The Jack Black Green Lantern Movie You’ll Never See
Roughly 20 years after Murphy’s failed attempts to launch a Green Lantern movie, Robert Smigel, a veteran Saturday Night Live writer and creator of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, was tasked with putting a Jack Black spin on the Green Lantern mythos. In June 2006, Smigel submitted a draft for his version of the Green Lantern that used Hal Jordan’s origin story as a jumping off point.
However, in place of an introduction showcasing the tragic death of Jordan’s father and his journey to becoming a pilot, the script instead centered on an entirely new ring-bearer named Jud Plato (Black), a slacker and the star of a Fear Factor-style reality show called “The Dare Diner.”
In the script, a dying Abin Sur would have attempted to bestow the power of the ring onto any number of worthy candidates including a legless climber and woman missionary. Unfortunately, a malfunction would instead see it go to Jud who, at that precise moment, was on television attempting to eat the carcass of a dead coyote.
A bizarre gross-out moment played for laughs, as well as social commentary on the reality TV boom of that era, Jud’s impressive gastronomic abilities would come to the fore later in the script when he is required to eat an entire snake from the tail up. But then one of the key facets of Smigel’s pitch for the film centered on Jud’s struggles to use the ring properly, resulting in any number of weird and wonderful constructs.
Smigel told Vanity Fair in 2011 that after researching the character, he honed in on “the premise that the wrong guy gets the ring and can do all kinds of goofy visual jokes—because the visuals are so potentially ridiculous.”
He explained, “What appealed to me about it on a comedic level was that, in order to be a superhero, this requires no physical skill or talent. All it requires is owning this ring. Automatically, that’s a comedic premise.”