Michael B. Jordan to Play Green Lantern John Stewart?

on February 24, 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, will keep you up to speed.

Oa, by the way

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.

14 responses to “Michael B. Jordan to Play Green Lantern John Stewart?”

  1. Hudson Faber says:

    If John isn’t the main GL in the DCCU, then I don’t care about the DCCU. ‘Nuff said.

    • Aktivizz says:

      ^Mainly this.

      But here’s my thing. I actually like Cyborg in the new 52, I just don’t like all the sacrifices made to get him this status. My Justice League lineup would be: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (John Stewart) The Flash (Barry Allen because of the DC push), Cyborg, and another female. I hope there is some truth to this rumor but I just really want John Stewart to be well represented in these movies.

  2. Hudson Faber says:

    Hopefully Elba or Jordan or Boseman or Kojoe is cast as Stewart.

    • Desh says:

      You don’t like the prospect of The Rock taking the role? And I’m with you guys. If John isn’t the GL, I have no interest in the films. There’s just no good business reason to use Hal Jordan, especially when the biggest actor in Hollywood wants to play John Stewart. It’s would be a slap in the face to all the people who want to see John to keep pushing Hal Jordan on an audience that showed dislike, or, at best, apathy towards him.

      • Hudson Faber says:

        Right on. As for actors, my preferences are Elba, Jordan, Johnson (Rock), Kodjoe… I would LOVE to see the Rock as JS though.

    • Desh says:

      Cool! Thanks for posting that. That third image is a really good Justice League lineup. That might even be my ideal one, except I’m not so sure about Aqua Man, because his power-set is pretty limited.

      An art section would be a really good idea. Perhaps I’ll see about opening one.

  3. Hudson Faber says:

    Maybe you can set up an art section?

  4. anonsaga says:

    Let me first say that I would be ecstatic if DC started using John Stewart as their main GL in these upcoming movies. That being said, I think Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) ‘might’ make a fine John Stewart. After all, he’s got name recognition, star power, good looks and charisma. However, I agree with Devin Faraci (writer of the Badass Digest article) when he suggests that the image The Rock has cultivated over the years would seem an odd match against the character and backstory of John Stewart. To borrow the rather eloquent words of this very website,

    “John Stewart is introspective, yet outspoken. He’s sensitive, yet very strong. He’s intelligent and philosophical. Pragmatic, yet always dreaming of better ways to build things.”

    I personally just don’t get this vibe from The Rock, nor from any of the characters I’ve seen him play in movies. Also, his star power could be potentially problematic if it isn’t properly balanced with the rest of the cast.

    Although I think it ‘could’ work, I don’t think The Rock would be the best choice for the reasons mentioned above, but, for the sake of hearing other opinions, I’ll tackle the issue of his shade as well. I’ll start with a simple question: did you know Kyle Rayner is half-Mexican? Perhaps not. After all, there’s nothing about Kyle Rayner that is distinctly Mexican. He doesn’t have Mexican features. I don’t think he’s ever spoken a word of Spanish. He doesn’t seem to have any cultural cues that suggest a Mexican heritage. If he does have any cultural ties to Mexico they are de-emphasized. In fact, the only way that one would know that Kyle Rayner is half-Mexican is if one were told such. That’s another problem I have with The Rock. We ‘know’ The Rock is black but he ‘looks’ ambiguously brown; John Stewart, on the other hand, looks black. The problem I have with ‘ambiguously brown’ is that the viewer can decide who they want that character to be– African, Hispanic, Native American, Indian, even a Caucasian with a really dark tan. John Stewart, on the other hand is unmistakably black. There’s no ambiguity about it. It’s personal preference, I realize, but I would prefer an actor with features that make Dwayne McDuffie’s ‘Rule of 3’ apply.

    (Personally, I’ve always thought Dwayne Johnson’s looks and build are more suited for the character, Black Adam, but that’s just me.)

    • Corey A Lee says:

      “did you know Kyle Rayner is half-Mexican? Perhaps not. After all, there’s nothing about Kyle Rayner that is distinctly Mexican. He doesn’t have Mexican features. I don’t think he’s ever spoken a word of Spanish. He doesn’t seem to have any cultural cues that suggest a Mexican heritage. If he does have any cultural ties to Mexico they are de-emphasized. In fact, the only way that one would know that Kyle Rayner is half-Mexican is if one were told such.”

      Thank you so much for this. I have had to explain this to people that say that Kyle is a Hispanic minority Green Lantern. To me Kyle is white. Adding Mexican blood to his history years later after his debut makes him a minority in name only.

