Hasbro and Paramount confirm blockbuster line up for cinematic writer’s room

Press representatives from Hasbro and Paramount have sent along a press release confirming details of the writing room set up to launch the Hasbro Cinematic Universe! Check out the press release below.

PARAMOUNT PICTURES AND HASBRO TAP AWARD-WINNING GROUP OF WRITERS TO CREATE CROSS-PROPERTY FILM UNIVERSE

WRITERS ROOM LEAD BY OSCAR WINNER AKIVA GOLDSMAN WILL DEVELOP STORIES FOR HASBRO BRANDS G.I. JOE, MICRONAUTS, VISIONARIES, M.A.S.K. AND ROM

HOLLYWOOD, CA (April 21, 2016) – Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, Inc. today unveiled its top talent writers room which will have responsibility for developing Hasbro’s cross-property interconnected onscreen universe featuring the brands G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Visionaries, M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) and ROM. This group includes some of the most notable creative talent in Hollywood, including Academy Award WinnerAkiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), who will have responsibility for overseeing the writers room on behalf of Hasbro and Paramount as well as serving as Executive Producer for all of the films. Joining Goldsman will beLindsey Beer (Wizard of Oz, Kingkiller Chronicle), Pulitzer Prize WinnerMichael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay),Cheo Coker (Luke Cage, Ray Donovan), Joe Robert Cole (Black Panther, People vs. OJ), Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel), Jeff Pinkner (Lost, The Dark Tower), Nicole Riegel (Soldier Girls), Geneva Robertson (Atlantis, Tomb Raider) and Brian K Vaughan (Under the Dome, Lost).

Allspark Pictures, Hasbro’s film label, plans to produce films based on this cross-property universe, with Brian Goldner (Chairman, President and CEO, Hasbro) and Stephen Davis (Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer, Hasbro) serving as Producers, and Josh Feldman (Co-Head of Storytelling, Hasbro) as Co-Executive Producer. Hasbro will also deploy in the room an unprecedented team of its top artists and designers to assist Goldsman and the writers to visualize this all-new cinematic universe.

“Paramount and Hasbro have partnered on many successful films in the past, including the ‘TRANSFORMERS’ and ‘G.I. JOE,’ franchises,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. “Bringing together a writers room of this caliber is a bold step for our partnership, and one that we believe is critical for building these brands into new, successful franchises for the future.”

“Together with Paramount, we have assembled a team of incredibly talented creative minds and storytellers to continue to help tell the rich history and narrative behind this interconnected cinematic universe, and we are thrilled to be working with Akiva Goldsman again to guide this process,” said Brian Goldner. “We are also excited to partner with Paramount to produce the films, as we’ve had a strong and collaborative partnership since our first Transformers movie in 2007.”

The Paramount and Hasbro partnership is responsible for the worldwide blockbuster success of the “TRANSFORMERS” franchise, which has earned $3.8 billion to-date, and whose films, directed by Michael Bay, are amongst the highest grossing movies of all time; and the “G.I. JOE” franchise, which have earned more than $675 million worldwide.

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About Paramount Pictures Corporation

Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.

ABOUT HASBRO

Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) is a global company committed to Creating the World’s Best Play Experiences, by leveraging its beloved brands, including LITTLEST PET SHOP, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, MONOPOLY, MY LITTLE PONY, NERF, PLAY-DOH and TRANSFORMERS, and premier partner brands. From toys and games, television programming, motion pictures, digital gaming and lifestyle licensing, Hasbro fulfills the fundamental need for play and connection with children and families around the world. The Company’s Hasbro Studios and its film label, ALLSPARK PICTURES, create entertainment brand-driven storytelling across mediums, including television, film, digital and more. Through the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, including philanthropy, Hasbro is helping to build a safe and sustainable world and to positively impact the lives of millions of children and families. Learn more at www.hasbro.com, and follow us on Twitter (@Hasbro & @HasbroNews) and Instagram (@Hasbro).

Just like that the Hasbro Cinematic Universe becomes legit

All it took was a single post by the Hollywood Reporter to change a lot of minds and boost a lot of outlooks.

Like anyone else, I was pretty flippant about Hasbro’s supposed commitment to a shared cinematic universe when it was announced back in February.  Instead of feeling like innovation, it just felt like “me, too” especially when you consider the extremely diverse properties they want to try and blend together into this shared universe.

