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Idris Elba Wants to Play Green Lantern John Stewart in Future Movies


on November 23, 2013

Idris

If you’ve kept up with any buzz concerning future prospects for Green Lantern on the big screen, then there are a couple things you may be aware of. One, John Stewart is the popular choice for which Green Lantern fans want to see in new films, as was brought out near the bottom of this article. And two, the pick the majority of fans want to see for John Stewart is Idris Elba.

Idris Elba has finally come out and addressed the issue, by saying he’s interested in playing Green Lantern, which has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. More found on that here.

I think that’s great! Dissenters of having John Stewart appear in film have brought out that unless a big name Black actor is waiting to play the role, they don’t think a John Stewart film is viable… I guess because John is Black and White people wouldn’t want to see a movie with him, or something like that, which is complete hogwash and something I’ll address in more detail in a bit.

But, there you have it! Idris Elba, a very well acclaimed and respected Black actor, who fans all over the internet are dying to see as John Stewart, has specifically said he likes the idea of playing the Emerald Crusader.

I’ve been a fan of Idris Elba ever since I saw him in Obsessed, which features Ali Larter playing a fanatical woman who continually throws herself at him. I later saw him in Pacific Rim, a completely different type of movie, in which he plays Marshal Stacker Pentacost, a military commander. Idris Elba is a brilliant and very well rounded actor, who’s been acclaimed for every role he’s played, and I’m positive he’d do the character John Stewart justice.

However, Grace Randolph, host of the popular internet show, Beyond the Trailer, has put out the idea of using Chadwick Boseman to play John Stewart.

Idris

What I like about this option is it would present John Stewart as a younger character. In Pacific Rim, Elba’s character is a mentor type. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a “Magical Negro,” but he fits the role of an “Obi-Wan,” right down to his noble death.

That’s not what I want to see from John Stewart in a Green Lantern or Justice League movie. I would like to see John in an attractive leading man role. I’m positive Elba, who has also expressed interest in playing James Bond, can pull that off successfully, but I wouldn’t want him appearing as some kind of mentor beyond his prime, as he is in Pacific Rim.

As for other things I’d like to see, I’d like the movies to establish John Stewart as the Green Lantern, like Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe did, which means no buddy cop films featuring Hal Jordan or some other character as a co-star. I’d prefer if the cinematic universe did not make things convoluted by having an overabundance of characters called “Green Lantern” flying around. I’d love to see the aliens, but over-saturating the cinematic universe with Earthling Green Lanterns is a bad idea.

Idris

John Stewart deserves the attention. Have faith in the character and give him a shot, WB! Let him grow and develop on his own. Not in the shadow of some other character. Hal Jordan got a movie all to himself, why should John have to share the spotlight or title of Green Lantern with the lead character from a movie audiences rejected?

I’ve seen some Hal Jordan fans say they’re fine with John appearing, but that Hal Jordan should be introduced first with his own film. I don’t really care what the comic books say (and neither does the audience or the Justice League cartoons), I think that is a terrible idea. WB already sunk a fortune into Hal Jordan and lost all of it. Frankly, the character hasn’t earned the right to another movie, and I don’t think audiences need to be reminded of the last Green Lantern film. Besides, with that set up, it sounds like a sure way for John to be relegated to ‘Black sidekick,’ kind of like War Machine. At the very best, he’d be a ‘buddy.’ It would near completely eliminate any shot at John having a strong, attractive leading role, which is what fans want to see, as they’ve made clear.

I would like to see WB (and DC) give as much attention and care to John as they would one of their most precious leading White characters. Which means I don’t want to see him as a teammate, a sidekick, a buddy, or a supporting character. People want to see this character as THE DUDE! One reason I appreciate the Justice League cartoon so much is because John Stewart is presented on more or less equal footing with characters like Batman and Superman. That’s what we want to see!

What WB needs to realize if they haven’t already, is that, despite the best efforts of the Geoff Johns spearheaded campaign to secure Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, a lot of people see John Stewart as the Green Lantern. There is absolutely no reason why John Stewart should be lingering in Hal Jordan’s shadow, especially after large audiences rejected Hal Jordan and embraced John Stewart.

