The disaster that’s easily hard to forget, The Green Lantern. This version focused on Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), who is a member of the Green Lantern Corps as a test pilot. The origin story is your typical comic book hero beginning, but the difference is that it doesn’t have the nuance of The Dark Knight or any of the highly regarded comic book movies and it’s often a silly action mess that lacks any true substance. Originally, the founding father of the Justice League, Green Lantern was effectively erased from the live-action canon, though it would be shocking if Warner Brothers didn’t try their stab at the popular DC hero one more time.
Money talks and given the fact that it’s been over ten years since the Ryan Reynolds disaster then DC will likely get into production with another feature soon. Understandably, Warner Brothers has moved on from trying to connect the DC universe, so they don’t particularly need to explain why Hal Jordan is no longer the focus on the Lantern reboot, but this could be a cool opportunity for the studio to expand on the mythology of the Green Lantern when giving Reynolds a chance to redeem the Hal Jordan character. Not surprisingly, there are multiple versions of Green Lantern. There’s even a Bruce Wayne version! In all honesty, that could be a great side story for Batman. What if the villain of the next Batman entry was Bruce Wayne himself? It wouldn’t exactly follow the Earth-32 comics, but having the ring entice the dark knight to become such a murderous figure is such a great avenue to explore. This is where Ben Affleck’s Batman would’ve been perfect.
Since Matt Reeves’ version is different, it would be best to keep him out of this story, but this version could see the return of Hal, only to meet the wrath of Batman murderous hands. In turn, multiple versions of Green Lanterns step-up to stop the caped crusader, with one Lantern emerging as the leader. Whether it’s John Stewart, Alan Scott, Len Lewis, or whoever the filmmakers decide to center the new version of Green Lantern around. This could be a multi-verse type situation. The obvious purpose would be to introduce audiences into a new Green Lantern. Of course, paying respect to the Ryan Reynolds version would be cool, but the key thing is that the actor is a notable draw. Sure, fans who saw the original film would likely be dismayed if they saw the return of Ryan Reynolds Hal Jordan, but the actor has built a strong repour within the fanbase and with the right filmmaker, fans would be willingly to give the movie one more chance.
Is it possible to try and revive the dead franchise with one last movie focusing on Hal Jordan? It is, like I stated earlier, Ryan Reynolds is mostly in the good graces of fans thanks to Deadpool. The last feature could even rip off the Earth 22 storyline by focusing on an older Hal Jordan, who’s become a jaded douchebag with a different worldview. If Warner Brothers wants to introduce a new Green Lantern then it’s best to kill off Hal Jordan, plain and simple. Sure, he can be sent off to prison by being defeated by the new Lantern who stops him. If not, then this can be a journey of Hal Jordan’s changing his worldview throughout the course of the film. He doesn’t have to die. It would be odd seeing him simply retiring. Again, it depends on the direction that Warner Brothers wants to go. He could be in the mentorship role if they want a franchise. But if not, dying is likely the best action if it’s one and done. Keeping him alive teases more sequels down the line. There’s plenty of ways that a story of a returning Hal Jordan can work. Just because the company failed the first time doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to do a Green Lantern movie.
These “years later” type stories is a rarity for comic book films. People change. Their mindset and goals. Look at Logan, where both Wolverine and Professor X are completely different from their prior X-Men counterparts. That aspect can really make for an interesting exploration into the super hero world and there’s still plenty of stories to tell with such a different and layered character. It’s not Ryan Reynolds fault that The Green Lantern sucked. No matter how great an actor is, he/she can’t overcome a bad script. Hal Jordan deserves a proper ending, even if it’s a grim one.