Why Green Lantern Belongs in The CW’s Superhero Universe
Over the last few years, The CW hasn’t been shy about doubling down on their DC TV-verse. What began as just a single show featuring a lesser-known vigilante, soon became the bread and butter of DC’s superheroes outside of the comics. Today, The CW airs four separate comic book TV shows, each occupying its own day of the week.
While the DC movie-verse continues to struggle out of the gate, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that television is the best possible medium for their stable of heroes and villains. So why has Green Lantern, an iconic central member of the Justice League, continued to wallow in obscurity? If it were up to us, he’d have a CW series of his own, and it’s not hard to see why.
1. Ok, so yes, the Green Lantern movie sucked. But hear us out.
We’ll be the first to admit the 2011 Green Lantern movie was nothing short of awful. As Rotten Tomatoes’ critical consensus so aptly put it, the film “squanders an impressive budget and decades of comics mythology,” and was “noisy, overproduced, and thinly written.” Financially, it was even more of a disaster, barely clearing its $200 million budget in total gross. By modern standards, its box office numbers are practically unheard of for a superhero movie. Hell, even Suicide Squad managed to make over $700 million worldwide.
But Green Lantern wasn’t a disaster because of its titular hero. It flopped because it was straight up just a bad movie. To say that Green Lantern can’t play an on-screen superhero because of the film is the same as trying to argue that Elektra is proof that women shouldn’t lead comic book films (it isn’t, and they absolutely should).
2. A little background on Green Lantern’s comic book history
Green Lantern’s comic book source material teases at a wealth of compelling material. Many different characters have donned the title of Green Lantern throughout the history of the series, the most well-known of whom is Hal Jordan.
A second-generation test pilot, Hal finds a higher calling when he’s given a powerful green ring by a dying alien who crash-landed on Earth. The ring gives him the ability to conjure any number of objects and weapons, as well as the ability to fly. He soon finds out that by holding the ring, he’s been conscripted into the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force tasked with protecting the universe as we know it. The comics explore everything from the nature of fear to the strength of sheer willpower, and dating all the way back to 1940, it numbers itself among DC’s longest-running series.
3. There’s already an easy entryway into The CW’s TV-verse
Of all the potential matches for The CW’s current roster of heroes, Green Lantern is the one with a lengthy history of teaming up in the comics. In 1970, DC released a series of Green Lantern/Green Arrow comics, that saw the two heroes fight crime “on a cross-country trip through the United States.” The series was critically lauded as equal parts entertaining and socially conscious, forever linking the duo together in the hearts and minds of DC fans.
And what show just so happens to be the flagship of The CW’s superhero TV-verse? The answer: The one whose titular character is most known in the comics for teaming up with Green Lantern in the aforementioned series.
4. Arrow and The Flash have been dropping hints for awhile now
The CW’s superhero shows have been dancing around a potential Green Lantern appearance for over a year. The Season 4 premiere of Arrow shows Oliver Queen and Amanda Waller bumping into a man wearing a flight jacket with the name “Jordan” on the name patch, referencing Hal Jordan, DC’s most recognizable Green Lantern. Later on, we see Coast City’s billboard slogan beginning with “in brightest day, and darkest night … ” which is the opening of the Lantern Corps’ traditional motto. The Flash even references a missing test pilot from a flight facility, pointing once again toward Hal Jordan.
Suffice it to say, the network has done virtually everything short of putting up a big neon sign reading “GREEN LANTERN IS COMING SOON.”
5. It’s going to be awhile before Green Lantern returns to DC’s movie-verse
Warner Bros. has an expansive calendar of DC movies planned over the next five years. Unfortunately, Green Lantern allegedly won’t be appearing at all until the second Justice League movie in 2017. The hero won’t get a standalone film until 2020 at the earliest. That leaves the iconic character out in the cold for a long time.
It seems unlikely that DC would simply let Green Lantern ride the pine for the next four years, especially given the numerous hints from The CW about a potential appearance. What better way to bring him back into the fold than with a standalone TV series? Armed with plenty of intriguing source material and the perfect medium to utilize it, The CW would be better off for it in the end.
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