Green Lantern - Grant Morrison

In brightest day, in blackest night, no streaming subscriber shall escape my sight, let those who worship Disney+, beware my power…on HBO Max!

In what feels like Warner Bros.’ first truly big shot across the bow of their competition in the streaming wars, a new Green Lantern television series has been announced for the HBO Max streaming service. The title character, a DC Comics mainstay who has been kept off the screen since his disastrous 2011 movie, is primed and ready for a comeback and it certainly sounds like WB is hoping superhero fans will follow him to their new service, which needs a heavy-hitter if it wants to compete against Netflix, Disney+, AppleTV+, and everyone else.

The news was announced at Warners’ big HBO Max presentation today, which included a bevy of other reveals. However, a potentially lucrative DC superhero heading to streaming instead of the big screen feels like a statement – they’re here to compete against Stranger Things, The Mandalorian, and the other big streaming shows with their own blockbuster event. Greg Berlanti, the network-tested and fan-approved godfather of the “Arrowverse” on The CW (which includes Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman) will produce.

(It’s worth noting that Berlanti has also dabbled with another one of DC’s cosmic characters in the past, Booster Gold, but nothing has come of it yet.)

Right now, it’s not clear if the character will be a part of that existing CW universe, if this incarnation will have ties to the DC movie universe of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, or if it’ll be free to be its own thing. What is clear is that television may be the best place for Green Lantern. Originally introduced in 1940 (in a manner almost unrecognizable compared to today), Green Lantern begins as an ordinary earthling who is given a piece of extraterrestrial technology known as a Power Ring by a dying alien. The Power Ring is fueled by willpower, allowing its user to conjure anything and everything their imagination can pull together. Of course, this tool also recruits him into the Green Lantern Corps, a massive group of warriors who patrol the universe fighting bad guys and frequently teaming up to save the galaxy.

That “space cops” approach is ideal for television or streaming, which will allow the character to have some kind of episodic structure to his adventures. Right now, it’s unknown which incarnation of the character will take center stage, as many people have donned the costume over the decades. Most known is military pilot Hal Jordan, but artist Kyle Rayner, hothead Guy Gardner, architect John Stewart, and others have all assumed the mantle (often at the same time – it’s confusing).

It’s a cool premise – superheroes by way of Star Wars. The biggest hurdle HBO Max and Berlanti have ahead of them is the memory of the Ryan Reynolds film, which everyone (including Reynolds himself) treats as a mistake best left in the past. However, if this series can tap into the best Green Lantern comics, which meld a cosmic scope with police procedural, this could be the next big genre obsession and a flagship for HBO Max.

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