As of now, it’s going on 2014, and the President of the United States, put there by a country that’s primarily made up of White people, is Black. So, that can happen, but a strong Black lead in a super hero film is a preposterous notion? I’m not naive enough to think racism is dead and gone, but I have more faith in the audience than that, and I’m confident it would do much better than the Hal Jordan movie, with its White lead character.

WB and DC have a chance to capitalize on something that hasn’t been done by any of the recent string of Marvel movies, and that is present a strong Black character who stands on his own with a powerful and storied title – The Green Lantern.

Droves of people have expressed interest in wanting to see it, and an acclaimed, respected actor has expressed interest in playing the role, and who adamantly wants his own super hero film. The ball is in WB’s court. Will common sense prevail? Only time will tell, but we can take assurance in the fact that John Stewart’s role in comics has greatly improved within the past five months, so it seems DC and WB might be finally coming around. It’s a shame that it takes them having to lose 100 million dollars and suffer intense back lash when they try to kill their most popular Black superhero for that to happen… but better late than never, I suppose.

Above Idris Elba/Green Lantern John Stewart fan art by John Catalano.



  • Hudson Faber

    WOW. Not only is this awesome news. but I totally agree 100% with every point you make.

    Elba would be awesome in the role. AWESOME. And he has a huge following that would support this casting, which is helpful in just getting John to be the Green Lantern in the Justice League movie. Period. But like you, my only concern is his age. He’s not too old for the part, but they may try to go the magical negro route with him or try to kill him off because he’s older. Luckily, because Affleck is also older, I don’t think that would happen. I mean, he doesn’t want to be the only older member of the cast. RDJ and Ruffalo prove you don’t have to be a spring chicken either.

    That said, I have always supported Chadwick Boseman for the role–and by always I mean for the last 2 years, haha.

    Both of these actors would be awesome as John Stewart!

    • Hudson Faber

      Also, Elba and Affleck are the same age, while Cavill is younger. I have no doubt that Superman and Batman will be friends on screen, but I can also see the writers making Batman and Green Lantern close friends due to the similarity of their ages–like Iron Man and Hulk.

      We may even get some post-credits scenes like this in a Batman, Green Lantern, or Justice League film–

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fipxtLf_Jaw

      • Desh

        Yeah. Elba is a sure success, and he has such huge support. He’s undeniable. I think just him wanting to play Green Lantern will be difficult for WB to turn down. As such, I think I prefer Elba to Chadwick Boseman. I wonder if Elba already has something going on with the GL role. His tweet may have been some kind of hint. I hope so!

        • Hudson Faber

          Me too! Crossing my fingers, man.

  • Aktivizz

    WB and DC needs to hop on this before Marvel announces a Black Panther Movie.

    • Hudson Faber

      Right?

  • I am a huge supporter of the character of John Stewart. I had a custom made costume constructed so that I could portray him (John Stewart/Green Lantern) for the past half decade. And I have to tell you all that the reception that I received was phenomenal. So I could only imagine Idris Elba on big screen to be this character. His body of work is terrific. If any of you haven’t seen him in “Luthor”, then you all need to check it out. I have always supported DC comics with the Green Lantern corps. because they are the only superhero faction that has multi-species Green Lanterns. Tall, short, fat, skinny, beautiful, ugly, males, females, various races and backgrounds. It stemmed away from the stereotypical image of what creators have superheroes to be, and I don’t need to point it out because we all can see it. Caucasian characters, with great physiques, attractive features and of course have all the starring roles. So in that regard, DC comics became my favorite overall company as they gave exposure to the Green Lantern corps. and thus John Stewart became my favorite character. It’s just a shame that WB/DC has held this character back all because they want to maintain the status quo. Can’t any of you CEO’s see that it’s good for business to give the people what they want. Can’t you see that there’s more money that can be made by virtue of listening to what people want. Without the people all of you executives would be as unemployed as many millions of people out there. So when will you wake up and realize, that it’s all about the money and the bottom line, and the bottom line is that Hal Jordan had his run. You put him out there on the big screen and in the animated show and animated movie. and in the comics. However his time is up and John Stewart’s time is now! The people have spoken.

