First in hand look at SDCC Revolutions Boxed Set – Guest Review

Good morning and happy ComicCon everyone!

No doubt, from a G.I. Joe perspective one of the most exciting things we learned about ComicCon this year was that Hasbro would be releasing a spectacular Revolutions Boxed Set featuring G.I. Joe scaled figures of several different characters throughout their properties, including MASK, Visionaries, Transformers, Rom, and Micronauts.

Well, good friend of GeneralsJoes and noted author James Kavanaugh, Jr. managed to get his handsome mitts on one of these Revolutions sets early and has been kind enough to put together an early review and look at the set!

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You can find the review right here and eventually I’ll pop it up in one of the menus above, as soon as I can figure out where it belongs.

Humongous thanks to James for taking time out of his busy life to grab some pictures and do a fantastic write up of this great set.  As an added bonus, here are some images of the COBRA Missile Command Center he sent along as well, featuring better looks at the COBRA’s within and filecards!

Are we in for a “different kind of (G.I.) Joe” with upcoming Cinematic Universe?

The Los Angeles Times newspaper dropped an interesting article online today discussing the upcoming release of Transformers: The Last Knight as well as a My Little Pony animated film, but within the context of the article they spoke broadly about Hasbro’s new “Cinematic Universe” initiative.

This is all old news to most of us, but where it got interesting is some very specific discussions about the G.I. Joe brand itself:

Simon Waters, the man in charge of consumer brands says the following:

“The world has changed, and I think you’re going to see G.I. Joe changing with it.”

I think the evolution and change of G.I. Joe is a natural thing, especially as you consider all of the different other brands contained within the cinematic universe.

Hasbro’s Stephen Davis elaborated on this, saying:

“We hope to create a head snap. It’s a different kind of ‘Joe’ — one that still resonates with ‘Joe’ fans but brings in an uninitiated audience and expands the audience internationally and domestically.”

Discussions of a “contemporary approach” also take place within the article, the true meaning of which is anyone’s guess at this point.

I’m glad that G.I. Joe seems to be the focus of a potential overhaul, but time will tell what Hasbro considers a “head snap” and how it will resonate with the long term fans and what it can do to bring in new fans.  I’ll certainly be watching.

Check out the full article at LATimes.com.

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Lead writer for Hasbro Cinematic Universe reveals not one, but two terrible ideas for the film series

Many fans of G.I. Joe and Hasbro properties in general have been quietly getting excited for whatever may be to come with the upcoming Hasbro Cinematic Universe.  The idea of a film “relaunch” bringing together G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., and several other Hasbro properties just seems like an idea too good to be true and an awesome way to potentially bring in a new generation of Hasbro action figure fans.

But then you read an interview with one of the lead writers, Akiva Goldsman and suddenly you’re not so sure.

Over on the Wall Street Journal (of course the full interview is hidden behind a paywall) apparently Goldsman has revealed some early ideas for this Hasbro Cinematic Universe.  Now, these are just ideas, so perhaps we shouldn’t get too worked up, but hey, we’re toy collectors, like Bruce Banner said, I’m pretty sure we’re always worked up.

Thankfully AgentsofMASK.com pulled over some of the key quotes from WSJ…well, thankfully, because at least we can read them.  Not to thankfully, because honestly, if this is the direction things are going in, I’d probably rather they just didn’t.  Here’s the quote in question:

Among the ideas they came up with were a “G.I. Joe” film set in World War II and a new version of M.A.S.K., the 1980s-era secret-agent series, that doesn’t feature the adult superspies seen in the cartoons but rather a multicultural group of youths in Detroit who come upon “magic technology” similar to what fans may remember. “That’s a story relevant for today, but if you remember the cartoon or the toy, we trigger your memory and you take a look,” Mr. Goldsman said

So, wait.  First you’re going to take the G.I. Joe universe and drop it back 40 years, effectively removing every important character, or making them irrelevant by sending them back to World War II.  Then, instead of a highly trained technology task force, M.A.S.K. is going to be a group of kids who stumble on magic technology?

Sorta like the Power Rangers?  Is that what we’re working with here?  Is that what these ace writers are bringing to the table for the Hasbro Cinematic Universe?

