The Strength of Stewart: Returning an Iconic Green Lantern to Life

United we stand, divided we fall. We’ve heard that phrase numerous instances all through our lives, however after watching Green Lantern: Beware My Power, it appears to tackle a deeper which means. The current DC Universe animated film, which is now accessible on HBO Max, tells the story of an intergalactic struggle between the planets Rann and Thanagar. John Stewart, a veteran making an attempt to overlook the horrors of Earth’s wars, finds himself thrust within the center of this battle when he’s chosen to be the following Green Lantern. As you possibly can think about, it is a lot to absorb.

“Obviously, he’s a reluctant Lantern,” supervising producer Butch Lukic says, discussing the movie’s authentic tackle Stewart. “He’s learning and the ring is telling him information that he has to grasp before he can understand how it’s used and what it’s used for.”

Often described as probably the most highly effective weapon within the DC Universe, a Green Lantern ring brings with it some vital duty and the connection between Stewart and his new ring could be very a lot on the coronary heart of the movie.

“We’ve read a lot of Green Lantern comics, and they always gloss over that part where the space ring comes down and starts to talk to you,” explains co-screenwriter Ernie Altbacker. “Mostly it’s over in a page or two. We wanted to make more of a meal out of that.”

Adds director Jeff Wamester, “What we wanted to do with Green Lantern was throw him into a situation that he had never been through. One of those things was being exposed to something that has to teach you how to do stuff.”

From the very starting, the filmmakers realized it was important that they get John Stewart proper, since he was not just one of their favourite characters, however one of a very powerful heroes within the DC Universe.

“That was the most exciting part about it—being able to tell the story of someone that hadn’t really had their history told and giving them real weight,” shares Wamester. “Batman is a good example. We know exactly what motivates him. We know exactly what brought him to where he is and why he’s there. No one has really done that with Green Lantern in the animated universe.”

“He is DC’s first real Black superhero,” co-screenwriter John Semper is fast to remind us. “For a whole generation of kids who watched Justice League on TV, he is their Green Lantern, so I think this is long overdue.”

John’s army background, one thing that was effectively established in his earlier animated iteration, proved to be a giant driving level for his character growth on this movie.

“John has got a unique upbringing,” muses Altbacker. “With are a lot of superheroes, for some reason you need to be rich or very well connected. He comes from the inner city and he had military experience, which gave him PTSD. I think that’s very unique.”

Black Adam’s Aldis Hodge, who voices John Stewart on this movie, can relate. The baby of two Marines, Hodge was born on a army base, a background that helped him perceive the character he’s voicing.

“People go into service because of who they are as people and what they value,” he shares. “They’re human beings—people with real hopes, drives and desires. You pull from the human aspect of figuring out and building who he is, what his personality is, as opposed to a caricature of that.”

“His emotions drive the ring,” inserts Lukic. “Instead of a straight beam that shoots out constructs, it’s jagged and rough, because he’s just learning at this point. Plus, his PTSD is probably carrying through his emotions. What he creates with the constructs is what his sense is at the time, which is dealing with his problems with the war in Afghanistan.”

Green Lantern: Beware My Power is greater than an origin story for John Stewart, nevertheless. It’s a redemption story that enables Stewart to put his previous behind him in a journey that has echoes of his related path within the comics.

“The ring represents his new path, potential and faith,” Hodge says. “The ring chooses him before he chooses it. In this story, he has to go through figuring out whether or not he wants to accept this new destiny, and whether he wants to really step up to his own true potential. I love the fact that he goes through that, because he’s already a superhero before he puts on the ring. The ring chose him because he’s a hero.”

Of course, each hero wants their very own tremendous pals. John is joined by Green Arrow, Hawkgirl and Adam Strange. However, don’t anticipate this group of heroes to begin out as super-buddies. Green Arrow is nice pals with Hal Jordan, John Stewart’s Green Lantern predecessor, for instance. So, how does he really feel when somebody reveals up together with his good friend’s ring?

“First, it’s alarm,” admits Jimmi Simpson, who voices Green Arrow. “Then it’s wrapping your mind around replacing your friend. But you have to, and that’s where that buddy pic act comes in.”

Simpson acknowledges that in a world of intergalactic area battles, Oliver Queen is perhaps out of his depth, however he rapidly reminds us not to rely the Emerald Archer out. “That’s classic Green Arrow right there,” he says. “Everybody else has their souped up stuff, but I’ll figure it out. It’s weird to have Green Arrow in space, but like every other situation he’s thrust into, he figures it out. He’s kind of like the MacGyver of superheroes to me.”

“Very early on, it was decided that this wasn’t going to be the traditional Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman situation,” Semper remembers. “We had one meeting where (producer) Jim Krieg just said, ‘Let’s not go there. Who else can we use?’”

“We didn’t want to have the big three in this one, because then John Stewart becomes a bit player in his own origin story,” echoes Altbacker. “Having Oliver Queen does two things. John is kind of intense and we have PTSD. It’s not a laugh riot. Jimmi Simpson playing Green Arrow could be a little bit of levity. He’s the most unsuited person to take into space. He has a bow and arrow. Sometimes writers do like to give themselves a challenge.”

If Green Arrow introduced levity to the story, then Hawkgirl introduced pressure.

“Hawkgirl is integral to the story,” says Semper. “I’m very happy that she’s in it. She’s a strong female presence. She provides a tremendous amount of conflict, and that’s where we get a lot of drama from.”

The thought of teaming up with the opposite heroes is one thing Hawkgirl is initially opposed to. “I don’t think she wants to, but what makes the story compelling is that she’s forced to work with her enemies,” reveals Jamie Gray Hyder, the voice of Hawkgirl within the movie. “She’s forced to reconcile with the fact that she might have something in common with them, and that they may actually have common goals, as it turns out.”

The presence of Adam Strange causes some battle with Hawkgirl, since each heroes are on reverse sides of the Rann and Thanagar struggle.

“They meet, they’re on opposite sides of the war,” shares Adam Strange voice actor Brian Bloom. “They don’t trust each other, but Adam Strange knows something that Hawkgirl doesn’t know. I think everybody in this story is on shaky ground with one another until they finally realize that the enemy of my enemy scenario is being brought to bear here. There is a lot of mistrust, a lot of misunderstanding, and they all need to overcome that to solve this problem.”

This movie helped give the actors a deeper appreciation for the DC Universe.

“It’s an honor, but once you realize she’s a badass that has existed since 1940, it becomes a bit daunting,” admits Hyder, earlier than including, “That’s what was so amazing when I was doing research, I didn’t realize that she had been around that long. To know that there is eighty years of history that you need to honor while also putting your own take on it as an artist can be challenge. With passionate fans like the DC fanbase, you just have to strive to do the best job that you can and hope that it resonates with people who have lived in this world for that long.”

Of course, having the fitting performers is essential, however they’re solely half of the combination. The relaxation falls on the writing and manufacturing group. Reassuringly for John Stewart followers, within the case of Green Lantern: Beware My Power, they appear greater than effectively fitted to the duty.

“What’s fun is getting the right characters in the same room at the same time,” admits Semper. “The friction that’s caused or the attractions that result—that’s what makes it worthwhile. If you’ve got good strong characters, which these are, you end up with a really great scene, a really great subplot, and a really good movie.”
 

Green Lantern: Beware My Power is now streaming on HBO Max and can also be accessible on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, films and comics for DCComics.com, is a daily contributor to the Couch Club and writes our month-to-month Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.

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