Hollywood’s Light Shines Green – Japer Talks Green Lantern

It’s not a huge surprise, but yesterday’s news was glorious news indeed for any followers of the Emerald Knight.

Green Lantern, a character that has been long-in-development at the Warner Brothers offices will finally be made as a cinematic film. The parent company of DC Comics is suddenly very high on the idea and is fast-tracking the movie.

This news, you see, is really the first big signal from Warner Brothers that they are finally taking the goldmine they have in DC Comics, what with all of their great iconic characters and stories, and mine them properly for a 21st century movie-going audience. This particular move follows a shuffling of paper and people at the media company late last year, the objective of which was to find a direction for their proprietary comic characters, turning them into a renewable source of cinematic income. It’s a move that fans have been shouting for.

And you can thank Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

I was at the Toronto ComicCon with Andy B a number of years ago and we found ourselves sitting at a Q & A session with a myriad of DC writers and artists. When it comes to comics, Andy B sits squarely on the Marvel side of the fence. Me? I’m a DC guy. But that doesn’t mean I’m an apologist for them. I asked one of the more famous writers on the panel (a panel that was lacking any editorial representation which put a bit of a burr under my saddle because Marvel always had editorial representation at their panels) why DC had been so inept at bringing their properties to the silver screen.

To be fair, this writer had no influence over such things. DC, being a company held within the bosom of Warner Brothers, has very little influence over bringing their own characters to film, let alone a writer who worked for them – even if he was popular. Still, Marvel was making loads of great movies and I wanted to know why my DC wasn’t. This particular writer, who obviously didn’t want to be at the Q & A, was acting like a pompous ass to the fans asking him questions. His answers were brief and belittling. His demeanor sickened both Andy B and I and this is probably why I directed my venom towards him. “Ever heard of a little character called Batman?” he replied with both derision and spite. The Batman Begins film was still over a year away from release but that wasn’t my point – and he knew it.

Even today that writer’s attitude arouses my anger. I definitely wouldn’t need one hundred bullets to teach him a lesson in manners, that’s for sure.

But I digress.

After last year’s The Dark Knight, executives at Warner were falling over themselves, frantically searching for the next big franchise, wondering how they could reinvent themselves and accomplish what Marvel Comics had done with their successful Spider-Man and X-Men films. I suppose grossing over half a billion dollars will do that to any suit in an office tower.

If you don’t know the character or the story, Hal Jordan, a test pilot of experimental jets comes across a dying alien who bequeaths him the Green Lantern power ring – a device that manifests thoughts into physical constructs. Jordon could use the ring, for instance, to form a giant Black and Decker drill and mine a hole in the side of a mountain. Of course, he could (and would) also use it to capture criminals and fly through space, discovering that he is in fact, a member of the Green Lantern Corps., a galactic policing agency that tells him that he is their representative for the space sector that the earth inhabits.

A Green Lantern movie has been on the backburner for a long time. It wasn’t so long ago that, in the misguided wisdom of Warner Brothers, Jack Black was touted to play the character in a comedy version of everyone’s favourite space cop.

There couldn’t be a more wrong direction for the venerable hero but the company that owned him got smart after the recent moves.

Over the last few years, writer Geoff Johns has reinvigorated the character on a monthly basis, expanding both his universe and the evil Jordan must fight. He’s turned the Green Lantern series into DC’s very own Star Wars, weaving a rich tapestry of history and mythology, leading the character into a bright new future.

The version of Green Lantern that will be filmed was written by comic book scribes and television show creators Marc Guggenheim, Greg Berlanti and Michael Green. Geoff Johns’ positive influence on the character should be felt in the script. Word is that Martin Campbell, director of Casino Royale is set to direct and Warner Home Video has a direct to DVD release of a Green Lantern animated film due late this year.

So, it’s a bright day in what once was a black night for GL fans everywhere. The possibilities of a delicious franchise abound. Here’s hoping the film torches the box office in a fiery green flame!

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