Comic Book Casting: The GREEN LANTERN Live-Action Movie

1857622-1307864404Every Monday here at iFanboy, we look at comics’ greatest characters and stories and try to imagine what they’d be like in film or television. From the story concept to the people in charge and all the way down to who’d play who, we do it and we call it Comic Book Casting.

This year DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. kicked off the first stages of their modern superhero movie empire with Man of Steel…. but that success comes after earlier attempts which failed horribly; I’m talking about 2011’s Green Lantern movie. The reasons why have been covered here on iFanboy in other posts, but the silver lining to the Green Lantern fiasco is that it’s a concept that is tailor-made for second chances. It has the Green Lantern Corps.

In the wake of Man of Steel‘s success, I could see WB and SC give these green-tinted space cops another chance. I could even see them salvaging Ryan Reynolds-as-Hal-Jordan, but with a twist. Here’s how I’d do it.

The Concept:

In the post-credits scene of the original Green Lantern movie, we saw Sinestro (played by Mark Strong) slide on a new kind of Lantern ring and turn that familiar shade of yellow. Imagine a new Green Lantern movie that fast-forwards several years in real time to show Sinestro as a Yellow Lantern dominating this corner of the universe, ruling from his homeworld of Korugar. And worst of all, he’s trounced the Corps’ best hope, Hal Jordan. And that’s even before the movie starts.

This Green Lantern movie would start with the universe under the thumb of Sinestro, and that disgraced Green Lantern beginning to reach his claws out to claim Earth. The Guardians of Oa look again to Earth for their savior — and now Earth’s — as they send a new lantern ring to the planet. But what it finds isn’t one replacement for Hal Jordan… but two.

This movie would be a superhero version of a “buddy cop” movie, with both John Stewart and Guy Gardner joining the DC movie-verse and, well, being themselves. The former marine and the ex-Baltimore police officer would strike an interesting balance in a movie, especially with a pair of Lantern rings on their fingers. It’s up to them to get up to speed on how to be a Lantern to fight off Sinestro and find out what happened to Hal Jordan.

For the movie title, you could borrow a title like Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn or go all in on Green Lantern Corps.

The Director:

To direct this monstrosity of a challenge, I’d give a shot to Warm Bodies helmer Jonathan Levine. While he hasn’t gotten a certifiable blockbuster under his belt, Levine knows how to handle special effects budgets and knows how to do a buddy movie as seen in 50/50. Levine’s no stogy veteran director set in his ways, and with the right motivations and guidance from producers I think he could craft a movie that bucks the trend of the first Green Lantern, keeps within the playing field set-up by Man of Steel and creates a great standalone movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The Cast:

Green Lantern / John Stewart – Terry Crews: Casting directors might jump at a new, young actor for a role like this but I think John Stewart needs someone older, more experienced — and Terry Crews is just that man. The ex-NFL player has beat expectations with great comedy performances in Idiocracy and great drama in things like the recent television series The Newsroom.

Green Lantern / Guy Gardner – Eric Christian Olsen: He’s a star in CBS’s NCIS: Los Angeles, but that’s not a bad thing. He’s got one of the best senses of timing and comedy in primetime drama, plus he knows how to handle action scenes. And don’t forget, Henry Cavill was a television actor before he got the part in Man of Steel — so don’t count this NCIS: LA star out so soon. As for if he’s got the chops to play Guy… well, yeah.

Sinestro – Mark Strong: Strong is the genre movie villian du jor with roles in Kick-Ass, Green Lantern, John CarterRobin Hood and Sherlock Holmes, but after being one of the sole great parts of the first Green Lantern movie I’d bring him back to cement Sinestro’s turn to the dark side here.

Katma Tui – Olivia Thirlby: When Sinestro left the Green Lantern Corps, they had to choose a replacement — and they chose fellow Korugarian Katma Tui. To play this role, I’d pick Dredd‘s Olivia Thirlby to play this integral role as an entryway into Sinestro’s homeworld and also the third rookie Green Lantern picked in the wake of Sinestro’s rise to power.

Arkillo – Randy Couture:  Long story short, Arkillo is Sinestro Corps’ answer to Kilowog. To portray that awesome strength, I’d get UFC alum Randy Couture in there with some Jar Jar Binks style on-screen special effects. Keep it short on the dialogue and let his imposing physical presence do the talking.

Fatality – Paula Patton: Fatality could round out the Sinestro Corps line-up, and I’d love to see Mission: Impossible‘s Paula Patton take on this role. Fatality is more than Faora from Man of Steel, and would be a great addition to the DC movie universe.

Green Lantern / Hal Jordan – Ryan Reynolds: Remember how I said I would write Ryan Reynold’s Hal Jordan out of the movie? I lied. I’d put Jordan back in the mix during the climax of the movie when Stewart and Gardner face off against Sinestro. I’d go through some re-training with Reynolds to tone down some of mannerisms from the first Green Lantern and use him as a part of this now ensemble cast.


  1. I love the idea of John and Guy together. Former copy who puts up the front of cocky brashness and who has now replaced Hal as a star test pilot meets stoic ex-marine and would be settled down architect. Yeah I’d watch that

    Actually bringing Hal back as a more mature, battle hardened and one-time beaten soldier type would justify a tonal shift in the character and add a dynamic that would help differentiate him from the previous film while not feeling like a cut and run. The buddy cop idea is great. I’d even make a point that the Corps now partner people to prevent a Sinestro rising up unstopped again. End the film with John and Guy heading back to Earth while Hal begins reforming the Corps with his new partner a young, brash down and out artist who is more jokes that seriousness (reminiscent of Hal in GL)? I think we know who I mean.

