Feb 4, 2019
Green Lantern (2011), a recap (part 1)
NOTE: This article is a work in progress.
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The list of cancelled and aborted live-action movie adaptations of DC superheroes is a lengthy one, and the attempts at bringing Green Lantern to the big screen surely make up a big chunk of that list. Warner Brothers/DC considered making a Green Lantern movie as early as the mid-1990s, according to Kevin Smith, who immediately passed on the project due to not being a big enough fan of the character. Also, I’m guessing his spirit was broken after his script for Superman Lives was tossed aside after all the time he spent acceding to Jon Peters’ wacky demands.
Rumors of a Green Lantern movie surfaced again in the early 2000s, this time as a comedic take on the character starring Jack Black and scripted by former Conan O’Brien and Saturday Night Live writer Robert Smigel. This version would have featured Black as a lazy, overweight slob who’s accidentally picked to be the new Green Lantern. It would have involved Black “capturing bad guys with green, giant prophylactics”. The ending would have featured him conjuring up a green Superman to save the day with a time-reversing bit just like the one at the end of Superman: The Movie, officially making him the “laziest Green Lantern in history”. Thankfully, the project never went forward, partially due to online fan backlash, but mostly due to how hard Catwoman bombed, souring Warners on the idea of comedic superhero films—even though I’m pretty sure Catwoman wasn’t intended to be funny.
The next time Green Lantern almost made it to live-action was in George Miller’s aborted Justice League movie from 2007, Justice League: Mortal, which was reportedly just days away from shooting in Australia where the entire cast was assembled and ready to go, including rapper Common playing the John Stewart version of Green Lantern. But then Warners got nervous about moving forward on such a massive project, in no small part because they were fearful of an alt-continuity Batman diluting the appeal of the Christopher Nolan films. Of course, nowadays the studio’s got like three or four different actors playing the Joker in multiple movies and TV shows, but I guess 12 years ago this was a thing to be worried about.
Not long after the plug was pulled on Justice League: Mortal, Marvel started to gain serious momentum with its cinematic universe. DC knew they had to get in the game, and for the first time (but certainly not the last), the studio planned a huge film to kick off their own multi-movie superhero franchise in a big way. And that movie would be Green Lantern.