    P.S. Ignore the people and face the same consequences as you did with Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan.

    P.P.S. Idris Elba is showtime now, he is ratings and he is John Stewart…now make it happen.

    • Desh

      Hi Clyde!

      Good to hear from you. It’s always nice to meet more supporters of John Stewart!
      I think it is going to take an actor of Idris Elba’s credibility, talent, and support to make the Green Lantern name credible in the mainstream again. And John Stewart is not associated at all with the past failed Green Lantern projects. It’s a serious no-brainer to use John Stewart and cast Elba in the role. Now that it has gotten out that Elba wants to play John, and that so many people want him to do it, if WB chooses Hal Jordan (which I don’t think they will), I believe there will be a huge, huge backlash. Not only would it be a disappointment to fans, it would send a message that, no matter how bad and how many times the White character fails, the well accepted Black one will still never get a shot. I don’t think WB wants to risk going down that slippery slope.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • crandy

    The problem that non-comic people don’t understand about John Stewart is how lame he was in the comics until New 52 started. He had the least amount of feats, character development, no solo enemies to speak of, and has the worst personality of all the lanterns. The comic fan base is the reason that Green Lantern has been around as long as it has, not a saturday morning cartoon.

    “As for other things I’d like to see, I’d like the movies to establish John Stewart as the Green Lantern”

    This will never work for many reasons. 1.He has no solo movie potential. The only solo villain John Stewart has ever had is Fatality and he’s in a relationship with her now(this would be the most boring trilogy ever as he would be in a wheelchair for 1/2 of it). 2.His origin story is as follows: He was a marine…became an architect…became a Green Lantern…the end. Every other GL(including the new Simon Baz) has more backstory than John Stewart does. No one knows anything about his family, very little has been shown of what happened to him as a marine, what he built as an architect, or even what he does on his personal time. 4. If John Stewart is the Green Lantern they will have to completely rewrite the Green Lantern story. There will be no Sinestro, Krona, Nero, Major Force, Oblivion, Nekron, Black Hand, etc. Which means no Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night, War of the Green Lanterns, or basically any of the franchise stories/villians that make GL what it is.
    Now with all of that said, I would love to see John Stewart be brought to life in the movies. I would also like to see Guy Gardner(my personal favorite) and Kyle Rayner as well. John Stewart would be perfect for the Justice League movies because of his military background and his tactical ability. However, as you said a friend of yours stated, this can’t happen without Hal Jordan being introduced first. And since the first GL bombed and the fact that all recent DC media has featured Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern(Injustice, GL First Flight, Emerald Knights, Justice League War, Justice League Doom, Flashpoint, JL Infinite Crisis game, etc.) we will see Hal Jordan again.

  • Desh Derringer

    I’m curious to know what Green Lantern comics with John Stewart you’ve read. I’m not asking to know each and every one, but which runs would be good to know. I’ve said this to others, but those exacting details of comic book lore really aren’t important to most people, and films aren’t beholden to them. Yes, a John Stewart movie can have Krona, Sinestro, and so on. It can also have the Manhunters, Despero, Spider Guild, and many, MANY other antagonists. If you’re expecting comic book movies to follow the source material to a T and retell stories you’re familiar with with exacting detail, I think you’re going to be quite disappointed.

    Much of the recent DC media you mentioned was released with the hope that the Green Lantern movie would be a success. Obviously there was a plan to heavily showcase Hal Jordan, and it takes a while for all of those efforts to run their course before gears are switched. For example, I don’t know when Justice League War went into production, but it was probably quite a while ago, before DC could have decided to switch gears. Be patient and see what the future has in store. I have a feeling that come summer, we’ll have a better idea which way things will go.

    Speaking of recent DC media, do you find it suspicious that the very latest DTV movie -JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time- does NOT feature Hal Jordan? Do you find it strange that numerous big name stars, like Elba, The Rock, and Chadwick Boseman, have turned their attention specifically to John Stewart? Don’t you think it’s weird that something like that could happen, yet we haven’t heard a peep about Hal Jordan? Given that, the flop of the GL film, and the huge fan support for John Stewart, I would not count John Stewart out just yet. But, of course, do as you will.

