It’s been a long six years since 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, so Paramount and Hasbro seem pretty confident that reboot the whole shebang is the best way forward for what might just be the next big cinematic universe. That’s what we’ll get when the spin-off prequel Snake Eyes hits theaters later this year in October.
A new poster revealing the film’s logo (a calligraphy version of the Arashikage symbol) also gave us the film’s full title, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins.
On Thursday, the cast of Snake Eyes, directed by Robert Schwentke, arrived in Japan for a press conference to mark the beginning of the film’s Japanese leg of shooting. Lead star Henry Golding, who will suit up as the iconic black ops ninja from the Reagan years, said the film will create “a new timeline” in the G.I. Joe film series. He also said the film will unmask Snake Eyes, rarely done in the popular G.I. Joe comics (and never done in the previous movies).
“It’s unlike anything people will have seen,” Golding said. “We’re really starting a new timeline, a new franchise with the G.I. Joe universe. To kick it off with such a distinct and stylized film, I think, it really sets the precedent for follow up movies.”
He added, “It’s amazing to be able to tread in unexplored sort of territory and be able to bring our own styles and Robert’s ideas and his love for Japanese cinema to the international audience.”
While the plot of Snake Eyes is still unknown, the film will be a “prequel” that will reveal the origins of Snake Eyes (whose classified background is still obscured) and his rivalry with his brother, Storm Shadow, in the Arashikage ninja clan. When Snake Eyes joins the heroic “G.I. Joe,” Storm Shadow sides with Cobra as the bodyguard of sinister leader, Cobra Commander.
At the press conference, Golding revealed that Snake Eyes will unmask the title character. “It’s an absolute honor to play such an iconic character,” Golding said, “Probably one of the most recognizable characters ever created. For us to never really see what’s beneath the mask, it always missed something.”
He added, “Snake Eyes was always seen as a weapon, as an inanimate object. But when you see someone’s eyes, you see their past, you see their future. You see their personality. So we throw it back right to the beginning to see how he progresses and develops into this most amazing character.”
The first G.I. Joe film, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was released in 2009 and starred Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Rachel Nichols, Dennis Quaid, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ray Park, Christopher Eccleston, and Byung-hun Lee. G.I. Joe: Retaliation hit theaters in 2013 with Dwayne Johnson and Adrianne Palicki added to the cast. Both movies were box office hits despite average reviews. Work on a third film — rumored to be titled G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant — has stalled.
In addition to Henry Golding, Snake Eyes will also star Andrew Koji (Warrior), Iko Uwais (The Raid: Redemption), Haruka Abe, Takehiro Hira, and Steven Allerick. Úrsula Corberó replaces Sienna Miller as the villain Baroness, while Samara Weaving (Ready or Not) takes over for Rachel Nichols as Scarlett.
Snake Eyes will release in theaters on October 23, 2020.