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It was recently confirmed that American Horror Story cast member Finn Whitrock will play Guy Gardner on HBO Max’s Green Lantern series, which has been in development since October 2020. For many DC Comics aficionados, the announcement was likely met with excitement, but it might have been a little confusing to more casual fans of superhero movies or DC TV shows who grew up knowing John Stewart, Hal Jordan, or other famous Emerald Knights as their Green Lantern. If you identify with these people, you can count on us to guide you through this blackest night and into a brighter day with the following essential facts about Guy Gardner, starting with how he came into possession of that powerful ring.
Guy Gardner Is DC Comics’ Third Green Lantern
The first character to hold the Green Lantern moniker is Alan Scott - a Golden Age hero from Earth-Two of DC’s Multiverse and founding member of the Justice Society of America with no association to the Green Lantern Corps. In the main DC Comics timeline from the Silver Age (Earth-One), the first Earthling chosen to be in the Corps by the dying Abin Sur was Hal Jordan, whom Ryan Reynolds played in 2011’s Green Lantern movie. However, another man was later revealed as worthy of the ring that day.
Created by John Broome and Gil Kane in 1968, Guy Gardner debuted in Green Lantern Vol. 2 Issue #59 when Hal Jordan discovered he had a designated backup Lantern. Guy temporarily fulfilled that destiny when Hal’s ring was damaged, even though a subsequent one would send him to the Phantom Zone and leave him comatose for some time. Eventually, he assumed a permanent role in the Green Lantern Corps protecting Sector 2814 and became a founding member of Justice League International.
Guy Gardner Has An Unruly, Rebellious Reputation
While he was initially deemed worthy of the Green Lantern Corps, Guy Gardner would fail to hold onto that privilege for very long after earning it. For instance, he tended to blame a lot of his problems on Hal Jordan, whose retirement would lead to Gardner’s official position in the Corps, which was also cut short when his own careless actions nearly caused a cataclysmic disaster during the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline.
This put him at odds with much of the Corps and much of the galaxy, making him even more bitter, arrogant, and rude to his peers whom he believed he was superior to. If not for chairman Maxwell Lord, he also would have lost his Justice League International membership much earlier, too. What could have caused Gardner to have such an unideal personality for a superhero?
Guy Gardner Grew Up With An Abusive, Alcoholic Father
Guy Gardner’s unruly behavior has been known to be caused by a split personality, often causing him to lash out in fits of rage. To understand where the darker side of this superhero came from, the key may be in his disheartening upbringing in Baltimore. There, he was raised by his mother, Peggy, and father, Roland - a heavy drinker who was known to idolize his elder son, Mace, while subjecting Guy to daily beatings.
Guy eventually gave up trying to earn his father’s approval and became a full-on juvenile delinquent, which actually earned him more beatings from Mace in an effort to straighten him out. After attending college, where he was able to channel his aggression into football, Guy got a job counseling inmates before becoming a special education gym teacher and, much later, making peace with his father before he died of liver failure. Perhaps, after suffering so much abuse growing up, becoming a superhero inflated his ego and brought out the worst in him.
Guy Gardner Is A Descendant Of The Vuldarian Alien Race
As a Green Lantern, Guy Gardner is able to do all the things that his power ring enables him to do, such as fly, project energy fields, and create literally any object he can imagine. Little did he know that he already possessed some of those abilities even without the use of the ring.
During the DC Comics crossover event Zero Hour from 1994, Guy Gardner made the discovery that he is actually a descendant from a race of space-travelers known as the Vuldarians. This meant he was naturally gifted in other amazing abilities like shape-shifting his body parts into weapons, adapting to his environment for a better chance at survival, and your typical superhuman enhanced strength, speed, stamina, etc. This would also allow for Gardner to continue being a superhero after reluctantly cutting ties with the Green Lantern Corps.
Guy Gardner Would Also Join The Red Lantern Corps
By the time Guy Gardner discovered his alien physiology, he had already attempted to rebrand himself as a new superhero called Warrior, which was also the name of the bar he opened (along with another eatery he started with future Suicide Squad member Blackguard, too). However, it might not sound too surprising to learn that Gardner has also taken a walk on the dark side by becoming a member of the villainous equivalent to the Green Lantern Corps.
During the Blackest Night arc, the death of Guy Gardner's Corps partner Kyle Rayner caused him to develop a scathing rage, which happens to be the one emotion which rings from the evil Red Lantern Corps are most attracted to. After a Red Lantern named Vice was killed, his ring became attached to Gardner, who then used both this green and red rings to slaughter as many Black Lanterns he could find. Despite later overcoming the ring’s influence, he would return to Red Lantern Corps on-and-off, even becoming their leader at one point.
Well, I can tell you that I certainly empathize with those who would have rather heard about the casting of John Stewart, Hal Jordan, or even Kyle Rayner on the upcoming Green Lantern TV show before the casting of Guy Gardner was announced. However, you have to admit that this guy has one hell of a backstory which is sure to make things interesting when the HBO Max original series debuts.