Recently, my significant other made me aware that Tyrese Gibson has expressed his interest in playing the role of Green Lantern in the upcoming live action movies from DC and Warner Bros. Since I’m not really familiar with Tyrese’s acting, I don’t know whether or not he would be good for the role. However, I do know that I would really like to see John Stewart be the new Green Lantern.
There are two main reasons for my feelings:
- John Stewart is my favorite Green Lantern (save for maybe Jade).
- The Justice League, and DC movies in general, are in serious need of diversity.
If we take a look at the iconic members of the Justice League in comics over the years; we can see that it is overwhelmingly comprised of white males. While I have nothing against white males, it feels a little unbalanced to have a US cast with ~70% of the roles filled by them.
- ~70% of the US population is white
- ~85% of the iconic Justice League members are white.
- ~50% of the US population is male.
- ~85% of the iconic Justice League members are male.
The Animated version of the Justice League actually does significantly better than the comics. It comes very close to matching the US race distribution, and has the most prominent iconic females out of any iteration (2 out of 7). That said, even under the best casting, I don’t believe the Live Action Movie Justice League will be that diverse.
Pre-New 52 Justice League
5 white males, 1 white female, 1 green male.
New 52 Justice League
5 white males, 1 white female, 1 black male.
Animated Universe Justice League
3 white males, 2 white females, 1 black male, 1 green male.
Rumored Live Action Movie Justice League
- Superman (white male)
- Batman (white male)
- Wonder Woman (white female)
- Flash (white male)
- Green Lantern (white or black male)
- Aquaman (white male)
- Cyborg (black male)
- Shazam (white male)
5-6 white males, 1 white female, 1-2 black males.
There are basically six individuals who have held the title Green Lantern long enough to possibly qualify for the part. I’ve listed the candidates below in chronological order of first appearance:
- Alan Scott (1940) – not show above
- Hal Jordan (1959)
- Guy Gardner (1968)
- John Stewart (1971)
- Kyle Rayner (1994)
- Simon Baz (2012)
In regard to diversity, all six are Green Lanterns are male. Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner are all white; John Stewart is black; and Simon Baz is white, Middle Eastern, or Arabic; depending on how you’re defining race. Alan Scott is gay in his New 52 incarnation, but was not in his previous incarnation.
I can see good arguments for potentially casting a gay Alan Scott, Simon Baz, or John Stewart. All increase diversity in the Justice League line up. That said, I think there are some solid reasons why John Stewart is the best choice of the three.
- Alan Scott’s powers and origin are mystical in nature. The other 5 Green Lanterns all got super-science rings from the same group of aliens. While he shares the name/mantle, he’s really completely different beast all together.
- Alan Scott is pretty old and obscure.
- Simon Baz is fairly new and unknown.
- John Stewart is one of the best known Green Lanterns (and minority superheroes), due to being the main Green Lantern in the DC Animated Universe.
- In the storyline War of the Green Lanterns (2011), the color of John Stewart’s fall back ring* is Indigo – the color representing Compassion. I think this says a lot about his character.
*Kyle Rayner’s was Blue (Hope), Hal Jordan’s was Yellow (Fear), and Guy Gardner’s was Red (Rage). Their normal Green represents Willpower.
Regardless of who would play the role of Green Lantern, the character of John Stewart would be a strong, stable character that would really help increase the movies’ diversity.
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