Earlier today, it was announced that HBO has found the star of their upcoming Green Lantern series in Finn Wittrock, who will be playing the hot-headed Guy Gardner. While choosing a different Green Lantern to helm the series seems a solid decision following Ryan Reynold’s portrayal of Hal Jordan in the critically-panned Green Lantern movie released back in 2011, fans are now raising an important question: why isn’t it John Stewart?
I know we said John Stewart. I know we did. https://t.co/icAB81yDD5
— ashley (@ashleyeleigh) April 30, 2021
For those less versed in the DC Universe, Green Lantern is one of DC Comic’s most iconic characters outside of the big three (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) and is largely considered a staple in the universe’s mightiest supergroup, The Justice League. The “Emerald Knight” (real name Alan Scott) first made his debut back in 1940, but was quite different than the Green Lantern we know and love now, simply serving as an earthly, caped vigilante up until the series cancellation in 1949.
In 1959, the character was completely re-written as the cosmic crusader we know now, and became Hal Jordan, a reckless combat pilot turned protector of Earth. Since then, five other people have donned the title Green Lantern: Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, Simon Baz, and, most recently, Jessica Cruz. However, while each of these characters are special in their own way, for many John Stewart is the Green Lantern.
I am shocked and baffled that the #GreenLantern series on HBO Max is going to feature Guy Gardner and not John Stewart. I sometimes think that the studios lose sight of the fact that generations of fans know these characters from the animated TV shows as much as anything.
— Christopher Jones (@ChrisJonesArt) April 30, 2021
John Stewart’s appearance in the animated Justice League series solidified him as a superhero staple, so the fact he has yet to get his own film or series comes as both a shock — and insult — to many who long to see more Black heroes grace the big screen. To add insult to injury, apparently Stewart was supposed to in Zack Synder’s Justice League, but was ultimately cut from the project. According to the director, the studio shot a version of the film featuring Green Lantern, but the studio “fought” him before ultimately deciding they didn’t want him “to do Green Lantern.”
This year, the actor meant to play Stewart was revealed to be Wayne T. Carr, who posted an image of the film with the caption “#restorethesynderverse.”
However, even in the Synder cut, Carr was excluded from the team. In a recent interview, Carr said he wasn’t aware of the choice until he began watching the movie. This frustration adds fuel to fans upset at DC’s lack of John Stewart, and diversity, in both their cinematic and television universes. Some have stated perhaps Stewart is once again being kept out of the spotlight to save him for a later film, while others have expressed gratitude that the show seems to be more of an ensemble cast, and will feature Jessica Cruz, a Mexican-American woman, and Simon Baz, a Lebanese-Arab man.
Others, however, are upset the most aggressive, arrogantly, and inconsistent do-gooder is getting his own series. As of right now, the plot of the upcoming series has yet to be revealed, but DC has confirmed it will a “saga spanning decades and galaxies.”