    By putting for Earthling GLs in the mix then when they inevitably make a JL film they have a whole load to pick from depending where they want to go.


    I will only except Idris Elba as John Steward, since Elba actually looks a lot like him and is currently the biggest badass in Hollywood! He even said in a Pacific Rim interview that he wants to play an actual superhero, so…


    • I also think that Ryan Reynolds as Hal could work in a Justice League movie, when he doesn’t have to headline the movie. As a side character, behind Cavills Clark and whomevers Batman, he would be great.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Elba deserves better roles than one as a Green Lantern.

    • @Paul, how is Heimdall to GL not an upgrade?

    • Common should play John Stewart, he was actually considered for the role when JL was being set-up originally.

      But yeah, John Stewart is a step-up from Heimdall. Because he actually, you know, does stuff. Like fight, and talk to the other characters and not guard a glowing bridge.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Not saying it wouldn’t be an upgrade. Saying he deserves more of an upgrade than that.

      Part of this is objective. Green Lantern is damaged goods. A lot of it is subjective too. In my opinion, Green Lantern isn’t all that interesting a property. Give him Constantine or Jason Blood. Give him Doctor Strange.

    • @Paul, I agree that he deserves better. And that GL is damaged. But let’s be honest, Elba was in “Ghost Rider 2”. He’s either not picky about what work he does or loves comic-esque Sci-Fi movies.

      I like the Idea (read: proposition) of Idris Elba playing John Constantine, Jason Blood, or Dr. Strange. But I don’t think Constantine should be black. i hope that doesn’t sound racist, but I don’t think that would work for the character. Plus even though people love him, Constantine is a creep. The Demon or Dr.Strange? No problem with those, either one would work played by Elba. My preference would be as Jason Blood though.

  3. Looks good except for the part where I hate Ryan Reynolds in everything ever.

  4. This is much improved over the last installment. But 2 issues I see here; the time jump and the (new) buddy cop formula.

    GL 1 already made the mistake of throwing too much at the audience at once, then the movie failed. Hard. Re-establishing all that plus a time-jump with the guy-who-turned-evil-at-the-end-which-those-who-care-HATED! No, the next movie has to simplify things, which means softly ignoring the bad parts of the first film and re-introducing things in a new,accessible way.

    Second, the buddy cop thing. I love the idea, but it should be Hal and Sinestro. We never saw them team up in GL, and Sinestro taking Hal under his wing would help Hal grow up more. Unless you want to do that in flashbacks (which already has people bitching about). It’s too unsatisfying to see Sinestro turn evil JUST CAUSE of an end credits scene that made no sense. Make it about Hal and Sinestro, show how they differ, how they’re alike, make Hal grow up, and have them fight the Spider Guild and/or the Manhunters. Introducing 2 new guys to the movie just creates headaches for people that look for reasons to tear another GL movie down.

    All in all though, great list and (mostly) good pitch.

    • I would love to see Terry Crews as John Stewart, though he almost seems too likeable/charismatic for the role. I think he could (and I would love to see him) play it straight enough but something just seems instantly off about his casting to me no matter how much I love it. I really would love to see him step-up for it though.
      Common always looked the part and I hear he’s great in Hell on Wheels but his cadence seems too loose, which is super ultra nitpicky but knowing him more from his rap career his voice is immediately how I think of him. Actually watching him act might change that for all I know.

    • Sorry, meant to leave that as a regular comment and my computer must have lagged out when I pressed leave a comment.

    • Though yes, I would really like to see that Hal/Sinestro chemistry and not just have it implied. But that might be something for a later movie if you want to wash the taste of the previous one out of your mouth first.

    • Watch Common on “Hell on Wheels” and tell me he would not RULE as John Stewart.

      But Terry Crews wouldn’t be bad necessarily. I like him in just about everything I’ve seen him in (Balls of Fury, Gamer, Expendibles, Longest Yard). But I just want Common as GL so much more…

      I think the key to washing people’s mouths of GL is just to make a good GL . Maybe like Incredible Hulk (far better than Hulk). Maybe this is the way to do it, maybe it’s my way. Personally? I think a big draw for the first GL was Ryan Reynolds. Scrapping him, and turning one of the few good actors in GL into a villain (with little explaination there of) would be very risky IMO.

  5. I think for John Stewart I would go with Morris Chestnut or Mehcad Brooks. Don’t get me wrong, Terry is awesome. But I really really really want him to play Luke Cage. Like that is a thing that should happen in a sane and just universe. IMHO.

  6. In the continuity that didn’t suck and had nuance and development, Guy was a comic nerd as a kid, played college football, became a social worker, and taught kids with special needs before he got head trauma and became a jerk. His brother was the cop.

    Also, Ryan Reynolds is terrible at everything always. ID actually like to see John Stewart as GL in a JL movie for he same reason he was GL in the JLU-verse.

  7. Totally Wrong!

    I’d try and get Will Smith or Taye Diggs as John Stewert, Jeremy Renner as Guy Gardner, and a supporting cast that includes Moon Bloodgood, Summer Glau, & one Chinese Actor/Martial Artist (Jet Li preferably, but let’s be honest and say probably not). Mark Strong as Sinestro, and Thirlby as part of the supporting cast is good…….I would choose Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern (and give Reynolds the “thumb”), an older and more experienced GL. Fillion’s appearance would tease a new Green Lantern movie, and internet excitement amongst Geek/Comic-Fans worldwide!