GREEN LANTERN: Greg Berlanti Reveals How The Film (Indirectly) Led To The Creation Of The Arrowverse

2011's Green Lantern was a financial and critical disappointment, but the movie (indirectly) paved the way for the creation of the Arrowverse, Greg Berlanti has revealed.

Eleven years ago, Green Lantern burst onto the big screen with the hopes of starting a new superhero franchise. Unfortunately, the film didn't fare well critically or financially, making $219 million worldwide on a reported $200 million budget and receiving a "Rotten" R.T. score. As a result, the Emerald Knights' live-action future was put on hold for almost a decade, until it was announced that Warner Bros. was working on a Green Lantern Corps TV series for HBO Max, developed by producer Greg Berlanti with Seth Grahame-Smith as showrunner. 

The failure of Green Lantern was a big blow for the DC film universe and Warner Bros. at the time of its release. Fortunately, as we recently learned, it was not a complete disappointment, because it indirectly led to the creation of the Arrowverse. Greg Berlanti co-wrote an early version of what would become the Ryan Reynolds-starring adventure, and was even set to direct it. Following his involvement in the film, the producer developed multiple DC TV series, including Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl.

Berlanti recently sat down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the Producers Guild of America Awards ceremony, where he will be honored with a Norman Lear Achievement Award. During the interview, the topic of 2011's Green Lantern came up. Berlanti stated that the movie, while having a disappointing outcome, allowed him to meet people at DC, which in turn paved the way for the Arrowverse to start: 

"We're actually working on a Green Lantern series for HBO Max, so it's come full circle. The movie did introduce me more to the folks at DC, which led to Arrow. So while it was heartbreaking on the film side, it ultimately led to wonderful things on the television side."

While Berlanti has often been seen as one of the main creative forces behind Green Lantern, he had little to no involvement in the final version of the project, as he explained to The Hollywood Reporter in 2016: 

"I’ve had as much failure in this business as I’ve had success, across both spectrums. [...] [Green Lantern] is a great one to point to. I got fired from that movie as a writer and as a director, and yet my name was all over it. I still get blamed for it, even though I had nothing to do with the finished product. As Marc Guggenheim always says, there's a very Google-able script that we did write that was not executed that I still stand by. But at the time, I thought, 'Oh God, that noose will hang around my neck my whole life.'"

Berlanti's disappointment with his experience on the film likely stemmed from the passion he has for the Emerald Knights. The prolific producer — having been part of the Green Lantern promotional campaign — shared his love for the property's mythology during a 2011 interview with Collider: "From the very beginning, when [Producer Donald De Line] and I were hashing out the story, I was a little bit more the comic book geek and would come in and dump all that stuff on the table. That's the cornerstone of what makes it so unique. Yes, it's a superhero film and it's a comic book movie, but there's a real core philosophy to it. It's rare, in [these kinds] of films, when you're dealing with heroes, to actually have a philosophical undercurrent which, in this case, was fear versus will. You try to honor that stuff, and make it interesting and appealing to you, so you're your own first audience, in that way. You do things and write things that you think you would enjoy seeing, and then they get vetted, along the way."

While it was disappointing to see what could have been an extensive new superhero universe stall due to Green Lantern's failure, it's interesting to learn that the project (again, somewhat indirectly) helped lead to the birth of what, at the time, was one of most successful live-action superhero universes out there.

Green Lantern Corps does not have a release date, and late last year, showrunner Seth Grahame-Smith revealed it will be a while until the project sees the light of day given its complexity and scale. 

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