Comics Ate My Brain

October 3, 2008

Now I want a John Stewart movie too

Filed under: green lantern, questions — Tom Bondurant @ 1:07 pm
Inspired by Brainfreeze, just a quick question before a busy weekend (and no time for Friday Night Fights, darn it)….

Wouldn’t the first Green Lantern movie be more interesting if it focused on John Stewart?

I mean, I love Hal, but his story arc is pretty much a straight line. The basic Green Lantern origin-story plot is “you are in over your head.” Here is a magic ring; now go fight aliens and fix problems.

With Hal, there’s no real story arc. Any complications (father issues! drunk driving!) seem artificial, because come on, he’s a test pilot. He’s got the right stuff already, so why are we wading through these subplots to see it?

Speaking broadly, Guy and Kyle exist primarily in relation to Hal. Guy is the star of the Green Lantern movie that Adam Sandler’s production company would make (har har, I’ll use the ring for hookers and blow!); and Kyle is the star of Disney’s (I am sensitive and I believe in myself!). Those are gross oversimplifications, to be sure, but I’m thinking two-minute trailers here — not a lot of room for nuance.

John, though … now there’s a movie-movie. Spend the first ten minutes on slice-of-life stuff for a socially-conscious architect. However, drop into the background a couple of news items: a polarizing politician’s visit, and Green Lantern saving a busload of school kids in Baltimore. The plot begins in earnest when Hal shows up to make John his deputy (and I did say make, because Hal and probably a big holographic Guardian head make it clear that John has no choice).

So yeah, it’s essentially an adaptation and expansion of John’s origin from the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams Green Lantern #87, but really, isn’t that the kernel of a good movie all by itself? Here is Hal, representing (as he did originally) the establishment, having to train a new Lantern who he worries may not have the right attitude for the job; and here is John, wondering what in fact this new role means to his long-held beliefs. Sure, there are racial and political overtones, but it would have been a heck of an introduction to John, Hal, and the Green Lantern Corps.

Okay, gotta go. Back before too long.


  1. The biggest problem is that ALL of the other Earth GLs (with the notable exception of Alan, of course) have origins that are all tied in with Hal, including John. The other problem is, Hal being a test pilot IS the kind of character background that filmmakers love — it’s very Right Stuff, and lends itself to all sorts of exciting equipment-related visuals. Filmmakers love big noisy planes.

    Comment by Sea_of_Green — October 5, 2008 @ 11:35 pm

  2. And I’d like to see Terence Howard as John Stewart, maybe Robert Patrick as Hal Jordan (although he might make a better Jay Garrick in a Flash movie.

    Comment by Perplexio — December 6, 2008 @ 8:27 pm

  3. To me, Hal is fairly easy to work around in John Stewart’s origin. The character who acts as “the man” turning John into a GL could just as easily be literally any other Green Lantern. In a sense, the Sinestro we saw in “Emerald Dawn II” actually works better as a foil for John than Hal. It is actually a pretty good three act movie:Act 1: Intro John Stewart, socially conscious reformer. He is being followed by a Mysterious Stranger, who turns out to be Sinestro. Sinersto offers him the Ring while claiming that Earth needs a protector against some Big Scary Space Menace (BSSM). Dubious, Stewart declines.Act 2: Sure enough, along comes the BSSM. Stewart fights it along-side Sinestro. They win, but only to the extent that it leaves Earth. Sinestro and Stewart go to Korugar, which Stewart discovers is a totalitarian dictatorship. He meets and falls in love with freedom fighter Katma Tui. This causes a rift between Stewart and Sinestro. Stewart is driven from Korugar by Sinestro and returns to Earth.Act 3: Acting alone, Sinestro is unable to prevent BSSM from ravaging Korugar. Blaming Stewart, he swears revenge and follows him to Earth. They have a Big Comic Book fight. Stewart wins, but in the process of winning discovers Korugar has been nearly destroyed.

    Comment by Dean — January 24, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

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