Comics on Film: What We Know about 'Green Lantern Corps' and Tom Cruise

Comics on Film: What We Know about 'Green Lantern Corps' and Tom Cruise

Aug 17, 2018

Green Lantern

The cinematic odyssey surrounding the characters of DC’s Green Lantern IP has fallen quite silent over the past seven years. Initially looking like the next big DC-based franchise as The Dark Knight Trilogy was preparing to wind down, the 2011 release of the first major Green Lantern film is known far more today for what it missed: as a comic book film, as an opportunity, and as a new tentpole franchise.

Much of the conversation concerning DC’s corps of space cops over the last several years has been in speculation concerning exactly which form that corner of the DC Universe will take. While there were initial rumblings that WB would push forward with a sequel from the 2011 film’s original cast and creative team, those plans quickly fell by the wayside. Things were pushed further away from that possibility in 2013 and 2016, respectively.

First, two years after Green Lantern’s theatrical bow, Man of Steel hit theaters and set off a wave of speculation about whether or not it would be the beginning of a shared universe based on the characters of DC. In 2016, not only were those suspicions given form with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but Ryan Reynolds also moved on from one stalled superhero franchise to an explosive alternative in the form of the first Deadpool film.

So, where does the Green Lantern Corps now stand in the larger scheme of things? Let’s take a look.

 

From Flop to Future

Justice Legue: The New Frontier

After WB made clear that future DC Comics movies would be shared in the same world – and well after we knew we’d be getting a Justice League film – fans were understandably curious about how the Green Lantern would fit into the framework of DC’s premiere superhero team. After all, when the Justice League of America made their initial comic book debut in the pages of The Brave and the Bold #28 in 1960, Hal Jordan was one of the team’s founding members.

In July 2017, WB officially announced that a movie entitled Green Lantern Corps was in development for a release in the summer of 2020. With a reported focus on both Hal Jordan and popular Lantern John Stewart (who captured the love of global fans as the primary Green Lantern in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series), it looked as though WB was ready to take another chance on the ringslingers chosen by the Guardians of the Universe.

Justice League

Curiously, 2017’s Justice League film decided to omit the presence of a Green Lantern on the roster of the team, but that film also made the most visible strides in establishing the existence of the Green Lantern Corps in the shared world during a flashback to an ancient battle with Steppenwolf. In that battle, fighting alongside men, Atlanteans, and Amazons, was a single member of the Green Lantern Corps. Slain in the middle of the fight, the ring on the Lantern’s finger then zipped off into the sky to find its next bearer.

Because of that, it seems pretty safe to say that the arrival of a Green Lantern in the "Worlds of DC" is inevitable, and this past summer, it seemed like production surrounding Green Lantern Corps started to heat up a little bit when it was announced that Geoff Johns – one of DC’s best comic book writers, and an executive at the company for a number of years – would be leaving his corporate position for a writing and producing deal that includes Green Lantern Corps.

Johns, who wrote the primary Green Lantern comic book title from 2005-2013, including a number of spin-offs and major events set in that section of the DC Comics Universe, will be writing the film’s screenplay. Still, for a film that reportedly includes both Hal Jordan and John Stewart, every fan will immediately begin to wonder: who will be playing these iconic characters? Well, a very interesting rumor has surfaced that points toward an actor who’s already spent time in fighter jets as the next performer to play test pilot-turned-superhero Hal Jordan.

 

Is ‘Maverick’ the New Hal ‘Highball’ Jordan?

Top Gun

Hal Jordan is the product of DC Comics’ attempt to re-characterize itself in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. While there had been a Flash and Green Lantern in the 40’s and 50’s, their sales had dropped off, so editor Julius Schwartz decided that it was time for fresh takes on the concepts of both heroes, but with new characters being featured. That’s when fresh-faced, Mercury-hatted Jay Garrick was replaced by police scientist Barry Allen as the Flash. That’s also when red costumed, blonde-haired Alan Scott, with his magic ring, was replaced by a brash and cocky test pilot named Hal Jordan, whose ring was instead a product of advanced science from an intergalactic police force.

Jordan’s characterization in the comics has persisted in the intervening decades as partially reckless, but always determined and morally strong. His attitude tends to get him into trouble with his superiors, but he’s also not likely to shy away from anything because of an appearance of difficulty: his modus operandi is the absolute conquest of fear, and in its place is an indomitable will that easily characterizes Jordan as "the greatest Green Lantern."

That’s what makes this potential casting rumor all the more interesting. According to Heroic Hollywood (via Crazy Days and Nights), none other than Tom Cruise is up for the role of Hal Jordan, a role he’s currently reticent to take because the screenplay he’s seen allegedly includes Jordan’s death. These rumors indicate that in order for Cruise to close the deal, Jordan will have to live.

The casting would definitely turn a lot of heads. Coming off of the highly-acclaimed Mission: Impossible – Fallout (coincidentally co-starring current Superman actor Henry Cavill), Cruise’s action credibility is once again very high, and the chance to play a comic book superhero in a major motion picture – and the fact that his name is being considered for it in the first place – is undoubtedly a testament to the 56-year old actor’s capabilities.

If Green Lantern Corps keeps its 2020 slot, it’ll be very interesting to see whether or not Cruise joins the mix, because he’d likely have to suit up sooner rather than later. Still, what do you think about the possibility of Tom Cruise as Hal Jordan? Do you find it exciting? Would you prefer to see someone else? Sound off below, and we’ll see you with a new Comics on Film next week!


Chris Clow is a comics expert/former retailer, and pop culture critic/commentator. He hosts two podcasts: Discovery Debrief: A Star Trek Podcast and Comics on Consoles. Find his column "Comics on Film" weekly at Movies.com, and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.

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