I know… this is one interview, effectively years before an actual movie is getting made, there’s absolutely no reason to get worked up.  A hundred things are thrown at the drawing board throughout the process and not all of them stick.  I truly hope neither of these two ideas stick.

I mean, one would think that Hasbro is bringing their brands together to try and create a more cohesive universe that looks and feels familiar.  Neither of these two concepts feels the least bit familiar, and let’s all hope these were early ideas that were quickly discarded.

Thanks to AgentsofMASK.com for pulling out some of the intel.  If anyone has a subscription to the Wall Street Journal and wants to toss the entire interview my way, I’d love to read the rest.

I think.

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From the “this is news?” department… G.I. Joe 3 delayed, waiting for the Rock

With Byung Hun Lee out doing the interview circuit for his new film The Magnificent Seven, it’s natural that some questions would come up regarding his role in the G.I. Joe movie franchise.  Speaking with LRM, the Korean actor said that:

“…that there’s a possibility to do the third one, but I think they’re waiting for the actors’ schedules. They’re arranging the schedules for the actors, especially Dwayne Johnson.”

While it is nice to hear some talk of the next installment in the G.I. Joe film franchise, I don’t think it surprises anyone that they’re building the next installment around Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Already one of the most popular actors on the planet when he filmed G.I. Joe: Retaliation, somehow the onetime wrestler has skyrocketed even further, recently pulling down the honor of the highest paid actor in Hollywood.  If G.I. Joe has the inside track to leverage Johnson’s billing for a third film, they would be painfully stupid not to do so.

At this point that means a bit of a waiting game.  When you’re one of the most popular action heroes of the current moment, a wait list generally forms, and Johnson right now has a hell of a long one.

Now the real question is, how does this play into the whole Hasbro Cinematic Universe discussion?  We’ve heard rumor upon rumor that Hasbro is trying to develop something for 2018, would that something include Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson?  That would feel like a logical step to take, but at this point it remains to be seen whether that would be considered “G.I. Joe 3″ or something else entirely.

For many, many years a G.I. Joe film franchise was considered to be in development hell, and there was much rejoicing when it finally got the green light for 2009.  Two moderately successful films later, it almost feels like we’re back in that in-between area.  Hopefully news comes out in the next 12 – 18 months that changes this perception.

Stay tuned!

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Licensing Expo in Las Vegas has a decidedly Hasbro look

Right now in Las Vegas, the 2016 Licensing Expo has launched, and while there is very little of consequence on display (some individual display with older and vintage items), it’s clear that Hasbro is officially pushing this Cinematic Universe pretty heavily.

Check out the images below from Collider, and thanks to HISSTank.com for the heads up.

G.I. Joe gearing up for (re)ignition?

So much for the quiet news days, eh?

Apparently  Hasbro has just participated in the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, and rumor has it they spent quite a while talking about their future entertainment and toy plans with the folks in attendance there.

According to staff with TFW2005, Hasbro actually spoke about G.I. Joe specifically, saying they were going to “reignite” and “reimagine” the G.I. Joe brand through the Cinematic Universe, and that they were even currently developing a new G.I. Joe animated series.

In a way, this should come as no major surprise.  G.I. Joe in its current iteration isn’t exactly a retail behemoth, and with a potential movie franchise on the way, you have to expect that Hasbro is looking to get back to the drawing board and push the franchise forward.  I am fully on board with this plan.

G.I. Joe as it currently stands remains a fantastic and relevant product.  Its design aesthetics, articulation, and overall style have very few peers at brick and mortal retail, in my opinion, the main issues all seem to fall around thematic ones and conceptual ones.  Continually revisiting the same themes from the past 30 years is not an innovative way to carry a brand forward, so really, with a film franchise coming, it only makes sense to jettison some things and start fresh.

By all accounts, that seems to be what Hasbro is prepared to do.

Unlike many of my collecting peers, I don’t feel handcuffed or wedded to three decades of past history, and I really look forward to seeing what new concepts Hasbro might develop to move into the 21st Century.  It will certainly be interesting to see what they do to dovetail a mostly real world military brand with these other interstellar adversaries, but I’m definitely on board to see what happens.

Check out TFW2005 and HissTank.com for some more specific commentary.  I think the next few years could certainly get interesting!

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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.

# # #

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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