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HBO Max's Green Lantern Series - Everything You Need To Know

You'd think one of DC's most famous heroes would have an easy time leaping from the comic book page to the big screen, but in the case of Green Lantern, you'd be wrong. For example, the notorious 2011 Ryan Reynolds movie — focusing on the Hal Jordan version of the character — is often hailed as one of the very worst superhero films

However, in 2019, it was announced the green-clad crimefighter would get a second lease on life with the news of a Green Lantern TV series headed to HBO Max. We got a lot of promises about this show (e.g. that it would be the "biggest DC show ever made," that it would focus on multiple Lanterns), but while the HBO Max series is still moving forward, it's getting a major overhaul. So what changes can we expect to see? Read on for everything we know about the Green Lantern HBO Max series, aka "Lanterns."

When will HBO Max's Lanterns be released?

HBO Max's Green Lantern series has been a slow-moving beast. The show was first reported on in 2019 (via Variety), before HBO Max had even officially launched. We're assuming that — like every other superhero property — the series' progress was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive shutdowns that occurred in 2020. Even so, we've been tapping our collective toe and checking our watch for a bit, wondering when the series might see the green light of brightest day.

Then, in October 2022, there was a massive shake-up for the series. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. and DC were basically tossing out the original premise and starting from scratch. We later learned in January 2023 that new DCU heads, James Gunn and Peter Safran, had completely retooled the show, parted ways with original producer Greg Berlanti, and given the series its official name — "Lanterns." The series' new direction sounds very promising, but as a result of these changes, we don't know when the show will premiere. According to James Gunn, it seems like "Lanterns" will debut sometime after "Superman: Legacy" is released, and that film is flying into theaters on July 11, 2025.

What's the plot of the Green Lantern series?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the original incarnation of HBO Max's Green Lantern series would've focused on at least three different Lanterns — Guy Gardner, Alan Scott, and Sojourner Mullein — in three different timelines. However, they wouldn't have been the only heroes, as we would've seen many of the other members of the Green Lantern Corp., including Simon Baz, Jessica Cruz, and Kilowog, as well as Sinestro (via Variety).

The show would've reportedly gone to space and would've had a budget of $120 million, resulting in the show's then-producer, Greg Berlanti, calling it the "biggest DC show ever made" (via The Hollywood Reporter). However, now that the series is being majorly overhauled and DC has parted ways with Berlanti, the focus has completely shifted. Originally, it was reported that the series would be about Lantern John Stewart. Then, in January 2023, we learned that while Stewart will be sticking around, he'll be accompanied by Hal Jordan.

With these two heroes working together, DCU heads Peter Safran and James Gunn plan on emulating a very popular police procedural. "[Greg Berlanti's] vision was more of a space opera that he wanted to do," Safran explained. "Our vision for this is very much in the vein of 'True Detective.'" Gunn went on to elaborate, saying (via ComingSoon.net), "We find this ancient horror on Earth, and these guys are basically supercops on 'Precinct Earth.'" It also seems that the events of "Lanterns" will help set up a new direction for the DCU, especially with the first chapter of this new slate of projects, which is being called "Gods and Monsters."

Who's in the cast of Lanterns?

During the original incarnation of the series — before James Gunn and Peter Safran were put in charge of the DCU — actors Finn Witrock and Jeremy Irvine had signed onto the project. Wittrock is best known for playing in movies like "Unbroken" and TV series like "Ratched" and "American Horror Story," and he would've starred in the Green Lantern series as Guy Gardner. The role of Alan Scott would've gone to Jeremy Irvine, who made his feature film debut in Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" and went on to star in projects like "Great Expectations" and "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."

Of course, we're getting a very different version of the HBO show now, and as for who'll play John Stewart or Hal Jordan, there have been no casting developments on that front yet. Will the showrunners choose established stars to fill those green boots? Or will this be a huge moment for some up-and-coming actors to shine? One thing we know for sure is that these TV stars will eventually make the jump to the big screen, with Peter Safran explaining (via The Hollywood Reporter), "Anyone we cast as John Stewart and Hal Jordan, they will then cross over into the movie side of things."