Nathan Fillion Once Joked That He Was the Poor Man’s Green Lantern Before Being Cast in ‘Superman’

Superman will be heading into theaters with a new movie directed by filmmaker James Gunn. Gunn gathered a large cast for his upcoming DC superhero feature, including his frequent collaborator Nathan Fillion. Fillion will be playing Green Lantern in the superhero flick, who was a character that Fillion already had a lot of experience with.

Nathan Fillion once thought he’d be looked at as the poor man’s Green Lantern in hindsight

Nathan Fillion posing in a white sweater and black shirt at the premiere of 'Ozark' season 4.
Nathan Fillion | Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

Fillion may be playing a live action version of Green Lantern in 2025’s Superman. But Fillion already has extensive history with the superhero in animated form. He voiced the Green Lantern Hal Jordan in several DC animated movies like Emerald Knight and Flashpoint Paradox. But even before Fillion was cast as the character, he’d had practice playing Green Lantern in his childhood years. According to Reel Life with Jane, Fillion explained why it was easier pretending to be Green Lantern as a kid versus other superheroes.

“As a child, when you’re pretending you’re different superheroes, Green Lantern was the easiest because all you needed to light the fire in the imagination was the ring. Superman, you need a cape; Spiderman, you need a full face mask. That wasn’t tough to come by in a winter town like where I’m from, but they’re just too hot to wear in the summer. So to be Green Lantern, all you needed to do is suck a lifesaver down to the right size — make sure it’s a lime one – slip it on your finger, and you were good,” Fillion said.

He’d played Green Lantern so many times already, that Comics Worth Reading joked that Fillion had full equity of the character. But a modest Fillion joked there were too many other Green Lantern actors for him to take sole ownership of the role.

“I don’t think I can take full equity in this character — too many people have a chunk. Ryan Reynolds gets the right-of-way on this one. Right now, I feel pretty Green Lantern-ish. But sooner or later, I think I’ll be a poor man’s Green Lantern,” Fillion said.

What Nathan Fillion has said about playing a live action Green Lantern

It’s been a long time coming, but Fillion was finally cast as a live action Green Lantern in Gunn’s Superman. Although he won’t be playing Hal Jordan, he’ll be portraying another Green Lantern by the name of Guy Gardner. The news of his casting may have come just as a surprise to Fillion as it came to certain fans. In an interview with Collider, Fillion confided that Gunn gave him the news at a party.

“We were actually at the premiere party after Suicide Squad and he was in a huge crowd of people. We saw each other in the crowd and I congratulated him, ‘Oh, my God, that was amazing. It’s so great.’ He goes, ‘Hey, did Peter [Safran] tell you what we’ve got for you next?’ I said, ‘No, he hasn’t said.’ He looked around like someone was gonna be listening. We were in a throng of people, but he leaned over and said, ‘You’re gonna be Guy Gardner,’” Fillion recalled.

The Rookie star also gave a little taste as to what to expect from his role as Guy. Guy has been characterized as one of the more abrasive Green Lanterns in other media. It seems that Gunn’s and Fillion’s take on the character might align with Guy’s traditional personality.

“The reality is that people have flaws. We all have quirks,” Fillion said. “We all have vulnerabilities. You could have the most wonderful family, but be like, ‘Oh, my God, my dad drives me nuts. He’s got this one thing.’ Everybody’s got something, and I love to lean into those faults and flaws. It’s what makes people real and what allows audiences to relate, because we all know what that is. We all have our own. We witness it in other people.Guy Gardner is 90% flawed and doesn’t care. That’s one of his flaws. I think there’s a real freedom in playing that. So, for a guy who likes to play flaws and flawed people, Guy Gardner is a gold mine.”

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