It’s been nearly a decade since the last G.I. Joe movie, G.I. Joe Retaliation, hit theaters, but the Hasbro property will soon be back on the big screen. The Snake Eyes spinoff is just a few months away from being released, and needless to say that there will be plenty of G.I. Joe characters beyond the eponymous protagonist. However, moviegoers shouldn’t expect the G.I. Joe team itself, nor the terrorist organization Cobra, to be focused on in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins.
Why is this? Well, with Snake Eyes winding back the clock to show our main hero’s origin story, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura stated that it was important for the spotlight to be chiefly pointed on Snake Eyes’ journey with the Arashikage ninja clan, with the character specifically training under Andrew Koji’s Storm Shadow. As di Bonaventura explained to EW:
Both Cobra and G.I. Joe take a back seat to the internal drama of the Arashikage and the character. They are absolutely an element, but it's looking at it this way: You meet somebody, watch their struggle, the struggle leads to the world of G.I. Joe and Cobra. It does not start as a G.I. Joe-Cobra movie. It starts as an Arashikage movie, a Snake Eyes character arc. You come to realize the Arashikage as they've traditionally been are affiliated with the Joes, therefore that brings in Cobra. There is a gradual reveal that there's a larger world here.
Although 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra touched on Snake Eyes’ past (with Ray Park playing the character in that movie and Retaliation), the Snake Eyes spinoff is placing Henry Golding’s version of the swordsman front and center. This takes place at a time when Snake Eyes is still talking and not wearing a full-face mask, and while we know he’ll eventually join the G.I. Joe team and become mortal enemies with Storm Shadow (who signs on with Cobra), now’s not the time for these two groups to prominently featured. The purpose of this spinoff is to show how Snake Eyes became the badass warrior we know from the main G.I. Joe stories.
But again, it’s not like Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow will be the only G.I. Joe players in the movie. Samara Weaving will also star as Scarlett, another member of the original G.I. Joe team whose path crosses with Snake Eyes’ after he “gets his nose into something,” as Lorenzo di Bonaventura put it. That paves the way for Úrsula Corberó’s Baroness, one of Cobra’s leaders, to get involved too. Henry Golding added the following about Paramount Pictures and Hasbro’s decision to go the prequel route with Snake Eyes:
Having this solo movie, we get to set the precedent for where [Snake's] story leads. It's phenomenal that Paramount and Hasbro chose to go right to the beginning and really start off with such a story. It gives so much more creative control over where this universe is going. I'm crazy excited to see what we do next.
Snake Eyes also stars Iwo Uwais as Hard Master, Peter Mensah as Blind Master and Haruka Abe as Akiko. Behind the cameras, Red’s Robert Schwentke helmed the spinoff from a script written by Beauty and the Beast’s Evan Spiliotopoulos. While it remains to be seen how Snake Eyes will be received critically and commercially, it was announced in May 2020 Henry Golding will reprise Snake Eyes in what’s being called a follow-up G.I. Joe movie rather than a straightforward Snake Eyes sequel.
You can see how Snake Eyes turned out for yourself when it opens in theaters on July 23. You’re also welcome to browse through our upcoming 2021 movies schedule to discover what else is coming out later in the year.