[WARNING: This article contains possible SPOILERS for Justice League 1 & 2]
Comic fans may have thought the questions and doubts would stop once Warner Bros. and DC Comics revealed the release date plans for their superhero universe, but the truth is, having an official schedule raised as many questions as it answered. The shift from individual films to event crossovers is a logical structure, but one detail seems slightly out of place. With Justice League rumored to call on a major villain to unite the forces of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and more, and Justice League 2 presumably bringing even more heroes into the fold, why is it that Green Lantern will miss out on both fights?
It seems odd to even entertain the idea, since Green Lantern is almost a requirement for any incarnation of the Justice League, but that’s exactly the impression many will get from the promise of a Green Lantern reboot coming in 2020 – likely with a new actor in the role. And the lack of any news surrounding the character supports the notion that he’ll remain on the back burner for WB.
Whether or not Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), or The Flash (Ezra Miller) appear in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, their presence in Justice League (2017) is confirmed by the title alone. But a closer look at the release schedule may reveal an unorthodox strategy.
DC Movie Release Schedule
- Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – March 25th, 2016
- Suicide Squad – August 5th, 2016
- Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017
- Justice League – November 17th, 2017
- The Flash – March 23rd, 2018
- Aquaman – July 27th, 2018
- Shazam – April 5th, 2019
- Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019
- Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020
- Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020
Although audiences have been shown that Marvel’s approach to event films – introduce solo heroes to familiarize audiences with them, before uniting forces – can be successful, there’s no real evidence that it’s the only way to be successful (not until someone tries a different method, anyway). But as we’ve pointed out in the past, Marvel was at a disadvantage; Iron Man and Thor weren’t headlining stars for the masses, and characters like Hawkeye and Black Widow were virtual unknowns for non-comic fans.
That’s an issue that DC and Warner Bros. don’t have, with heroes like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman representing a globally recognized superhero mythology – and they’re looking to put that fame to use. With Man of Steel clearly showing Zack Snyder has a direction for DC’s film universe (distinct from any other studio), WB is taking a profoundly ‘comic book’ approach. In short: bring the audiences in with Batman and Superman, and get them walking out talking all about Wonder Woman.
Consider it: if a new, lesser-known character that packs serious (if not necessarily obvious potential) is going to be launched, the odds of finding a place in a crowded world of publishers are against it from the start. The answer? Launch that character in a successful book, allowing established and well-known writers and artists to show audiences why they should care, instead of simply hoping they will eventually.
That thinking is already at work, with Zack Snyder entrusted with launching Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, in hopes that showing her as an equal to Superman (Henry Cavill) and Batman (Ben Affleck) makes a solo movie a logical step, not an uphill battle. That method extends to the first Justice League team-up, adding Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ezra Miller’s Flash to the ensemble cast (again, with Snyder making sure they match the tone of their fellow heroes) before they, too, are given the full spotlight in solo movies.
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So, as much as it may disappoint Green Lantern fans, the trend seems to suggest that it will be Justice League 2 that fully introduces DC’s new movie GL; before he earns a full-blown solo movie in 2020. Besides giving some more breathing room between the new hero and the failed Ryan Reynolds version (while giving other heroes a similar shot first), holding off on introducing Hal Jordan (or John Stewart, or Kyle Rayner) until the League is essentially formed also lets WB’s writers tailor him to fit the needs of the franchise (a missing sense of confident humor, for instance), hopefully aiding in a successful relaunch.
It’s also worth pointing out that if Vic Stone (a.k.a. Cyborg), Arthur Curry (Aquaman), or even The Flash are teased before their big screen team-up, a similar tease may be offered for Hal Jordan. If DC and WB’s movie universe gains momentum by the time Justice League rolls around, the boost in confidence might be enough to close the film with his arrival, or at least seeking out the rest of the team. And if the DC movie universe is standing on its own two feet by then, even Ryan Reynolds reprising the role wouldn’t be enough to kill the renewed enthusiasm (still… don’t count on it).
So if the most likely entry point for Green Lantern’s return to the main stage is in Justice League 2, would it make sense to have him bring the next big bad along with him? The rumors surrounding the first Justice League villain flow directly from rumors about who the antagonist will be in Batman V Superman. However, rumors that it will be Darkseid facing off against the League – one of the biggest, baddest, and most tenacious villains in DC Comics history – refuse to die. And his roots in the cosmos offer as good a chance as any for GL to show that some cosmic threats are beyond even Superman’s understanding of the universe.
With DC’s trinity – Bats, Supes, and Diana – presumably established as the reigning heavyweights of Earth’s heroes come Justice League‘s conclusion, there would be no better time to deliver a rude awakening. A solo Flash movie could reveal alternate dimensions like that of ‘The Speed Force’; Aquaman would show an entire civilization (Atlantis) can exist without any hero knowing it; and Shazam opening the door to the supernatural and mystic.
If all that failed to make the super-team seem a bit smaller than their victory implied, then perhaps a space cop operating as one of thousands of officers, monitoring millions of worlds ought to do the trick. Whether the goal of Snyder and WB is to build their heroes up to tear them back down a peg or two (it’s good drama, we have to admit) or simply open up the DC movie universe to more than just Earth (and Krypton), a villain like Darkseid is the type of character to do the legwork.
Hitching the wagon of a new Green Lantern’s introduction to that large an event could make the extra wait for Hal Jordan worthwhile; perhaps the fight could even require more Lanterns be conscripted, setting the stage for a follow-up Green Lanterns movie that (obviously from the title) hinges more clearly on the larger Corps. With Apokolips and the New Gods established, any number of threats fit only for Lanterns – or the League – could arise quite easily.
The theory is simply speculation on our part, but there seems to be plenty of evidence supporting it. If true, then DC fans won’t have to wait until 2020 to see a ‘rebooted’ Green Lantern in action. Although his arrival a few years earlier may bring the League’s greatest enemy to date along with him, so… something of a mixed blessing.
What do you make of our arguments for using a new Green Lantern to take the DC movie universe into the cosmos? Should WB hold off on reminding audiences of their previous flop by keeping Hal Jordan out of the mix altogether? Share your thoughts, and theories, in the comments.
Justice League releases November 17th, 2017. Justice League 2 is scheduled to release June 14th, 2019, with Green Lantern will follow on June 19, 2020.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for Green Lantern updates, as well as TV movie and gaming news.