Can anyone blame me, though?  Hasbro’s initial forays into licensed films were mediocre (though Transformers made a buttload of cash), and until they prove to me otherwise, those are what we have to go by.

But, I’ll tell you, when the word came down from Hollywood Reporter about exactly who was filling the chairs in the Hasbro writer’s room, I think a lot of minds were changed, myself included.

Far and away the three biggest names are Michael Chabon, Brian K. Vaughan, and Nicole Perlman.

Chabon has crafted a Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay as well as about 1/3 of Spider-Man 2, which is arguably the best installment in that film’s mired history of mediocrity.

As for Vaughan, he’s just the writer for Saga, an Eisner winning comic often considered as one of the preeminent comic books of our current times, and has also worked on the television series Lost, Under the Dome, and wrote Y, The Last Man, a series which also won Eisner awards.

Along with these two, Nicole Perlman is a part of the team as well, the noted success story from Marvel’s Screenwriting program.  She co-wrote a little film you might have heard about called Guardians of the Galaxy, and is rumored to be currently working on Marvel’s live action Captain Marvel film.

These are three real heavyweights, and a demonstration of some real commitment on Hasbro’s part to craft an effective writing team.  However, there is a wealth of other great writers involved in this project as well.

  • John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (writers of Spider-Man: Homecoming)
  • Geneva Robertson
  • Cheo Coker (showrunner for upcoming Netflix Luke Cage series)
  • Lindsey Beer
  • Joe Robert Cole (writer of The People vs OJ Simpson and Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther film)
  • Jeff Pinkner
  • Nicole Riegel

This news comes as a very pleasant surprise as my initial reaction to this whole shared universe concept was that Hasbro was just trying to be a “hanger on” to this new fad, but an investment in the skillset of the people you see above shows me they are taking this seriously and leaning on some true writers to try and develop this universe.

For G.I. Joe fans and toy fans in general, I think this is a very good news, and this whole story just got a hell of a lot more interesting.  What’s really impressive is a layer of diversity among the writers, with input coming from many different areas, and that will hopefully help to craft a more cohesive, emotional, and successful world for our favorite Hasbro brands.

The first meeting is apparently Monday, along with Hasbro artists who will start drafting some character design as well.  Stay tuned, I sure as hell will be.

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Top 10 G.I. Joe News Stories of 2015

At any given time throughout 2015 it felt like a pretty slow news year for G.I. Joe, but as always, when you stop and look back, suddenly things don’t look quite so small.

Granted G.I. Joe product at retail was pretty much focused to a singular burst in late summer as the 50th Anniversary exploded, then faded, even though we got Convention product and FSS figures earlier in the year. With all that being said, it still feels like there were plenty of “banner moments” in G.I. Joe news for the year that was.

News was breaking right up until the last moment, and I’m actually a bit worried that if I post this prior to December 31st I might end up missing something!

Click the “read more” link below to check out the full list!

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Hasbro to build new connective cinematic universe with G.I. Joe and other brands

On the surface this sounds like a very cool, very fun idea. Underneath the surface, I can’t help but wonder exactly how this is going to work.

The Hollywood Reporter posted an article today revealing a Hasbro and Paramount joint venture to unify the universes of G.I. Joe, MASK, Visionaries, Micronauts, and ROM into one connective cinematic universe.

My first reaction, of course, is JOY. I absolutely love Joe, MASK, and Visionaries, and the mere fact that discussion of these three properties is occurring fills me with immense pleasure.

Of course my next reaction is how the heck is Hasbro going to tell a story featuring a modern military team and Knights of the Magical light and have it make any modicum of sense? Add that to Rom the Space Knight and the Micronauts, and even more confusion comes into play.

It’s funny, I could definitely see MASK and G.I. Joe co-existing on screen in a great way. I could see Visionaries, Rom, and Micronauts even existing in some strange pseudo magic-science cosmic universe. But somehow joining all five together? Very weird, although certainly not without precedence. One might point to Marvel’s success with Guardians of the Galaxy to point out how well a company can synergize more “real world” events with a more cosmic story arc, but Marvel spent half a decade building their universe around their characters. Will Hasbro and Paramount’s vision work the same way?

