DC has teamed up with BOOM! Studios to release an unlikely pairing of two great sci-fi properties, Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern, a six-issue mini-series that started this week.
Written by Justin Jordan from a story by Robbie Thompson, the series features art by Barnaby Bagenda and is set within the world of the original Planet of the Apes movie and DC's comic book universe. Readers will see characters like Cornelius and Nova interacting with the various, fan-favorite Lanterns from the DCU.
Newsarama talked to Jordan and Thompson about the story and what characters readers will see from both the movie franchise and DC intergalactic police force.
Newsarama: Robbie, what did you think of this series when you first heard about it? What made you want to do it?
Robbie Thompson: I’ve known BOOM! Studios Editor Dafna Pleban for a while and I really respect her work and wanted to find a project to work on with her and BOOM!. When she called me up about this project, I was pretty much already on board after she said, “Planet of the Apes,” but then she said, “Green Lantern” and I was desperate to pitch on the project.
I love both properties and right from our initial phone call it seemed like we had an opportunity to tell a story that felt like it could take on the best of both worlds. It was so much fun working on this story with her and BOOM! Associate Editor Alex Galer - and then they brought on Justin Jordan, who is a fantastic writer and really brought the story to life.
Nrama: What about you, Justin? What did you think of this series when you first heard about it?
Justin Jordan: I thought it was awesome. I loved, loved, loved Planet of the Apes when I was a kid, so the idea of mixing that and the Green Lanterns seemed like a freaking amazing idea. So, I was in regardless, but working with Robbie and Barnaby was the icing on a cake I was already going to eat.
I feel like that metaphor might have gotten away from me.
Nrama: I don't know, but it made me hungry. So Robbie, you did the plot on this one. What was the biggest challenge about putting together a plot that united these two worlds?
Thompson: They’re both such big and broad franchises - either can fill a lot of space very quickly. So, I think figuring out how to create a balance between both was the biggest challenge we faced. Finding the common themes in both really helped us bring the story into focus and Dafna was always bringing us back to the core values and keys to each of the franchises. Once we had the bare bones connections in place, it was a lot easier to do the heavy lifting and then Justin came in and really drilled down on the characters and finding great moments for each.
Nrama: Can you give us the set-up for the story, and why does that make sense for these characters?
Thompson: Cornelius is out searching for Taylor and on his journey, he discovers a powerful weapon. That powerful weapon is tied to another dimension and is the product of the Guardians, who must reveal this secret weapon to the Lantern Corps and have them find it before it falls into the wrong hands. So, it’s up to Hal and the Lanterns to find this weapon before Sinestro does. The weapon is a Ring that’s extremely powerful but also corrosive, and it creates an opportunity to shine a light on our characters and see how power can corrupt them.
Nrama: I didn't know how there would be a lot of action with these two groups of characters, but it sounds like there will be plenty.
Thompson: There’s definitely a lot of action but Justin’s done a lot of wonderful character work and really found a perfect tone and balance for the story.
Nrama: How would you describe the overall tone? Anything you'd compare it to?
Thompson: We talked a lot about what makes crossovers fun and we really wanted to bring the best of both properties to this story, so you’ll see some fun surprises as each world bleeds over into the other.
Nrama: Justin, what was the biggest challenge about writing this script that combines these two worlds?
Jordan: Probably juggling the casts. This is, almost certainly, the book with the biggest speaking cast that I’ve ever written. There’s at least a dozen characters with major roles in the plot. I remember how hard it was to that back when I wrote Team 7, which was less characters.
Fortunately, Robbie did a lot of the work by plotting out something that brought these characters together in a way that made sense, so I was able to hit the ground running. Possibly running with cake.
Nrama: Don’t you wish you could add that awesome Planet of the Apes music to the comic book?
Jordan: Hell, yeah! I actually wrote a story in a comic with a soundtrack once. It came with a CD. We should definitely do more comics with soundtracks.
Nrama: You’ve got experience writing the Green Lanterns, but did you have to research the Planet of the Apes characters a little? What was it like finding their voices and getting into that mindset while also using the Green Lantern part of your brain?
Jordan: The book gave me an excuse to buy and watch the complete Planet of the Apes collection, which is what I’ve been referencing to get the voices right. The great thing about the POTA movies is that they’re actually really well written from a character standpoint; it’s easy to get the voices right because the characters actually have voices. This is a little rarer than you might think.
Nrama: Who are some of the characters we’ll see during the story, from both franchises?
Jordan: It’s pretty much all the apes. The only significant simian from the movies that isn’t in this is Cesar, on account of not having actually been born when this takes place. Or having been born thousands of years before this takes place. Time travel is complicated.
Nrama: Robbie, since this takes place in the original film’s timeline, why do you think the original Planet of the Apes film has become such a classic?
Thompson: I’m a huge Planet of the Apes fan. They used to run all of them on the “Eight O’ Clock Movie” when I was a kid, and my brother Michael and I were obsessed. The best science fiction has elements of social commentary, and this premise has always resonated from Pierre Boulle’s book through all of the films. Each adaptation has found ways to resonate with the era it takes place in—again, from Rod Serling’s adaptation to the new Apes movies. There’s something evergreen about the struggle at the core of these stories, the way that power corrupts and how that connects us all. I love the new movies as well, and can’t wait to see the new one this summer. It’s exciting to be a part of this amazing franchise.
Nrama: Anything else you both want readers to know about Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern?
Thompson: The crossover is beautifully illustrated by Barnaby Bagenda and I can’t wait for folks to see his amazing art!
Jordan: I think it’s probably one of the most pure fun books I’ve worked on, and I am super proud of it. I think people are going to dig the heck out of it. And, happily, you don’t really need to know much about either Planet of the Apes or Green Lantern to enjoy it.