Marc Guggenheim Drops The Comics That Inspire Green Lantern’s Screen Debut

Even Hollywood professionals can lose their cool in front of movie stars, particularly when said movie stars might just be a perfect leading man for their upcoming superhero movie. That was the case when “Eli Stone” co-creator Marc Guggenheim bumped into Tom Cruise on the show’s set, but for once, Guggenheim played nice and didn’t ask Cruise about his interest in starring as DC’s Green Lantern.

“It’s funny. I was super, super tempted to do it, but I restrained myself,” laughed the writer while talking to MTV News about the second season premier of the ABC series. “I tried not to fly my geek flag too much.”

With us though, Guggenheim was more than ready to let his geek flag, banner and parachute fly as he revealed the specific comic stories that will be influencing the “Green Lantern” film, which may or may not confirm plot spoilers dropped in some leaked reviews of the script aside from his recent media run discussing casting rumors.

Fans circles were abuzz after the summation of the screenplay by the writer — along “Stone” co-creator Greg Berlanti and fellow TV/comics scribe Michael Green — pointed at a possible villain named Legion to be featured in the film, but only hard core GL fans linked the name to 1990’s “Emerald Dawn” mini series which featured a bruiser of a bad guy formed from a golden suit of armor wrapped around the hive mind of an alien civilization.

“Certainly ‘Emerald Dawn’ was one of the things that we read at the outset,” said Guggenheim when asked about the connection between spoiler and screenplay. Of course, looking to “Dawn” only reveals one piece of the puzzle.

“We really spanned the whole gamut from the Silver Age through the Modern Age to Geoff Johns,” promised the writer. “There’s a lot of different elements that are hard to coalesce, actually. Green Lantern as much as any modern day superhero has a lot of continuity gaps and inconsistencies, and you’re wrestling with it all to make everything work. And I don’t mean ‘work’ in a creative sense…I mean ‘work’ in a ‘not contradict each other’ sense. That’s always tricky when you’ve got such a length and breadth of material to work from.”

Elements that will work their way into the screen version of Hal Jordan include characterization from the Neal Adams/Denny O’Neil comics of the ‘70s that saw GL and DC counterpart Green Arrow tackle social issues from drug use to racism mixed with the big widescreen space action of the classic Silver Age Stories. “We picked up all the Showcase and Archive reprint volumes of the Silver Age stories,” Guggenheim explained, adding that his personal favorite era would also come into play. “I’m personally a big fan of the era when Dave Gibbons was drawing the comic [in the early ‘80s]. That was when I discovered Green Lantern as a fan, so I went back to all the old issues where Hal Jordan quits and the relationship between him and Carol Ferris.”

While the writer also noted that overall, the goal was for the screenwriters to “be as faithful to the comic as possible and as faithful to the essence of the character as possible,” Guggenheim has found an interesting counterpoint to his take in the current acclaimed run on “Green Lantern” comics by writer Geoff Johns.

“It’s been interesting because we finished a draft just before ‘Secret Origin,’ Geoff’s latest arc, started up. So I’ve been reading ‘Secret Origin’ with a real interest in seeing ‘OK, how did Geoff solve this problem?’ There are certain elements just for anyone trying to retell Hal’s origin for a modern day audience has to address and grapple with. For example, why the hell was Abin flying in a space ship when he’s a Green Lantern? You don’t ask that question back in the Silver Age, but when you’re writing in the Modern Age, you have to ask these things.”

Have you read any of the “Green Lantern” comics Guggenheim mentions in this story? Do you think he’s on the right track in terms of reference? Talk to us in the comments!