Let's kick things off with the easiest of questions - how did you get this gig? Was it fresh off your work on The Batman?
There was development on Green Lantern that was coming to end. They were looking for a new “take,” and I was driving my car to lunch, thinking about it, and a simple notion struck me. I sent off a two-sentence email to the powers-that-be, and suddenly I was writing it. Simple ideas are always the best.
It's been cited that Green Lantern: First Flight isn't the standard origin story movie (Like Wonder Woman). When writing this story, how did you avoid the trappings of presenting a standard origin story but also making sure that those new to the properties would be able to get an understanding of who Hal Jordan is as he takes off into space?
The nuts and bolts of the origin are over before the credits (which, by the way, look pretty nifty - Peter Girardi designed them). I had written a more involved origin, which had to be cut for time, but what’s there should suffice for the uninitiated.
Since Green Lantern may not be as familiar as Batman to the casual buyer, does that make the job of writing a story harder, knowing that this is something that needs to pop out and grab the attention of those who have never heard of Green Lantern?
I wrote this thinking people really want to see Green Lantern. They’re ready for something new.
Now, in previous interviews, it's been stated that Green Lantern: First Flight starts on Earth, stays there for about ten minutes, and there we're off on this intergalactic space journey. What kind of visuals (and even audio cues) can we expect to see as we head into the universe with these characters? Will we be seeing and hearing things we've never seen before in a DC Comics animated program?
Yes, many new things. But don’t you want to be surprised? I haven’t read every Green Lantern comic book, but there are some scenes where I thought, “They’ve never done this before.”
The Green Lantern mythos are full of countless characters, including Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kilowog, the Guardians, and countless others. Can we expect to see the vast mythos, and massive amount of characters that come with it, given their due?
You won’t see any other human Lanterns besides Hal, because this is his story. You will see a lot of aliens – Kilowog, Ch’p, Arisia, and other fan favorites. We’ll save Guy for “Second Flight.”
As a semi-follow-up to the previous question, Sinestro is seen wearing his "Sinestro Corp" uniform. Is it safe to say this film pays homage to that spectacular comic storyline? Can we expect other such homages to Green Lantern's history?
The Sinestro uniform is less an homage, I think, than a nod. I’d love for Warners to do “Sinestro Corp” some day. It should be a DTV mini-series. You know, there are many DC graphic novels one would love to make, but are too complicated to translate into one 75-minute DVD. Some day I hope we’ll be able to play them out over several DVD’s. (If that sounds like I’m instigating a letter-writing campaign, so be it.)
Some viewers have noted that Green Lantern was already given a hefty storyline in the recent Justice League: The New Frontier DTV (Of course, the same could be said of Wonder Woman). What was the reason behind given Green Lantern his own animated movie?
He’s never had one!
You've worked on nearly every DC Comics-related animation project since the end days of Superfriends in the 1980s. What has the evolution of these series been like, comparing the shows then to the shows and DTVs of today? What's improved? What hasn't?
Well, it’s like an evolution from pre-school to adulthood. The ‘70’s and ‘80’s were a different time, a different planet. I, by the way, think there should always be room for super hero animation for pre-schoolers and grade schoolers, and that DC characters should be part of that. I cannot tell you the pleasure I got out of producing “Krypto, the Superdog.” I hadn’t played to 5-year-olds for a long time, and it was very liberating knowing that a lot of super hero conventions would be new to them. I can still remember at age 5 loving “Tom Terrific.” It was the only reason besides “Clutch Cargo” to watch that kangaroo guy and his lame-o bear.
These DTVs have become a great avenue for creators to work on stories they've always wanted to, whether adapting comic stories or creating original work. Is there any story you've been aching to tell, either one of your own or a story adapted from a comic?
This is a hard question, because I don’t want to give away stories we are developing here at Warner Bros., which are adaptations, and a lot of plots and scenes that I love from comics have already found their way into our shows. Probably my favorite comic book story is “The Death of Superman” – an imaginary story from the ‘60’s, which still holds up today. (I don’t think Luthor’s ever been more vicious.) And I re-tooled that early on in the last season of “Superfriends.”
In previous interviews, we've discussed writing more adult-themed stories and writing all-ages friendly tales. For you, when it comes to writing, do you find yourself writing a script and then including more adult-themes after the thought, or do you find yourself toning your work down to make it more all-ages friendly?
You know what audience you’re writing for at the get-go, and my philosophy is to push the envelope for them as you’re writing, not after the fact. You can always pull back later.
Now, as we slowly bring this Q & A to an end, is there one thing you can tease us about for Green Lantern: First Flight that we haven't yet heard of? Any surprises or shocking twists to tease? Another reason for us to charge into the streets on July 28th to get this animated feature first thing?
I’ll tell you this, though there are laughs, the story gets quite dark, and the action bigger and bigger. The final fight stretches across an entire solar system.
And for those who haven’t been reading press releases, Christopher Meloni is Green Lantern and Victor Garber is Sinestro. Bruce Timm produces and Lauren Montgomery directs. Need I say more?
To wrap up, care to spill details on any upcoming projects you currently have in the works?
I’m overseeing DVD script development right now at Warner Bros. Animation, and having a great time working with notable comic book writers. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading graphic novels. Nice work if you can get it, eh?
The World's Finest would like to thank Alan Burnett for his participation in this Q&A.
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