Debate has suffused the DC fandom as to whether Hal or John should be the DCEU’s go to Green Lantern, but the answer is much more simple than that: they both will be!
The DC Extended Universe is just now gearing up to really make a mark next year with Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, but already fans are looking forward five years to the release of Green Lantern Corps. Particularly after the train wreck that was 2009’s Green Lantern. With the announcement that Green Lantern Corps would star two prominent (and fan favorite) Green Lanterns, it seems like Warner Bros is doubling down to make sure fans who felt burned by that movie will still show up come 2020.
Who are Hal and John?
In the comics, Hal Jordan was the first Earthling to join the Lantern Corps. As a character, Hal Jordan is depicted as self-involved and an independent sort of hero. As a part of the Corps, he is often shown going against orders and breaking protocols in order to save the universe.
Hal, being the first (corps related) Green Lantern, has been the go-to favorite for many generations or comic fans. Plus, the recent Green Lantern: The Animated Series has brought Hal back to a younger audience as well. It’s hard to fault Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment for wanting to keep such a popular version of the hero in the DCEU.
Pretty much the opposite of everything that is Hal, John Stewart is a former Marine. Unlike the self-involved Hal Jordan, Stewart is regularly a team player (literally) in the Lantern Corps. John has had several team ups in the comics (some with Jordan) and currently headlines a comic title as a team leader. Compared to his future film partner, John Stewart takes his role as a Corps member very seriously.
While Hal Jordan has been ever present in the DC canon, John Stewart has a substantial fan base, particularly since the early 2000s. As the Green Lantern in the animated Justice League series, John Stewart has remained the millennial generation’s go to favorite. Having Hal and John team up together in Green Lantern Corps will work to appease almost every Green Lantern fan out there (sorry Kyle Rainer fans).
It’s also worth mentioning that John Stewart was DC Comics’ first black superhero. Much of the fan petition to have John Stewart as the DCEU Green Lantern has been in the hope that DC will include heroes of color. With the positive response to Jason Mamoa taking the Aquaman role and a standalone Cyborg film, it would have been a huge mistake not to include John in the Green Lantern film.
This is a universal story
The Green Lantern Corps is the defender of the entire universe, and each lantern is assigned a sector to protect. This means that the heroes of the Corps have a broader reach than even the Justice League. While the League might be stopping an intergalactic despot from taking over Earth, the Lantern Corps might be keeping another being from destroying the fabric of the universe itself. Green Lantern Corps could have a scope that no other DCEU film can, so it only makes sense that there would be room for two lead heroes.
It’s also possible that Hal and John will come across the rest of the lantern color spectrum in the DCEU. While the central Green Lantern represents the power of will, other “corps” have harnessed different colors to wield the power of Hope (Blue), Fear (Yellow), Rage (Red), Love (Violet), Greed (Orange), and Compassion (Indigo). While the entire spectrum of lantern light might be too great an endeavor for one film, we already know Carol “Carrie” Ferris (featured in Man of Steel) will appear in several more films in the DCEU. For those that don’t know, Carol Ferris is Earth’s foremost Violet Lantern. The Violet Lanterns have a complicated relationship with the Green and could be either friend or foe for the heroes of the Green Lantern Corps film.
While it’s likely a pipe dream to even mention it, one of the largest events in Green Lantern comics was Blackest Night, when a Black Lantern (the absence of light) spread death upon the entire DC superhero lineup. I admit this sounds a little overblown for just the Green Lantern Corps film, but it’s worth mentioning that the current DC auteur Zack Snyder would be a perfect director to bring zombie versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (etc.) to life on the big screen.
Teamwork is the key
No matter what the film turns out to be one thing is certain: it must focus on the teamwork between the two lead heroes. Hal Jordan is a cowboy stereotype: goes it alone, quick on the ring-based trigger, and averse to following orders from superiors. John Stewart is a military stereotype: a true team player, always following orders, and ever concerned with the well being of his brothers and sisters in arms. The film can then focus on the differences the two heroes have and how they must over come them (and learn from each other) in order to save existence.
What I’m hinting at here is one thing: Lethal Weapon in space. Between the two heroes’ signature dispositions there is the opportunity to craft the perfect buddy cop movie within the DCEU. Hal Jordan is cast as the loose canon, hot shot and John Stewart is the ever-serious soldier. Not only will their dynamic allow for an action packed space adventure, we can also expect a great deal of humor infused in the film. Seems like DC has a pretty good answer to Guardians of the Galaxy. Now if it’d just hurry up and get here.