So, we're all fair to moderately excited/interested about the "Green Lantern" movie, yes? I mean, not as excited as Ryan Reynold's agent or any blank t-shirt distribution middle-man with an excess of stock in "green," but it's got the people it needs talking talking. But... here's something that I haven't seen considered around much:
GL is one of those comic figures like Iron Man who (prior to the movie) is HUGELY important and well-known in the comic-reading world but not so much outside of it. To that end, the only real "penetration" the GL brand has had into the cultural mainstream has been the character's heavily-featured presence on the Bruce Timm "Justice League" cartoons - which was probably watched and internalized by more young kids than will EVER pick up a GL comic these days - sorry, Geoff Johns.
On the one hand, that means that the character already has some semblance of a "broader" audience. On the other hand, well... the movie is using the "best loved by fans" Hal Jordan Green Lantern (briefly: The Green Lanterns are a space police force, so there are and have been a fuckton of different ones) while the League cartoons used the John Stewart version. Principal difference between the two: John Stewart is Black. And for a pretty solid segment of the generation "behind" the comic-reading thirtysomethings who're thrilled to have Hal Jordan back (it's complicated); Stewart isn't just "a" Black cartoon superhero... he's THE Black cartoon superhero. In other words, when the posters and trailers for this movie start showing up within the next two years, there's going to be A LOT of people who're genuinely surprised to see that Green Lantern is white - and a good number of them are likely to be African-Americans who have "grown up" with John Stewart and may be more than a bit dissapointed to now "lose" one of the (scandalously) few superheroes who looked like them.
Make no mistake: This WILL come up. And it'll get a little ugly in spots, too, particularly on the "comic fan" side. One of the less-attractive elements of geekdom is the way some of "us" occasionally behave toward people who're fans of properties from "second tier" versions, (want to make a hardcore DC comics devotee bleed from the eyes? Tell him you think the "Smallville" version of Superman's origins is superior to the comics'...) add a racial component to that and... yikes. My question is: How much do you want to bet that Warner Bros. has NO IDEA that this is going to be an issue?