Warner Bros. Changes Plans for Green Lantern’s John Stewart Live-Action Debut

By Sam Hargrave Updated:
Green Lantern, Justice League, John Stewart

DC fans have been calling for Green Lantern to return to live-action ever since Ryan Reynolds' 2011 flick became a critical and financial bomb. But those calls continue to go unanswered as the wait continues for a solo outing, despite several attempts having been made over the years to no avail. 

There are many incarnations of Green Lantern, with John Stewart being among the most iconic, even though Reynolds' 2011 iteration used Hal Jordan for the role. Nonetheless, Stewart has yet to take on a starring role in live-action, despite almost appearing in Zack Snyder's Justice League, played by Wayne T. Carr.

DC's most recent attempt at bringing Green Lantern back into the fold has been on the small screen, as Warner Bros. has been developing an HBO Max series for the intergalactic hero. The big-budget streaming project had been planned to star Guy Gardner and Alan Scott, much to the disappointment of many.

But now, plans for HBO Max's Green Lantern are pivoting in a way that ought to excite many, as John Stewart comes closer to his live-action debut.

DC's Green Lantern Reveals Major Changes

According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO Max's Green Lantern series has changed plans with writer Seth Grahame-Smith exiting the project. The writer had originally penned eight scripts to focus on Alan Scott and Guy Gardner, but the DC outing will now pivot to star John Stewart.

Stewart was reportedly originally off the table for the project, but a decision was recently made to pivot the focus following the departure of DC Films President Walter Hamada. The switch was not influenced by incoming DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran, who will not enter their roles until November 1.

Warner Bros. had attached Finn Wittrock and Jeremy Irvine to play Gardner and Scott, with Arrowverse lead Greg Berlanti signed on as executive producer. Grahame-Smith was set to serve as writer and showrunner, having penned eight scripts, but he departed the project following WBD regime changes.

As of now, only Berlanti remains on board the project, with fellow executive producer Marc Guggenheim having not been involved as of late. Neither Wittrock nor Irvine is attached to Green Lantern any longer, but Berlanti is reportedly still eager to work with both actors if the project moves forward.

As part of the reshuffle, the budget for Green Lantern is expected to be significantly less than the originally planned $120 million, which would have made it DC's most expensive show ever. The budget reduction comes as part of WBD CEO David Zaslav's endeavor to save an estimated $3 billion, which already led to several DC project cancellations for tax write-downs.

The abandonment of the eight completed scripts for Green Lantern will only be the latest in the studio's estimated $2 billion to $2.5 billion in content tax write-downs. THR's sources indicate it was not the creative angle that put an end to the first iteration of the HBO Max original, but instead the hefty price tag.

Green Lantern Faces Production Setbacks

For now, HBO Max's Green Lantern is back to being in early development with no cast, showrunner, or writer, with only Greg Berlanti still on board. So, the wait will undoubtedly be long before Warner Bros. can get the DC series back on track as the next creative team likely starts from scratch with its new lead.

Interestingly, Green Lantern will now come under the oversight of DC Studios' incoming co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran. The pace of progress on the superhero series will likely come down to how the new creative leads choose to prioritize existing projects as they develop a vision for the franchise

The DC project was originally being billed as the most expensive series from the franchise ever, with a budget of $120 million, roughly on par with the likes of Star Wars' The Mandalorian. But with the budget expected to now be much lower, major overhauls will be required to make Green Lantern work on a smaller scale.

While unconfirmed, many are expecting the John Stewart-led series to take place in the established DCU so he can co-exist with the other Justice League heroes. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Wayne T. Carr, the actor that Zack Snyder cast for the role but never appeared, will be involved with the project.

HBO Max's Green Lantern has yet to reveal a release window.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.