I guess it will be interesting to find out.

Meanwhile, I’m just ecstatic that there are two more Hasbro properties I’m enthusiastic about potentially getting a stronger focus in the coming years.

Check out the Hollywood Reporter’s article for more details.

(Visionaries image courtesy of the immensely talented stratosmacca on DeviantArt)

Writers Room from Transformers films makes its way to G.I. Joe

Paramount made waves last year when it announced a “writer’s room” with some heavy hitting film writers and developers who were all working together to build a cohesive universe for the continuation of the Transformers series of films with Michael Bay apparently stepping away from the franchise.

Well, according to Nerdist, a similar writer’s room is now forming on other Hasbro properties, including G.I. Joe and Micronauts.

This is an interesting conundrum for fans of G.I. Joe, because while a concerted team of folks working on future film development is certainly proof that Hasbro (and Paramount) are committed to investing in the future of the brand, it most assuredly means the next G.I. Joe film is likely still a few years away.

Perhaps that’s a good thing?  While many fans felt that G.I. Joe: Retaliation was a step in the right direction, it wasn’t especially well-received by the movie going public, and the delay in release certainly didn’t set a good precedent either.  With the recent financial hiccup with Jem and the Holograms, it seems that Hasbro is investing in this writer’s room to hopefully not make the same mistake with this next generation of G.I. Joe films.

Now, just because this writer’s room is happening doesn’t necessarily mean the first two Joe films are being wiped from Hollywood memory.  After all, the writer’s room worked to develop Transformers 5, which is essentially a continuation of the film franchise.

How this all turns out is anyone’s guess, but the mere fact that this writer’s room is focusing on G.I. Joe is potentially good news for fans of the franchise.  It’s proof that G.I. Joe’s  future in Hollywood isn’t yet decided, and in fact steps are being taken to try and put together a powerful film franchise.

The leader of the writer’s room working on these other properties is Akiva Goldsman (the same man who led the Transformers team), though who the actual other members are, at this point, unknown.  If some of the members remain the same, we could get some pretty powerful Hollywood talent focused on G.I. Joe, including Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead), Zak Penn (The Avengers w/ Joss Whedon), Art Marcum & Matt Holloway (Iron Man), and Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari (Ant Man).  Now it’s clear that these folks won’t likely all join Goldsman on the G.I. Joe film brand, but it’s still a fun thing to consider.

Check out the latest news on the Nerdist article here, and to get an idea of what the Transformers Writer’s Room was trying to accomplish, check out this Deadline article for more info.

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The Full Force Podcast interviews yours truly, plus some actually interesting guests, too…

When good friend Chris asked if I wanted to go on the Full Force podcast to discuss my latest non-G.I. Joe novel, The Fog of Dreams, I was pretty ecstatic.  For all of the work I put into developing the book, I’ve found precious few chances to talk about it, and it was an absolute blast.

I talked about the writing process, character building, and of course couldn’t help but dip into the G.I. Joe universe and also speak about my Kindle Worlds projects.  Thankfully, this episode of The Full Force actually has some credible people on as well, as they speak with Paddy Lennon and Brian Hickey of Total Retaliation fame, as well as caster/customizer extraordinaire RagingSpoon and Nichole.

It’s an action packed episode, so join Chris, Dave Tree, and Eddie Inman for a fantastic packed episode.  Then after you listen, please consider hopping over to Amazon.com and picking up The Fog of Dreams so you can see what the talk is all about.  It’s only $2.99 for Amazon Kindle and has a lot of appeal for G.I. Joe fans.

Take it away Full Force!

Aaron Berg on tap to write latest revision of G.I. Joe 3

The revolving door of script writers and directors on G.I. Joe 3 continues, but a pretty hot name has emerged this time around.

According to Heat Vision via the Hollywood Reporter, Aaron Berg is on the hook to pen the script for G.I. Joe 3, working alongside director DJ Caruso on the sequel.

Aaron Berg recently worked on a script entitled Section 6, diving into the origins of British spy agency MI6, so he seems to have that dark ops history in his back pocket. While he’s a new writer, Berg has received lots of praise (and a reported 7 figure deal) for his Section 6 script and seems to be a hot ticket in Hollywood right now. Rumor is, Hugh Jackman is very interested in Section 6, so Berg’s name carries at least some weight.

