24th February 2014
Once again, John Stewart’s name is running across the rumor mill surrounding the Man of Steel sequel. According to El Mayimbe from Latino Review, director Zack Snyder is looking for a physically fit Black male actor in his early twenties.
“… the production is currently looking for a black actor in his early 20s who is also physically fit. Here is the kicker though: the part is for a small role in the untitled Batman Vs Superman movie BUT will be recurring in other upcoming DCU films.”
El Mayimbe’s source claims that actor Michael B. Jordan has met with Snyder regarding the role. El Mayimbe has speculated it could be for Green Lantern John Stewart, or Dick Grayson. Another character fans are naming as a possibility is Cyborg.
My personal opinion toward Cyborg is generally negative. I have never been particularly fond of the character, and Geoff Johns hasn’t won me over with him in the rebooted New 52 comic universe, where Cyborg has enjoyed a surge of exposure, thanks to being a founding member of the Justice League. Johns has only made the character worse, in my opinion. As such, I would rather not see Cyborg, because I think that spot could go to more worthy characters, such as another female hero, like Hawkgirl.
I continue to believe the push Cyborg has been getting is an example of reverse diversity. I think it was primarily done to keep Black people from complaining about a lack of representation, but with a hidden agenda to keep DC’s most popular and most appropriate Black character for the Justice League, Green Lantern John Stewart, out of the League, so they can use the White Green Lantern character, Hal Jordan.
Can I prove that? No. But seeing as how it’s obvious that DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has an immense love for Hal Jordan (who he wrote for nine years in the Green Lantern comic title), and an obvious lack of love for John Stewart (who he buried for nine years), I would say it’s probable. I don’t support reverse diversity, or disingenuous diversity. I feel that Geoff Johns is, unfortunately, using Cyborg as a tool to perpetuate such dishonest practices. What lends more credence to that view is that for twenty-eight issues of Justice League, Johns has used Cyborg for very little. The fans actually had to figuratively scream at Johns to get him to do something with Cyborg, such as changing the horrendous design the character debuted with in the New 52. That gives me a feeling that Johns doesn’t have a sincere interest in the character.
El Mayimbe has had some hits, but plenty of misses. I’m inclined to believe that this latest rumor is not true, or at least not entirely, because Michael B. Jordan has basically confirmed that he’s playing the Marvel character Human Torch in the upcoming Fantastic Four film. I doubt we will see Michael B. Jordan in a DC film and a Marvel film within such close proximity to each other, time-wise. As always, we’ll just have to wait and see.
I have a feeling that even if Cyborg is included in the Justice League, that doesn’t mean John Stewart will not be present as well. As ‘revolutionary’ as it sounds, they may actually have two Black men in a Justice League feature at the same time.
We’ve heard so much about John Stewart –from Idris Elba directly saying he wants to play the character, to rumors of Denzel Washington in talks to play the character, to The Rock namedropping John Stewart all over the internet– that I have a good feeling John will be Green Lantern. We’ve heard nothing about Hal Jordan.
Also worth noting is that John Stewart has been receiving a strong resurgence in the pages of DC Comics, and I don’t think that’s coincidence. Van Jensen, writer of Green Lantern Corps, said in a podcast interview that DC wanted John Stewart to have a stronger presence in their comics. Apparently, John’s rising profile isn’t just due to Van Jensen’s love of the character, but also DC’s agenda, which very well may be a directive passed down from Warner Bros.
After all, with the subject of diversity in the superhero genre at an all-time high, it doesn’t make sense to bury your most popular minority character to promote another White character (Hal Jordan) who flopped hard at the box office and in stores. It also doesn’t make sense to not give The Rock, the biggest actor in Hollywood and a savior to hurting franchises (like Green Lantern), a role he’s been wanting to play.
So! Rumors, rumors, and more rumors. If you ask me, it’s about time we start getting some concrete information, already. As ever, greenlantern.co will keep you up to speed.
The rumors of The Rock playing Green Lantern John Stewart have brought up an interesting question among some.
Is The Rock Black enough to play John Stewart?
I’ve read opinions about this on both ends of the board, such as in this article from Badass Digest. Some feel that casting The Rock as Green Lantern would be a slap in the face to people who look like African-Americans, since it would be an example of the trope But not too Black, which means that Warner Bros. may be interested in showcasing a Black character in a strong role, but only if they’re somewhat “Whitewashed,” in the belief that they’re more marketable that way.
I’m aware that the way I view race may not be the same as the next person, but I see The Rock as a Black person. His father, Rocky Johnson, is a Black man, and I don’t believe The Rock’s traits as a Black person are so diluted that he’s not convincing as a Black person. If The Rock is cast as John Stewart, it would not be the first time he’s played a Black character in a motion picture. G.I. Joe Retaliation features The Rock playing the character Roadblock, for instance.
If you look at the above image, The Rock is of a comparable skin tone with John Stewart, and he even resembles the character, in my opinion, so I really don’t see a problem.
I would like to open up a dialogue with you readers, though. Do you feel The Rock is ‘Black enough’ to do justice to the role of Green Lantern John Stewart? Sound off below, and feel free to comment on the Michael B. Jordan rumors, too.