How HBO’s Green Lantern Can Fix The First Live-Action Guy Gardner Mistakes


Finn Wittrock will get to bring Guy Gardner to life on HBO Max’s Green Lantern, fixing the mistakes with the first live-action of Guy in the 90s.

With Finn Wittrock set to star in HBO Max’s Green Lantern series as Guy Gardner, the show can finally fix the big mistakes the first live-action depiction of the character did in the late 1990s. The Green Lantern Corps are on their way to the streaming screen on HBO Max, featuring multiple Emerald Knights from the comics. One of the characters who will be leading Green Lantern is Guy Gardner, the lovable heroic jerk who has been a prominent figure since his creation in 1968. Wittrock, best known for his work on American Horror Story, was recently cast as Guy, with other members yet to be cast. While this will be the first time in the 21st century Guy is part of a live-action project like Green Lantern, Wittrock won’t be the first actor to play him.

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In 1997, CBS attempted to do a Justice League TV show, which would never be possible today, going as far as not even letting the Arrowverse use the name. Justice League of America starred heroes like Barry Allen, Ray Palmer, Tora Olafsdotter, B.B. DaCosta, J’onn J’onzz, and Guy Gardner as The Flash, The Atom, Ice, Fire, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern, respectively. The pilot aired as a TV movie on December 28, 1997, but was a critical bomb. From the poor VFX to the weird concept of having Justice League of America as a dramedy, the show never went forward. Picture the Arrowverse meets Modern Family, The Office, or Parks and Recreation if the superheroes were being interviewed by a camera crew.

Related: Every Green Lantern Plan In Zack Snyder’s Justice League Trilogy

Matthew Settle played Guy in the ’90s pilot as his depiction was one of the stranger aspects of the flopped show. What Justice League of America did with its iteration of Guy was essentially use his name only, while combining various traits of other Green Lanterns. Guy never wears a mask in his other depictions, for starters, but Settle’s character on the show did with the disguise looking very much like Kyle Rayner in this incarnation. Settle’s characterization is also tonally similar to Kyle, but also more in-line with Hal Jordan. Rather than being cocky and a loudmouth, Guy was surprisingly written and performed as very mild-mannered.

Justice League of America - 1997 - Atom, Green Lantern, Flash, Fire, Ice

While Guy’s profession before becoming a Green Lantern has changed in the comics, being a software salesman was not of them, which was the case in the CBS pilot. The only accurate thing about Settle’s Green Lantern was that they incorporated Guy’s sleeveless vest, but that was about it. Justice League of America also didn’t do their Guy any favors with the poor VFX budget, making his energy constructs look incredibly cheesy. That was the first and last time Guy was ever portrayed in live-action, which is now being rectified with HBO Max’s Green Lantern show.

Although, this take on Guy was only one of the big problems with the entire conception of the series. Following the late ’90s take on the Green Lantern, Wittrock’s depiction of Guy will be more accurate. HBO Max describes Wittrock’s character as “a hulking mass of masculinity” while also representing “an embodiment of 1980s hyper-patriotism,” but despite those qualities, there is something likable about Guy, per the casting. Unlike the CBS show, the new project will actually have high production value and writing that will tackle Guy more seriously. Green Lantern will be able to fix the errors that Justice League of America did with him in 1997.

Next: Justice League: Why The Snyder Cut Ending Needed Green Lantern

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