterns have also been absent from the DCEU except for a brief scene in Justice League’s “History Lesson” sequence. This is why having a Green Lantern project that is completely different from the Ryan Reynolds-led Green Lantern movie is a perfect way to bring the Lanterns back to live-action.
A True Detective-like Green Lantern TV show can also avoid any sort of superhero fatigue, as cosmic adventures in CG landscapes are nothing new when it comes to superhero movies. A Green Lantern space adventure would risk being just “another” cosmic film, whereas Lanterns sounds like something that has never been done before. In addition, Hal Jordan and John Stewart investigating a mysterious threat on Earth can help audiences create a strong connection with these two key DC heroes before they crossover with other DC characters like Batman and Superman in an eventual DCU Justice League movie. All of those reasons make Lanterns one of the DCU’s most exciting upcoming projects.
How Lanterns Will Tie Into The DCU’s Chapter 1
Gunn and Safran highlighted that Lanterns play a “big role” in the DC Universe they are building and that the show will tie into the overarching story being told in the DCU’s Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters. A solid prediction is that whatever threat John and Hal are investigating on Earth will tie into an even bigger problem that would call for other DC superheroes to act. Perhaps Lanterns could be the first step into a Justice League story, with the Justice League coming together to face whatever threat the Lanterns discovered on Earth. In this scenario, both Hal and John could be Justice League founding members in the reboot.
One possibility is that this threat Hal Jordan and John Stewart will investigate is Nekron, one of DC’s most powerful villains and the primary antagonist of 2009’s Blackest Night comic book event. Given that the new DCU is set to have a strong level of interconnectivity and an overarching story, Blackest Night could be the franchise’s first major event. Curiously, James Gunn revealed that one of the planned movies they did not announce spoils their DCU story. This movie could be a Blackest Night adaptation or perhaps a Justice League film that borrows from that story. In any case, a Lanterns show set in a larger DC Universe is great news.