When it was first leaked that Duke might pay the ultimate price in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, there was much speculation that this was on the request of Channing Tatum himself. His star had risen dramatically since he appeared in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and the prevailing thought was that he didn’t want to be tied down to the second film. However, throughout all the interviews leading up to the film’s debut, he seemed to debunk that thought and said that Duke’s death just made sense within the context of the story.
Many had their doubts.
Turns out those doubts were spot on, as Channing Tatum spoke with Entertainment Weekly to promote 22 Jump Street and confirmed his own distaste for doing sequels in general:
This movie comes pretty quick on the heels of the first one. Do you both avoid sequels?
Tatum:I try not to do them. I did not want to be in the sequel for G.I. Joe.
You die almost immediately in it.
Hill: He’s like, “just kill me in the first five minutes”.
Tatum: “Go on without me, I’m good.”
While I have my own internal commentary for an actor that would determine the fate of a childhood cartoon hero to many merely because he doesn’t want to play the role, I think Paramount could have worked around the issue themselves with some creative re-casting.
All that being said, it is interesting to see the truth finally revealed. That would confirm that a Duke resurrection for G.I. Joe 3 (at least with Tatum in the role) isn’t happening. Thanks to Andrew Hall of the G.I. Joe Discussion Group on Facebook for the heads up.