Most of us accept that Green Lantern: The Animated Series is not in the same continuity as the previous “Timmverse” programs. I’m reasonably certain the producers have gone on record as saying so, though I can’t find a reference for that at the moment. Despite that, I think I may have found a way in which GLTAS can easily exist in the same continuity, greatly expanding our beloved Timmverse.
The secret is simple: the entirety of GLTAS takes place before or concurrent to Batman: The Animated Series!
This revelation hit me as I was playing the second volume of GLTAS on DVD while working on customs projects. During the last battle against Aya, as Hal Jordan and Kilowog arrive, Guy Gardner says he’s been elevated to Honor Guard, and “some guy named John Stewart” was chosen as his replacement on Earth. As many parts of the Timmverse history are still blank, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to consider this brief mention was in reference to the start of Stewart’s GL career. The more I thought about it, the more the pieces fell into place. The best way to explain it might be to examine the timeline of those characters that appear, are mentioned, or otherwise have some connection to the shows.
John Stewart: John is the key to this theory. In this timeline, Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner were recruited first. Both become members of the Green lantern Honor Guard, presumably to be called away from Earth for extended periods of time. When Gardner was promoted, John Stewart was recruited. We can assume from context clues through the run of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited that John had served for many years as Earth’s primary Green lantern. As Jordan and Gardner would often be away from Earth, this makes sense.
Kilowog: We know that Kilowog is a drill sergeant, usually stationed on Oa. Accepting that GLTAS happens well before his appearance in JL and JLU, it’s entirely possible he returns to that duty sometime after his exploits during GLTAS. This allows him to be familiar with all the Lanterns he interacts with. He probably trained all of them at some point, including John Stewart and Kyle Rayner.
Kyle Rayner: We know, according to JL, that John Stewart was occasionally called off planet (re: his history with Katma Tui). I suspect that during these times, another GL was assigned to Earth’s sector. During Superman: The Animated Series, we know that Abin Sur watched over Earth, and when he died his ring found Kyle Rayner. Rayner would have protected Earth until Stewart returned, and Rayner was then sent to Oa for formal training.
The Guardians: Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think any of the specific guardians are mentioned by name in their few brief appearances outside of GLTAS. If that’s true, I don’t see any conflict. If anything, Ganthet might be mentioned, and one could assume that his exile during the second half of GLTAS was cancelled and he returned to Oa.
Superman: Much of this timeline also hinges on a few moments in Superman’s timeline. We know that Kyle Rayner was the first Green Lantern Superman encountered. If one accepts that John Stewart was the previous GL assigned to Earth, then everything previous to Stewart’s assignment would have happened previous to STAS. And we know that STAS starts off well after Batman’s career is under way in BTAS based on Martha Kent’s comment regarding “that nut in Gotham City” at the beginning of Superman’s career. Thus, aligning the pieces, GLTAS happens prior to STAS at the very least.
Manhunters: The Manhunters are probably the weakest part of this theory. Aya’s virus destroys/deactivates all the Manhunters during their last appearance in GLTAS. But we see them again later during In Blackest Night, in the employ of the intergalactic court. I’m choosing to assume that after Aya shut down all the Manhunters, some were later acquired, reprogramed, and reactivated by the court. The court would have assumed the Manhunters were under its control, but the original programming lay dormant underneath, until such time as the Manhunters could turn against Oa.
Sinestro: When Sinestro appears in GLTAS, he’s still a Green lantern, and is admired by Hal. When he next appears in STAS, he’s wearing a yellow ring and hates all Green Lanterns. We can assume that sometime in-between, he abandoned his oath to the Green Lanterns, acquired his yellow ring, and began to hunt down GLs.
Star Sapphire: Based on the English accent, I think we can assume the Star Sapphire who appears in episodes of JL is not Carol Ferris. Her powers originate from a gem in her headpiece, not a ring, as would be usual for a Star Sapphire. So who is she? Perhaps she’s a Star Sapphire that went rogue after being spurned (not unlike Aya). Perhaps she’s just a villain that tapped into a Star Sapphire ring and ran amuck. Her history isn’t really important, as it does not conflict with the timeline.
Carol Ferris: What happens after he final appearance in GLTAS? Who knows? She kept the Star Sapphire ring. Maybe she goes off on her own adventures. She’s never mentioned again in the other shows (though “Ferris Aircraft” might be).
Hal Jordan: And the biggest question of all, what happens to Hal after the last episode of GLTAS? Like Carol, we may never know. Perhaps he spent more and more time away from Earth. Perhaps he became Parallax. So long as he’s not around to interfere with the timelines of John Stewart and Kyle Rayner, this theory works. His one brief appearance in The Once and Future Thing can be explained any number of ways. (My leading theory says the time-shifts changed John into Hal, as if Hal had never left earth.) Also, since we never see Hal’s origin as a Green Lantern in this timeline, we can assume he did not encounter a dying Abin Sur, as that story is applied to Kyle Rayner.
To reiterate, GLTAS fits into the overall Timmverse timeline if one accepts that it runs before or concurrent to most of BTAS, and thus before all the other programs. There’s nothing that directly contradicts this. It also means acknowledging that the history of the Timmverse is different from that of the standard comic book universe. (But as the comics change their history on a monthly basis now, that’s not much of a stretch.)
Clearly, I think about this stuff way too much.
UPDATE: Some points of clarification. 1) It’s been brought to my attention that Hal’s name appears on an aircraft during Kyle’s origin episode (STAS). Assuming that’s Hal in the plane, perhaps he’s home on leave, and returned to the relaxing life of a test pilot. (Or maybe he was kicked out of the Corps. Won’t be the last time.) 2) Why does no one recognize Hal when he appears briefly in The Once and Future Thing? That’s because Hal would have operated before Wonder Woman’s time, and if Batman recognized him, he just didn’t care. The “Beyond” characters certainly wouldn’t have known him. So no conflict.
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