OpinionTelevision & Film

Could Ryan Reynolds Return to DC Films? A Theory…

OK. Before you dismiss this out of hand, let me go through the thoughts in my head and lay out a possible (but not very likely) scenario in which Ryan Reynolds could continue to play Hal Jordan in the DC Extended Universe.

Yes, yes…Green Lantern isn’t acknowledged among any of the films, but neither was The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton, until it was.

And that’s the example to which the suits at Warner Bros. — and in particular, Geoff Johns — can point as a way of bringing the obscure film back into the fold. Obscure because it didn’t perform as well as expected, but that can describe every DC film so far. No matter that Batman v Superman made a ton of money, it didn’t make what the studio thought it should make, and collected its more than fair share of detractors and heated critics. Man of Steel didn’t fare much better, nor did Suicide Squad (Oscar notwithstanding), and even though we’re just three films into this new universe, we keep getting stories and whispers and rumors that Wonder Woman isn’t going to be much better. We even heard that a lot of BvS critics were brought out to the Justice League sets in London to see first-hand what efforts were being made to adjust the tone of the DC movies.

Too little, too late? Too early to tell, because we don’t have Wonder Woman or Justice League yet, and that’s the pudding wherein we may find the proof.

But with that as a setup, let’s take a look across the block to Marvel Studios, and The Incredible Hulk, which has been the red-headed step-child of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A recasting of the lead, a cancellation of the sequel, and dismissal of rumors that we’d ever see another Hulk solo film, and we pretty much know where this film stands.


Footage was included in Iron Man 2, and references to the destruction in Harlem have crept into the Netflix shows and The Avengers. Plus, remember when Banner mentioned trying to shoot himself? That goes back to the Norton film as well (if I recall correctly). Then we get William Hurt reprising his role as Thunderbolt Ross, and we’re hearing rumors that Liv Tyler has been spotted near the Infinity War production. So it’s a logical conclusion to make: The Incredible Hulk is OK again.

Now, let’s take that and use it as a filter on Green Lantern. It’s still a lousy film, trying to do too many things at once, but look at what’s happened in the meantime. Ryan Reynolds has re-established himself as a superhero action star with Deadpool (the real one), and Warner Bros. has to be looking at that and frothing at the mouth with the knowledge that at one point, Reynolds belonged to their universe.

Remember, Green Lantern was supposed to kick off the entire DCEU. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) is one of the founding members of the Justice League, and he’s been conspicuous by his absence in anything having to do with the films so far. He’s not in Justice League (as far as we know), and while he’s been mentioned in connection with Green Lantern Corps, the focus of discussions have been on John Stewart and, to a lesser degree, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner.

OK, so let me paint this scenario with a broad brush:

In the wake of Parallax’s attack on the Corps and Sinestro’s defection, Hal Jordan has been on OA rebuilding the Green Lantern Corps this whole time, leaving the protection of sector 2814 to the other humans who possess Green Lantern rings — and by this time, it could include not only Stewart, Gardner, and Rayner, but also Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. This not only plays into the rumors about Michelle Rodriguez playing Cruz and Tyrese Gibson or Common playing John Stewart, but also lines up with the news that Green Lantern Corps will feature multiple Lanterns.

Which brings me to my next point with regard to rumors: Armie Hammer. Consider this response to the direct question “Are you Hal Jordan or not?” on Twitter:

Now, that “ummm” could mean:

  • Yes, I’m Hal Jordan, but I’m not allowed to say.
  • No, I’m not Hal Jordan, but I’m not allowed to say.
  • Actually, I’m not Hal Jordan; I’m Guy Gardner, but I’m not allowed to say.

Still with me?

What if Hammer is actually playing Guy Gardner (or for that matter, Kyle Rayner)? Remember, he was only rumored for BvS, and on IMDb (which is always true, right?) he was credited as “Test Pilot”, leading many to speculate the Hal Jordan casting. But what if that was just someone trolling fans on IMDb?

Hammer is young enough to play Kyle, but I think they would get someone who better reflects Kyle’s mixed heritage. I hear Tyler Posey might be available…

So, Armie Hammer has never been confirmed to have even talked with anyone about playing Green Lantern. But if he has, he doesn’t necessarily have to be discussing Hal Jordan. Which puts Hammer in as Guy, let’s say Gibson as John, Posey as Kyle, Rodriguez as Jessica, someone like Rami Malek as Simon…

… and Ryan Reynolds as a more seasoned Hal Jordan.

That way, he’s still in the movie, and he still has an impact on the overall story, but he’s the one who brings in the cavalry in the third act, after training all of the newbies. That way you can have John be your primary Green Lantern, training Kyle on Earth, while Guy is … Guy. The Green Lantern taken out by Batman with one punch…

I posit this theory with an appreciation for the irony in the fact that Hammer was set to play Batman in George Miller’s Justice League: Mortal project from 2007… a year before Iron Man‘s release in theaters.

This also allows for Warner Bros. to continue using Mark Strong as Sinestro, arguably one of the best parts of Green Lantern. Not only that, but since Geoff Johns is now in charge of … well, everything … you could tease the formation of the Yellow Lantern Corps, along with the rest of the color spectrum. Green Lantern Corps could be the beginning, where Sinestro comes out of hiding with the Yellow Lanterns, and at the end of the third act, just when it seems like Hal and Company are going to win, the Red Lanterns appear for a cliffhanger ending.

And you keep the whole movie in space on or near Oa. There’s no need to be jetting back to Earth every five minutes. Fight the fight there. In space. With Space Cops and Ray Guns. Green Lantern Corps could be the Guardians of the Galaxy for DC, if the treatment is right.

We know Reynolds loves the superhero world, and right now his track record is 2 bad treatments (X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern) and 1 good treatment (Deadpool), so why not pull ahead with another — and hopefully better — treatment of Green Lantern after Deadpool 2? His performance as Hal Jordan needs a little bit of redemption, doesn’t it? Especially after Reynolds has proven that he’s not the problem? Given the right material (looking at you, Johns… get Goyer away from it), Ryan Reynolds could still be the DCEU’s Hal Jordan.

Indeed, it’s an off the wall proposal. But it allows Warner Bros. to recover a little bit of the investment in that movie, while adding another piece that’s been missing since Green Lantern became photographia non grata with the studio — a Green Lantern and all the science fiction environment that comes with him.

Thoughts? Let us know with a comment. Feel free to share…

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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