The movie's ultimate villain is Parallax, the fear parasite that was responsible for making Hal Jordan go bad in the comics. I asked Page if he'd worked on bringing Parallax to life in this film. He said: I think everyone worked on Parallax, because he's such a complex thing... There were so many people involved that in the end, I'm not sure what he looks like. I was one of the last people to almost bring it through to the finish line, but in the end, due to the complexity of it — it's a lot of visual effects. I believe the postproduction house will be really the one to bring [the look of Parallax] across the finish line.
How do you handle some of the weirder-looking Lanterns?
For the most part, when working on these classic characters, he followed the way they'd been depicted in the comics over the years. "The design concepts are so great, and so different than what I would ever [normally] do." Although sometimes, the depiction has been inconsistent enough that you have to make some choices. Like the drill sergeant Kilowog, for example — at various times in the comics, he's looked more rhinocerosfaced or pig-faced.
Page is used to designing terrifying creatures like the Cloverfield monster — so how does he approach an alien like Kilowog, who's still menacing-looking but is supposed to be a friend? Page says it would be absolutely wrong to try and make Kilowog look more sympathetic — that should come from the way he's animated, and the voice actor who brings the character to life. Kilowog has to be a "bad-ass, tough, brooding character," so his physicality should reflect that. At the same time, you want to create a facial structure that allows the character to furrow his brow, or smile or wince, so the animators can convey a range of expressions. Some creatures don't have enough range of expression to allow that — some menacing creatures have an ugly expression "baked in" to their faces. For example, movies featuring scary wolves often seem to have the wolves start out with furrowed brows that never un-furrow, which is something that doesn't happen in real life.
The film-makers came to Page with a wishlist of Green Lanterns
NEVILLE PAGE ON CREATING
THE GREEN LANTER CORPS!
What about the movie's ultimate villain?
Page is credited as lead creature designer, and he worked on a lot of the creatures of the ring-wearing space cop legion, the Green Lantern Corps. Page worked on a ton of different aliens who are members of the Corps, but he cautions: "I didn't get the impression they're really showcased, other than Kilowog and Tomar-Re." He's also not sure which Lanterns made it into the final film. In general, creature designers will create a ton of concepts, and many of them will wind up on the cutting-room floor, even if they get to the stage of being animated.
How to make a character like Kilowog sympathetic instead of scary
I remember seeing that one and going, "Oh wow, it's a crystal with a Mohawk and robotic limbs. As you know, in the comics, it evolved over the years and had different looks. I looked through them and tried to get a baseline of what [the fans] would expect him to be. [In one version] he's a crystal ball with legs that look like something from The Matrix, and in another, he's like a shard of stone. So I would look at all the comic book versions, and say, If I took all of those, and took the best pieces of each, what would you have? And then the hardest part is, How do you take a crystal with robotic limbs and a Mohawk, and not have it be laughable on film. Somehow, in the comic world... there's so much more liberty to pull off the crazy stuff, but on film, when it's next to a real live human being for example, it just has to be a totally different thing that's true to the franchise yet doesn't make it look really stupid.
The most important thing is that someone going to see this movie, who's not a fan of the comics, should be able to accept all of these characters, instead of going, "What the hell were they thinking?" I asked Page if he'd worked on Ch'p, the chipmunk Green Lantern, but he hadn't. Either Ch'p isn't in the movie, or Page just didn't work on him — there was a huge legion of creature designers on the film, and they passed different characters back and forth.