    • crandy

      I have read/own every Green Lantern comic printed from just before The Death of Superman(1992) till now. That includes Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, The New Guardians, Red Lanterns, Larfleeze and all Annuals. I have read a some before that, and have digital/scanned comics all the way back to Alan Scott being the only Green Lantern(1950’s) but have yet to read all of them.

      You are right. They could use any antagonist they wanted to. My point in saying they shouldn’t is they will be using other characters stories to make John Stewart more likable, more interesting, better suited for a role, etc. With that being the case why not just use the lantern whose story it actually is? Like I said before I can’t remember 1 time before New 52 where John Stewart has been solo doing anything except sitting on a piece of Xanshi. And in every event, New 52 included, he has never shown to be in any major role. This includes Rebirth, Recharge, Sinestro Corps War, Infinite Crisis, Blackest Night, Brightest Day, War of the Green Lanterns, Rise of the Third Army, Wrath of the First Lantern, and even the latest Relic series.

      I do give him props in War of the Green Lanterns in that he blew up Mogo knowing no one else would do it. This was the start of John Stewart becoming interesting. That was in 2011. That was 2 decades reading about a guy doing nothing to stand out. Yes he was in a wheelchair for probably 5 of those years. But coincidentally this was the most interesting part about him as he was co-mentoring Kyle and developing his love/hate relationship with Fatality.

      I’m not at all counting John Stewart out yet. I’m not counting any of them out yet. I would personally like to see all of them on screen as stated before. But if they are only going to go with 1 lantern(which would be stupid considering the franchise potential GL has on the big screen), it should not be John Stewart. I suppose they could give him a different personality, give him other peoples stories, and make him a more interesting character. . Which anyone who has read GL comics for even a couple of months knows this is not true. Also, his popularity you mentioned is based solely on 2 cartoons. I don’t think that 5 year generation gap of cartoon watchers accounts for even 10% of the people who want to see a good GL movie on screen.

      Also, if you look at most of the people who want to see John Stewart(youtube, forums, any form of GL blog or article really) they want him because he is a good candidate for a superhero who is not white. That is the dumbest reason to cast someone. What does his skin color have anything to do with his feats, stories, or in general with him being a GL? Absolutely nothing. And if race is the only thing that matters what about Simon Baz? To this day more is known about Simon’s history, family, and personality than John Stewart. Plus he is just starting out, which would fit in perfectly with Man of Steel since Superman just started too. How about Jessica Cruz so we can get rid of the monotony of sausage fest superhero groups? My point being is basing casting a person because of race/sex alone is not only racist/sexist, but also stupid. You think if Blade was changed to a white guy it would have been any more/less successful? If Hal Jordan was changed to John Stewart in the first GL movie would it have been any more successful(these are rhetorical questions btw)? Writers, directors, actors, producers, etc. will always be the reason a movie succeeds or fails. Not race/sex.

      • Desh Derringer

        Well, I’ll try to sum it up as easily and concisely as I can. John Stewart is recognized by far more people than Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and Simon Baz. Perhaps even more than Hal Jordan. Hal Jordan is recognized primarily for being the lead character in a horrible movie, so his reputation with general audiences isn’t the best.

        I believe the main reason people want to see John Stewart is because they like him.

        If you feel John Stewart has not done anything, here is a list of things to check out:

        The Len Wein and Steve Englehart runs of Green Lantern and The Green Lantern Corps.

        Gerard Jones’ Green Lantern: Mosaic

        Bruce Timm’s Justice League and Justice League Unlimited

        Van Jensen’s Green Lantern Corps

        People really don’t care much about feats, who’s villains are who’s, and things like that (especially not the general audience). They care most about what characters they like and know. People like John Stewart and many people know him. That’s why they want to see him. It’s really that simple. Hal Jordan can have all the villains in the world, but from what we’ve seen, mainstream projects headlined by him haven’t fared very well.

        Also note, JL/JLU is still being aired on network television today, so it’s not like it’s one generation and people have altogether stopped watching it. John Stewart still has the biggest stage and audience of all the GL’s, even now.