GREEN LANTERN: BEWARE MY POWER Producer Butch Lukic On Long Wait For The Movie And Future Plans (Exclusive)

Green Lantern: Beware My Power Supervising Producer Butch Lukic shares some fascinating insights into this new movie, including why it's been a long time coming and future plans for the Justice League...

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In Green Lantern: Beware My Power, recently discharged Marine sniper John Stewart (Aldis Hodge) is at a crossroads in his life, one which is only complicated by receiving an extraterrestrial ring which grants him the powers of the Green Lantern of Earth.

Unfortunately, the ring doesn’t come with instructions - but it does come with baggage, like a horde of interplanetary killers bent on eliminating every Green Lantern in the universe. Now, with the aid of the light-hearted Green Arrow (Jimmi Simpson), Adam Strange (Brian Bloom) and Hawkgirl, this reluctant soldier must journey into the heart of a galactic Rann/Thanagar war and somehow succeed where all other Green Lanterns have failed. 

We recently sat down for a conversation with the movie's Supervising Producer, Butch Lukic. Having overseen Superman: Man of Tomorrow, Justice Society: World War II, and Batman: The Long Halloween, he's very much the man in charge of the DC Animated Universe right now, and someone we're sure you'll be familiar with.

A longtime collaborator of Bruce Timm, Butch shared heaps of fascinating insights into the making of Green Lantern: Beware My Power during our interview, including why now was the right time to focus on John Stewart and what this DC Animated Universe may be building to. He also reveals how 2011's Green Lantern sidelined the character and explains why they decided to shift focus from Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. 

Check out what Butch had to tell us about this latest DCAU adventure below: 
 

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It feels like this Green Lantern movie is long overdue, so I’m guessing it was an exciting project to put together as a producer?

Yeah. Look, we put this together more than two years ago before COVID hit and everything went into lockdown. We’d already started this production, but lockdown came around two months later and we continued to work on it at home and finally finished it. It’s the first movie we ever did fully working remotely. 

After the past couple of years with everything that’s been happening in the world, what does it mean to you that Green Lantern: Beware My Power will premiere in front of fans at San Diego Comic-Con? 

I think that’s great. We finally get to put one of our movies up on a Friday night so fans can sit there and watch it on the big screen. That’s the first time with this batch of films we get to do that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it for Batman: The Long Halloween because we were on lockdown. 

You mentioned having to make the movie during lockdown, so what have you learned from that and do you think more work will be done remotely moving forward? 

To be honest, from the voice recording side, we ended up finding a really good studio that could get the equipment to the actors in their homes. The set-up was really good and the team worked with them on an internet feed. It all worked out as far as the sound quality and everything, and even the animation. We generally do that from overseas, anyway, so it was easy. That’s pretty much the same thing. Mixing was a learning process. I got to go in for the final mixing to check the final product before we let it be released, so it was tough, but we collaborated, worked things out, and got through it. 

We found a system that works. Editing was a whole other thing because you had to rely on internet speed to make sure the animation was running smoothly, but we figured out a process for that too. The biggest thing was that the studio found out from us working at home we became more efficient. No one was taking lunch breaks or tied up in a commute from home to work. Everything got done on time more than ever before as we were previously always late or behind schedule. In the long term for us, animation - because we’re all artists and you work solitarily, anyway - wasn’t hard to master from home. We started only speaking once or twice a week, because everyone is busy designing characters, doing storyboards, or painting backgrounds. You can’t keep bugging them as you would if they were in the studio walking around hanging out. It became an easier process for them to work at home and get their stuff done. 

For me, I had to be in multiple meetings all day talking to everyone in different groups, so it was a case of keeping everyone motivated and on the path we need to take these things, like making sure it stays within style and the story retains its cinematic look. We got through it and learned the dos and don’ts, and it seems to have worked so we continued from there with the next movie. 

We’ve seen Green Lantern as a supporting character in recent years, so why was now the right time to tell John Stewart’s story? 

