There’s a lot of talk about DC movies these days. The overall franchise is up in the air after JUSTICE LEAGUE, Henry Cavil left, and there’s a pair of films (AQUAMAN and SHAZAM) coming down the pipe that seems very different than what we’ve seen in the past. There’s still plenty for DC to do though, and that includes a GREEN LANTERN film. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish, as there are multiple characters that could fit the role of Green Lantern. The current DC universe has Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, Simon Baz, and Jessica Cruz all as Earth’s Lanterns. Narrowing it down can be hard and, as history has shown us, a GREEN LANTERN film requires a lot of careful work.

Jessica Cruz
Oh man, does it require careful work. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The diverse and expanded cast of Lanterns does offer many possibilities though. Six different GLs mean six different stories. DC has treated these characters with respect (overall) throughout the years, so any one of them would be acceptable. However, there’s one Lantern that I truly feel could be a unique story for DC and, since this is Hispanic Heritage Month, it feels like the perfect time to discuss this. So here’s why I think DC should make a movie about one of the most recent Green Lanterns — Jessica Cruz.

The Backstory

To begin, I do want to make it clear I don’t necessarily think Jessica Cruz should be DC’s first GREEN LANTERN film. I personally believe Hal Jordan has the history and clout to start the franchise. After all, you wouldn’t want to start CAPTAIN AMERICA with Bucky Barnes as Cap. A GREEN LANTERN CORPS film would likely be the best way to introduce Cruz. However, whether or not she’s is part of a larger Corps movie or in a spin-off, a film role would be the perfect fit for her impressive background story.

Unlike most Green Lanterns, Jessica actually had a different ring at first — the evil Power Ring of Volthoom — which latched onto her due to her strong feelings of fear (more on that later). Jessica struggled against the ring, despite its overwhelming influence. The entire Justice Leauge even came in to help, and their efforts (eventually) limit the ring’s control (thought Jessica still wore it). Threats from Volthoom’s dimension menaced Cruz as a result. The dangers grew to the point where a Black Racer-possessed Flash had to help Jessica reject the ring completely. Her efforts against it earned her a real Green Lantern ring, and a spot in the Corps. Jessica Cruz now protects the Earth with her partner Simon Baz.

A Different Kind of Hero

Jessica Cruz’s story makes her a strong candidate to be in either a solo or group film. However, there are some other elements that DC should consider to make her live-action appearance the big impact it needs to be. First, Jessica is a Mexican-American. To date, there have been no mainstream superhero films featuring a Hispanic lead. DC has already made history with the first successful female superhero film in WONDER WOMAN. Continuing the trend with a Hispanic hero would be another huge step for them, and could lead to other minorities being placed in starring roles.

Of course, Jessica deserves to be more than a token character. Her origin tells a powerful story. However, it’s not just from what we’ve mentioned above. In fact, the whole reason Jessica was chosen by Volthoom in the first place is another unique aspect of her character — she suffers from anxiety. The murder of her friends on a camping trip traumatized Jessica. She was unable to leave her apartment for years. Even after becoming a Lantern, she still struggled with her condition and suffered panic attacks, especially around other people.

Beware Her Power

Jessica Cruz
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

This puts Jessica Cruz in an even more unique position. Her story might not only resonate with other Mexican-Americans, but also those struggling with their own mental health concerns. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a superhero film that’s tackled this subject before. Jessica can stand for several different groups of people, while filmmakers use her strong backstory to craft a powerful narrative. The story should really be the focus, not dazzling visuals or epic battles (although they should certainly be there too). A solo movie would be ideal to tell the whole story, but she could also work with the rest of the Corps.

Moment of Triumph

Volthoom plays an important role in Jessica’s story. However, to make the film more digestible,  the GL ring could choose Jessica based on her survival skills. This is a woman that knew how to hunt, and how to live in total isolation as well. It gives her a unique mix of strong and broken at the same time. Imagine how well a movie could be with a character like that. It would be a film about reclaiming one’s identity and moving past your fears — a perfect GREEN LANTERN narrative theme. It could even incorporate a modern GL element with the Phantom Ring (which draws power from the whole of the emotional spectrum).

In the comics, Jessica was unsure of her role as a Green Lantern, even as she hunts for the Phantom Ring. When she does find it, it latches onto her. This process empowers the bearer with the emotion they’re best suited for. Jessica defaults to a Green Lantern, proving the strength of her willpower and ability to overcome her fears. It’s not only perfect for a Lantern story, it’s a perfect way to end a tale of a woman struggling to regain her confidence amid mental turmoil.

Jessica Cruz: Film Star

DC has a lot of decisions to make regarding its cinematic universe. The Green Lanterns are a strong bet for the future though, and Jessica Cruz should be a big reason why. If DC tells her story right, they have the potential to create a strong character film or add to a diverse roster. Either way, let’s hope they bring her to the big screen soon!

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