The DCEU is slowly moving away from its infancy stage. In 2017 Warner Bros. will drop two highly anticipated #DCEU films, starting with Wonder Woman on June 2nd, while Justice League — which isn't set to be released until November 17th — has the Internet abuzz as of late. Specifically, the rumors surrounding an alleged Green Lantern appearance have really caught people’s attention.
- Rumor: A Member Of The Green Lantern Corps Will Be Appearing In 'Justice League' After All
- Everyone Missed Hal Jordan in 'Batman V Superman' — Did You?
- Did A DC Exec's Twitter Account Just Prove Armie Hammer Got Cast In The DCEU?
Fans have been asking two questions: Which #GreenLantern will JL feature (Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Hal Jordan or Kyle Rayner) and which actor will play the role?
Quite naturally, once the word of GL being part of the Justice League hit the Internet, rumors of who would play him soon followed. Armie Hammer has been rumored to be joining the DCEU for awhile. The Lone Ranger star is no stranger to Warner Bros., especially after starring alongside Henry Cavill in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Hammer’s Twitter exchanges between he and Deathstroke actor Joe Manganiello added fuel to the rumor fires, and Hammer’s willingness to troll fans just makes them want him more:
DC comic artist Brett Booth spoke for thousands on his Twitter account when he tweeted out this nugget: "Armie Hammer is my pick for GL, said that years ago."
The other rumored actor was Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan, who "denied involvement," according to Newsweek ("before appearing to confuse the ring-bearing hero with the Green Hornet played by Seth Rogen").
Both Armie Hammer and Jamie Dornan would be fantastic additions to the DCEU in any role. With all the rumors, Green Lantern appears to be Hal Jordan. While I am as much a fan of Hal Jordan as the next person, the Lantern focus for the DCEU should be on John Stewart instead. This cinematic universe would be better off featuring a fresh take on the hero, like John Stewart, and here’s why.
Hal Jordan Had His Chance And He Failed
To say some fans and critics weren’t happy with #DC’s 2011 attempt at a Green Lantern film is an understatement. Not only were fans and critics united in their contempt, for once, but it was a box-office catastrophe.
Still, fans got to see Hal Jordan on the big screen. There's no need to put another actor into the role, especially with (arguably) the most popular Lantern sitting on the bench ready to start.
Hal Jordan may have been the first earthling Green Lantern to wear a power ring, and Guy Gardner followed, but it's John Stewart who made history and became the face many fans associated with Green Lantern.
John Stewart’s Green Lantern Was Racially Significant
John Stewart was not only one of DC’s first black heroes (the first being Black Lightning), but also one of the first black heroes in comics. John Stewart was created in 1971 thanks to writer Dennis "Denny" O'Neil and artist Neal Adams. Together they created the first black superhero to not have “black” in his hero name.
John Stewart was not just a galactic guardian of prophecy, but he also battled against racial injustices during his early days. John Stewart would go down as one of DC’s most recognizable heroes and Comic Alliances #3 Greatest Black Comic Book Characters of All Time.
Who is John Stewart?
John Stewart grew up with an alcoholic and physically abusive father, who caused some heavy psychological damage to John. When John turned 15 he took his brother Damon and younger sister Rose on a joyride in his aunt’s car. When a drunk driver crashed into them, John’s sister Rose died. Since her death John aspired to be a better person — and for him, that meant joining the U.S. Marine Corps.
While serving as a Marine John became skilled in hand-to-hand combat, firearms (mostly long-range weaponry) and was a tactical specialist.
After serving in the Marines, John would fulfill his dream to become an architect. Unfortunately, racism would rear its ugly head and he lost his job. With Guy Gardner injured, the Guardians needed a replacement and they opted for the militant John despite Hal Jordan’s concerns.
During the mid-1980s John's Green Lantern caught on and earned the name “Master Builder” for his amazing constructs. He proved to be vastly different, and in some cases more formidable, than his predecessors.
DC’s Most Popular Green Lantern
In 1992 DC decided to feature John’s Green Lantern in Green Lantern: Mosaic. This 18-issue comic was a hit, thus giving John Stewart’s Green Lantern some heavy momentum, until it was abruptly cancelled. However, John Stewart wasn’t kept down for long; his role in DC’s Animated Universe made him the Green Lantern the #DCAU recognized as the first to wear the power ring.
Anyone who watched DCAU’s Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited without reading the comics would think it was John Stewart who was earth’s first Green Lantern. The DCAU skipped over Hal and Guy, and gave the spotlight to John.
During this time he was one of the founders of the Justice League and was involved in some major story arcs that included being framed for the destruction of a planet and his odd yet funny friendship with Wally West. DC opted for John Stewart because they thought he’d bring diversity to the cast of heroes.
Lack Of Diversity Still Plagues Comic Book Cinema
The world of comic book cinema is heavily lacking in racial diversity — it's an issue that has undoubtedly been debated and discussed extensively, and the conversation should continue as long as the balance weighs to one side. I can be garrulous when it comes to this topic, but I’ll keep it short. The problem with the lack of diversity doesn’t start with comic book cinema; it started in the comics.
However, the movie universe can right the wrongs that started way back when. To DC’s credit the studio has done a solid job on TV and in the DCEU. From Iris West to Deadshot, DC has tried to interject racial diversity into their live-action depictions of characters.
Some may or may not agree with casting such as an African-American Deadshot (Will Smith) or Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale), for example. But DC does have the right idea: by casting an Israeli actress (Gal Gadot) to play Wonder Woman, along with adding Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Hawaiian Aquaman DC, deserves some props.
With John Stewart, there would be no need to "reverse whitewash." John would seamlessly fit into the already ethically diverse cast of heroes that currently exist in the DCEU. Allowing John Stewart to take the mantle of Green Lantern in the DCEU would further elevate an already great hero. Give fans a fresh take on the character that we have been yearning for. Take a page from the DCAU and make Green Lantern great again!