For me and Jim [Krieg], when we worked out the films we were going to do and what characters we wanted to bring forward, Green Lantern was one we knew needed to have his own movie. It was always John Stewart because for me, and a lot of fans who grew up watching Justice League Unlimted, he’s their Green Lantern. He’s the one I worked on all those years ago, so it was easy to keep John Stewart in mind for this film. 

Was there ever a sense that Green Lantern was off-limits for a while in terms of being a lead character after that 2011 movie didn’t do all that well? 

That was the thing. Back when we discussed it with Jim Lee and the other guys at DC we said, ‘Well, are we ready to put out a Green Lantern story again?’ It’s been more than 10 years since what happened with the Green Lantern movie and the bad taste it left in everyone’s mouth. It’s like 10 years, you know, it’s time! I’m glad. Honestly, we probably could have done a Green Lantern movie earlier than this because John Stewart was in The New 52 and still around in the comics, as were the Green Lanterns. Again, having him as a lead in the film was something they probably weren’t ready for until now. 
 

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We often hear fans complaining about too much Batman and Superman, so was it a deliberate decision on your part to sideline them and bring in the likes of Green Arrow and Hawkgirl?

Absolutely. Wonder Woman was obviously in the Justice Society movie and Superman had a little cameo but we knew we had to get some movies without them and Batman. Originally, our intention for this movie was that it would be more like Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil’s road trip comics where they travelled across the U.S. with Green Lantern and Green Arrow showing them becoming friends as they travelled across the country. Due to what we needed from this story and to get it to something more epic, I wanted to get it to space as soon as possible. So, that whole road story travelogue wasn’t going to work. If we’re going to do that, that’s a lot of backgrounds to do for a bunch of different states that they’re travelling through. It’s a lot of work that people don’t notice, so I knew we had to into space where the action was. Plus, space is a lot easier to deal with when you have to do multiple setups! That’s part of the reason we didn’t decide to go Earthbound for most of the movie. 

It must have still been fun to explore that Green Lantern/Green Arrow dynamic on a road trip through the cosmos, though?

Right! And then Jim came up with the idea of, ‘If we’re going to do that, we’ll base it on Apocalypse Now.’ The ship they’re on is like a boat and they’re travelling through this war going on. He set that up based on what I did with the DC Showcase Adam Strange short a few years ago. 

Something that’s always fun about these movies for me is how iconic comic book storylines and imagery is reimagined; do you ever have any reservations about that or is it an element of this storytelling process you enjoy?

That’s something we’ve been doing since Batman: The Animated Series. As you know, we’ve taken bits and pieces from different stories and comic books and applied them to something new. This was one of our first opportunities to not adapt straight from an existing storyline. This was more of one where we took different bits and pieces from various elements, but made it more of an original story. 

Are you hopeful now to be able to continue telling Green Lantern stories, specifically with this version of John? This feels like an origin story that opens a lot of doors.

We’ve not necessarily gone into this movie with the plan to set up another story as we’re really setting up these characters. That’s why Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl are the main characters here so we can get the Justice League together at some point. The team exists, but John wasn’t part of the team yet, so we’re really building on the Justice League coming together again. 

You’ve got a great cast here too, including Black Adam star Aldis Hodge as John. What made him the right choice to play this character, in your opinion?

Wes Gleason showed me what Aldis was doing at the time. I watched a few episodes of a TV show he was in and said, ‘That’s the guy. That’s the voice.’ I’d seen him The Invisible Man too, but didn’t think about that until Wes showed me more of what he’d been doing. 

Green Lantern: Beware My Power arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital on July 26!

ALSO READ: Green Lantern: Beware My Power Star Jamie Gray Hyder On Playing Hawkgirl And Her Inhumans Role
ALSO READ: Green Lantern: Beware My Power Interview With Co-Writer And Spider-Man: The Animated Series Creator John Semper
 

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