James Gunn recently announced the films and TV shows part of the first chapter of his DC Universe, one being the long-awaited HBO Max series about the Green Lanterns, Lanterns. Described by fellow DC films co-head Peter Safran as “a huge, HBO-quality event,” this upcoming streaming show is the culmination of the Green Lantern Corps project that has been in development hell as far back as 2014.
According to Gunn, the show will be about two of DC’s most well-known Green Lanterns, Jon Stewart and Hal Jordan. In his recent announcement, Gunn said, “we have a few other Lanterns peppered in there, but this is really a terrestrial-based TV show which is almost like True Detective with a couple of Green Lanterns who are space cops watching over Precinct Earth.” This is the first time the Lanterns will have their own live-action project since the panned 2011 movie, so DC has many things they need to get right for this series to shine.
A cosmic scope
Lanterns will have Jordan and Stewart investigating a mystery on Earth, but the story shouldn’t be limited to the big blue marble. Similar to Thor or Captain Marvel, this series should depict its titular heroes traveling far beyond the reaches of Earth to worlds across the DC Universe.
For a show that is supposed to follow an order of interstellar protectors, introducing them in a story confined to Earth seems like it would be a missed opportunity to leave a lasting impression on audiences. Lanterns should have some galactic element, even if it’s not the focus of the show.
Lots of worldbuilding
The Green Lantern Corps has a mythos that has been developing for over 80 years, making them an integral part of DC Comics. The show’s developers should take full advantage of this and bring decades of comic book lore to create a vast and detailed world to make it a story worthy of the Emerald Knights.
Additionally, the cosmic nature of the Green Lanterns could also expand Gunn’s DC Universe by establishing connections between them and multiple alien races. The series could depict the Lanterns having a history with Kryptonians, Martians, Thanagarians, and even the New Gods, which can set up other films and shows that could lead to an epic crossover event in the near future.
This should go without saying, but after 2011’s Green Lantern was widely criticized for its unrealistic CGI down to Hal Jordan’s super suit, creating fully-developed visual effects should be a top priority for this upcoming reboot. A large part of the Green Lantern stories is how its heroes can construct anything almost that comes to mind, so VFX is necessary to display both the Lanterns’ powers and the writer’s imagination.
Fortunately, digital effects have come a long way in the past decade, and advancements in motion-capture technology hold the promise for a much more realistic Green Lantern. This potential was already displayed in a deleted scene of Zack Snyder’s Justice League that featured John Stewart in a fully-finished CGI suit, and the studio could integrate this look into the new DC Universe.
Carol Ferris started out as a love interest of Hal Jordan, but she later became an evil Star Sapphire and has battled him many times over the years. While the Green Lanterns believe they should forgo all emotions, including love, the Star Sapphire Corps fully embrace love, which has caused members like Ferris to take very dark paths. While Blake Lively played Ferris in the 2011 film, her character was relegated to being a damsel-in-distress and another romantic partner supporting the film’s male lead from the sidelines.
Though the series is set to focus on Jordan and Stewart, imagine how much their mission would be thrown into a loop if Star Sapphire appears as the former Lantern’s vindictive ex. However, she could still end up joining them both on the battlefield in taking down the main threat of the show, which could make for a compelling arc deserving of her character.
Sinestro as a villain
This classic adversary of Green Lantern made his live-action debut in the 2011 film. But in case readers have repressed their memories of this movie, Sinestro mainly served as Hal Jordan’s mentor before claiming a yellow Power Ring in the mid-credits scene, giving him control over the essence of fear itself.
If Sinestro should return for this reboot series, then audiences should see a new side of him as he battles his former Green Lanterns in some capacity. It seems unlikely DC would do another origin story for Hal Jordan, so audiences can and should meet Sinestro after turning against his former comrades long after he trained Hal.
A buddy cop dynamic between its leads
The most essential aspect of a team-up story is the tension between its main characters, so this show’s leading Lanterns should clash throughout the story to create an engaging and meaningful narrative.
Since the Green Lantern Corps is basically an intergalactic police force, it would make sense for Hal Jordan and John Stewart to have a rough but comedic relationship that has been seen in buddy cop movies like Lethal Weapon, 48 Hrs., and Rush Hour. These two Lanterns have butt heads on numerous occasions in the comics, so a series centered on these two would naturally have them both learn to work together to protect the universe from evil.