DC Comics’ TV properties have been quite successful at establishing a shared, live-action universe on the small screen, but as ambitious as shows like The Flash, Arrow, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow are, there have always been hints at something bigger. A lot of those hints come in the form of Easter eggs, nods to the comic book source material which are included to give longtime readers a little pleasurable jolt of recognition and as a nice bit of nostalgia for the shows’ writers. And yet there’s the possibility that these casual mentions and asides might be pointing to a vast expansion in DC TV’s current field of view.
Few DC Comics’ properties are as broad in scope and scale as the Green Lantern franchise. Though there are currently no reported plans to bring the wielders of the power rings into the TV universe, there have certainly been a lot of nods to the beloved, long-running comic series. Perhaps that’s because The Flash co-creator/writer and Arrow writer Geoff Johns has quite the history with Hal Jordan and the Corps, but recent events on the superhero series suggest there might be more to it than that. We might not be getting a Green Lantern standalone series, but we might be getting a storyline that approximates Johns’ 2009 DC Comics’ cross-over event, “Blackest Night.”
To be clear, the idea that we’ll be seeing some version of this fantastic and impossibly epic story is complete speculation on my part, and nothing has been reported from the powers that be. But there’s something about the continued references to Hal Jordan, the Green Lanterns, and “Blackest Night” that are starting to connect for me. Also, let’s keep in mind that Johns’ Green Lantern nods may be a parallel to the borrowed Batman storylines for the Arrow series, an example of a mythology that can’t be used directly for contractual/legal/common sense reasons, but are still good stories to mine nonetheless.
Before we get into what makes “Blackest Night” an exciting possibility, let’s take a look at the history of Green Lantern references from The Flash and Arrow so far. The best place to start is with perhaps the most famous Lantern of them all, Hal Jordan. In the Season 4 premiere of Arrow, we actually saw Jordan in the flesh, sort of. A flashback sequence featuring Oliver Queen and Amanda Waller saw them bump into a man in a Coast City bar, a man wearing a bomber jacket with a nametag reading “Jordan” stitched onto it. (The name Hal also pops up on Barry’s trip to Earth-2 where it’s found on Barry and Iris’ phone list.)
Coast City is a reference that comes up fairly often on these shows and is featured on 12 of the shared universe’s episodes, including one of the animated Vixen shorts. That’s a fair amount of groundwork to set up a character they never plan on introducing; for comparison, it’s on par with the number of references to Keystone City, which plays host to a number of heroes and villains often appearing on the show. But back to Coast City.
The city’s slogan, seen on a billboard, is a send-up of the famous Green Lantern oath, reading, “In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night; Come to Coast City, When the money is tight.” It also happens to be the home of Hal Jordan and the location of Ferris Air, Jordan’s employer and the last place he was seen alive. The airline company, its products, and logo have factored into both The Flash and Arrow plots, with The Flash episode “Rogue Air” referencing a missing pilot from the company’s Central City testing facility; that pilot is, you guessed it, Hal Jordan.