What does this mean for the film? Tough to say. Having a script writer with this pedigree (even if it based off only a single script) is a great start. Already cycling through Wernick/Reese, Dougherty, and now Berg, one has to wonder just what the plans are for the third G.I. Joe film. But with all of these musical chairs, perhaps fans can hold on to some hope that Paramount is desperately trying to do things right?

How this will potentially impact production remains to be seen. Early rumors were that production would begin early this year, but if they’re just barely bringing in (another) script writer, that seems highly dubious at best. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, and let’s hope the third G.I. Joe film doesn’t get stuck in some kind of development black hole.

Thanks to the Hollywood Reporter for the intel.

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What’s on Joe Mind Episode 99

Honestly, I was feeling okay, I was just tired. My favorite  team had just won the Super Bowl two nights before, but work was hectic and I hadn’t slept a whole lot in a few days, and felt like I really needed to get some rest. So when Gary and Mike offered to have Gary Head sit in for me…well, I agreed pretty quick.

This had happened a few times before. I was grateful that someone like Gary was willing to jump in at the last minute, especially because he’d asked me to be on the JDSO podcast a number of times, and I’d always found some lame excuse why I couldn’t. But the flip side of Gary filling in for me was that we rarely got a chance to record together. That seems especially hard hitting and unfortunate today.

I give Godsoe a lot of credit for sitting through this episode in editing and preparation, I’m sure I couldn’t have done it…I wouldn’t have been strong enough to listen to Goggles’ voice for three hours while deciding where to cut or adjust sound controls. It must have been difficult.

As we lead up to Episode 100, it seems appropriate that the penultimate marathon that brought us here features Gary “Goggles” Head in his last speaking role, and its a testament to his place in the G.I. Joe fandom that he got one last opportunity to voice his opinions before falling forever silent. Meanwhile, I struggle with the fact that I missed being with him on this night, I’m sure it would have been a memorable one.

You can listen to Episode 99 of What’s on Joe Mind, one that’s sure to live on for a long time, over on our Podbean page, or embedded below.

As always, the show notes are after the break.

Rest in Peace, Gary… as painful as it was, it felt good to hear your voice one last time.

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Buckle your seat belts – Crazy new G.I. Joe 3 Rumor incoming

Uhh, yeah. Crazy.

As I hope you always do, take this information with a large grain of salt, is it comes from a completely unsourced site Film Divider and at this point remains a significant question mark.

But according to the site, G.I. Joe 3 is poised to bring Tomax and Xamot to the big screen in the third G.I. Joe film, along with long time G.I. Joe operative Matt Trakker–

Wait, what?

Matt Trakker? Yes, that’s right, the main character from Kenner’s MASK toyline from the 80s is officially rumored to be a part of the third G.I. Joe film.

Film Divider doesn’t delve into where this information came from or how this character addition could drive this G.I. Joe film (or others) but it’s a very curious revelation and not one that I would think would come out of thin air.

Stay tuned.

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Great new images of unreleased Cobra HISS Launcher ROC PIT Repaint

A couple of years ago at the G.I. Joe Convention, Hasbro revealed some concept work for an unreleased repaint of the Rise of Cobra PIT Playset. While the Pit itself was mostly looked down upon by the G.I. Joe fandom (a treatment I don’t fall in line with), I think most fans found the Cobra repaint(s) pretty intriguing.

To this point, though, we only had blurry phone pics of a slideshow to base that opinion on. But no longer!

Thanks to the Eagle Eyes of Brian Hickey, a gallery with some larger, clearer pictures has been linked on the Facebook G.I. Joe Discussion Group, and I’ve mirrored them below. As much as I enjoyed the original RoC Pit Playset, this Cobra repaint does indeed look even more bad ass.

Look, I may be a bit biased… my memory of the Pit is my then-four year old daughter spending three hours putting the stickers on with me, and it’s one of my fonder G.I. Joe memories, but even without that, I think the Pit has some fun qualities, especially if fans can think of it more like an updated Mobile Command Center, and not so much like the ultimate G.I. Joe headquarters.

At any rate, check out the images of the Cobra themed repaint below.