To Green Lantern or Not to Green Lantern, That is DC's Question
Source: Warner Brothers.
As November 17 is gets closer fans of the DC Extended Universe have a new question on their minds: will the Green Lantern make an appearance in The Justice League movie?
In the past couple weeks rumors of this character's casting have been circulating the internet and we've heard potential choices ranging from Armie Hammer (who is more famous for being rumored to be in movies than his actual acting abilities) to recently Moonlight star Trevante Rhodes. (Editor's Note: THE Kurt Broz as the voice of G'Nort?!)
DC has taken some hits over the past year and one can only ask the question...
Should the Green Lantern be in The Justice League movie?
To get a better answer we have to ask a follow up question. In what capacity should the Green Lantern be involved with this project? Then you have to take it one step even further and ask whether he should have a cameo. Or be a full supporting role.
We can also crank up the nerdy level here and talk about which Green Lantern we will see, or even if it's going to be Hal Jordan, and if it is Hal Jordan, which version will it be. For the purpose of saving time, let's just assume that we will see a better rendition of what Ryan Reynolds was going for in the 2012 attempt at bringing the character to the big screen.
Should the Green Lantern have a full supporting role in The Justice League movie? The answer is obvious, hell no. The film hasn't even been released yet but you can already tell that there will be a lot going on. We have a core cast of five superheroes in Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Plus we have the main villain Steppenwolf (supposedly) to develop, the potential for Lex Luthor to come back, Deathstroke's (rumored) involvement in the film, and the usual secondary characters. All of that is on the table without mentioning Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and story.
Even before you say the word "plot" it is evident that this project may be on the cusp of being too full. All of these elements have to be in a perfect state of harmony for this to work and to work well. One of the most popular criticisms of the DCEU so far is the fact that the movies seem to cram too much into a short time. And when that happens you run the risk of underdevelopment, when you under develop, you run the risk of losing the audience's connection to the character, and if you lost the audience's connection to the character, you lose everything.
I hope that the people at Warner Brothers do not make the same mistake twice. I personally feel that it is not even worth taking the chance. I'm also afraid that the best writers in the world would struggle to create a cohesive plot with all of these options presented to them. Let's not forget that this project is done filming and even if this last minute addition of the Green Lantern was solid gold, the economics of the situation may not call for the amount of re-shoots and production time allowed for such an addition.
Think about this... if everything did work, and work well, this movie could end up being over three hours long. I have yet to meet anyone, even the biggest of DC fans, who would like to spend four hours in a movie theater. The Justice League script could be an Academy Award nominated thing of beauty but time is enemy of everything, including the movies.
So if you can't have the Green Lantern in a full supporting role, you have to ask the next question...
Should the Green Lantern have a brief cameo in The Justice League? Absolutely. But only a brief cameo. And when I say brief I mean the last thirty seconds of the film. Like when Bruce Wayne is looking up at the sky for answers, wondering what is yet to come. He sees a green flash and out of nowhere the Green Lantern appears, with the news that Darkseid is on his way.
Then fade to black. Perfect. No more, no less.
Do not underestimate the power of a good cameo. In the case of the DCEU a cameo of this magnitude not only serves as a pleaser for the audience but also sets up future installments of the franchise as well as future installments of films for the character himself. You see too much Green Lantern and it throws off the pace of The Justice League. You don't see him at all and that's one less thing for audiences to look forward to. So a short simple scene at the end of the film, after all of the main events have taken place, I believe is the best way to handle this.
If the studio decides to go this route is something that is still to be discovered but the managing of screen time will be vital to the success of this movie. Don't over crowd it. People may ask, "so what about The Avengers Infinity War and their enormous cast of characters?" And those people have a great argument but remember that Infinity War will feature over ten characters (between the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy) that audiences have already gotten to know either on TV or in film. Necessary ground has already been covered and all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
Ultimately I feel that the Green Lantern will be in the film. There is too great of a marketing opportunity with this character to not take advantage any opportunity to get him on screen. I believe that Martian Manhunter will also make a cameo in The Justice League (we will see a character that we have already met, shape shift into him (my prediction)), uniting the seven once and for all.
Superhero movies are no longer judged based on the special effects and action sequences. Audiences are becoming smarter and expect to have a relationship with the characters they see on screen. Warner Brothers cannot afford to assume that people are already familiar with their characters. This would be a bad idea. They will have to devote the time develop them in the correct way or the reviews we read for Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad will become a common language for the DCEU in the days ahead.
Justice League arrives in theaters on November 17. 2017.