      Prime example, if that retoconned Hal’s backstory to say that his grandfather was Cuban, does that make him Cuban? No, it doesn’t. The character identifies as white. Kyle identifies as white. John identifies as black.

  5. anonsaga says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Snyder was looking for “a physically fit Black male actor in his early twenties” to play the role of CYBORG. I could be wrong, but I’m still of the opinion that DC is bound and determined to keep John Stewart’s star down. I believe any evidence to the contrary (ex. Green Lantern Corps, rumors to include Stewart in the cinematic JL universe) is the direct result of fan support. The status quo will be restored the moment fans falter.

    It makes sense for DC to use John Stewart in the cinematic universe and I sincerely hope they do but The New52 gives me reason to worry. If DC is trying to push The New52 into the cinematic universe, as I fear they are, there will be no place for John Stewart. At all. I seriously doubt that executives who aren’t intelligent enough to understand the importance of diversifying the female archetype of their Justice League with the addition of another female character, would also be the types willing to make two of seven of the world’s greatest heroes black guys. I like Cyborg well enough as a Teen Titan but NOT as a member of the Big7. As a founding member, he becomes interchangeable. Mainstays on the Justice League are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and The Flash. The other two spots have historically been peripheral and interchangeable and one of those spots would be filled by Cyborg. I won’t support that kind of nonsense. Just as you said, it is disingenuous diversity and the nefarious motivations behind it are crystal clear.

    Fans just have to continue to be persistent in throwing support John Stewart’s way.

    • Desh Derringer says:

      All of those are great points, anon. Completely valid!

      As for John Stewart’s personality not fitting with The Rock’s, I agree that what I’ve seen from The Rock is not at all reminiscent of John Stewart’s character. However, I don’t want to assume like I know all the roles The Rock can play. He’s an actor, and I assume that he’d be able to play a different sort of role than what he’s usually cast as.

      As far as The Rock’s looks, you bring up another totally valid point. Just to get it totally out there up front, The Rock doesn’t look like a full Black person, and John Stewart does. True. I guess that just becomes an issue of what each individual will accept as “Black enough” and what they won’t. But it is very interesting to hear different views on this subject.

      The biggest thing The Rock brings to John Stewart is immense star power. Honestly, I DO want to see the John Stewart character totally take off. I’d like cartoons, merchandise, and for Hal Jordan to stop being force fed to us, and I think The Rock is a good bet for making this happen.

      The Rock as Green Lantern would totally level Hal Jordan and Ryan Reynolds, to where John Stewart would indisputably be THE Green Lantern. That is what I want to
      see. Call me selfish, or what you will, but nine years of Geoff Johns and his Hal Jordan fetish, and his John Stewart burying has made me this way. It’s brought some of us to the point where we just have to yell out “WE DO NOT WANT THAT! WE WANT JOHN STEWART!”

      The New 52 hasn’t been entirely unkind to John Stewart. It’s been in the New 52 where he’s gotten his first solo series in twenty years. I know the New 52 Justice League started out with Hal Jordan being there, but he is currently not a part of the roster.

      Believe me, I understand your trepidation, and it’s well founded, but much of the Hal Jordan push went on before and during the period of the Green Lantern film and cartoon series. WB has seen the results of the Hal Jordan projects, and they’re not impressive. WB has even been called racist by many folks for casting a White guy as Green Lantern, and I’m sure they don’t want that. Given all the news, rumors, fan support, and rising profile of John in comics, I actually do believe they’re going to change directions and use him in the films.

      And yeah, fans need to keep supporting John Stewart and tell DC and WB that he does have a strong fanbase, that we’re tired of how they’ve screwed the character around so they can promote Hal Jordan, and that John’s the Green Lantern WE want! They need to realize that John Stewart’s fanbase and influence from the Justice League cartoons is too large to ignore, and bigger than anything Hal Jordan has to his credit. They’ve tried Hal Jordan stuff. It hasn’t worked. They’d do well to back John Stewart more, which it seems like they may be doing.

      • anonsaga says:

        Using Dwayne Johnson’s immense star power to John Stewart’s advantage is a point I hadn’t previously considered. Though I may not have articulated it well, my concern was simply about the impact uneven casting could have on the storyline. Nevertheless, you are right that the more attention John Stewart receives the better.

        As for whether DC is changing direction and truly trying to give John Stewart an honest-to-goodness shot instead of the status-quo “day-in-the-sun” treatment that minority characters often get — I still wait with ‘trepidation’, but for the most part, you’ve convinced me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *