The Green Lantern Comedy Movie That Almost Happened (With Lantern Jack Black)
While there were comedic elements in the Green Lantern movie that recently hit theaters, the concept for the movie was far more ambitious in the humor department back in 2004, when Warner Bros actually planned to make Green Lantern a straight up comedy film. In an interview at Vanity Fair, Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan O'Brian writer Robert Smiegel discusses the Green Lantern screenplay he was hired to write, where the classic origin story plays out a little differently remember: Rather than choosing Hal Jordan, the ring malfunctions and selects a reality TV star (intended to be played by Jack Black) to wield its power.
According to Vanity Fair, the screenplay was shelved after backlash from fans. So how good or bad was it? The first draft of the script is online, so you can judge for yourself.Although Smiegel was only initially familiar with Green Lantern from cartoons he had watched in childhood, he then immersed himself in the comics and found a lot to work with in the realm of comedy, particularly the physical comedy of being able to create anything you can imagine:
Basically just the premise that the wrong guy gets the ring and can do all kinds of goofy visual jokes-because the visuals are so potentially ridiculous. What appealed to me about it on a comedic level was that, in order to be a superhero, this requires no physical skill or talent. All it requires is owning this ring. Automatically, that's a comedic premise.
His screenplay drew (very loosely) from the 1989 Green Lantern Story Emerald Dawn, which retold the origin story of Hal Jordan after Crisis on Infinite Earths redefined the DC Universe. That tale has, of course, been retconned again since then, notably in Green Lantern: Secret Origin by writer Geoff Johns, a story that was used as a source for the actual Green Lantern movie.
Smiegel also discusses one gem of a gag where, after physically pushing the earth out of its orbit to avoid a yellow asteroid and causing terrible natural disasters across the globe, Green Lantern Jack Black fixes everything by simply creating a Superman construct with his ring and letting him take care of everything:
It's something he can only fix by reversing time so I thought, Oh, yeah, he could just conjure up Superman, because he's seen that movie. [Laughs.] You've run out of abilities, so you conjure up the best superhero that exists and let him solve the problem. Then the whole sequel could just be him sitting around watching the green Superman do everything. The laziest Green Lantern in history.
Would you have been down with a Green Lantern comedy? After reading the screenplay do you wish it had made it to the big screen, or are you glad it went in a different direction?