I set out to write this article, and was immediately surprised by the fact that there was actually some stuff happening with the G.I. Joe brand in 2014. I know the fandom is eager to jump and say that G.I. Joe was high and dry in this momentous year, and from a practical perspective, it was, but even so, there were lots of things happening this year worth exploring. Not on any grand scale, however.
I suppose that’s a commentary on the state of G.I. Joe these days, where it remains somewhat relevant, but just barely. And one is forced to ask what’s worse? Being totally irrelevant, or being just relevant enough to cling around, but not relevant enough to try and push harder. It’s like the brand is stuck in this murky middle ground where it’s got the slightest hint of popularity enough for Hasbro to keep it hanging on, but not enough to get a real push. Yet, until it fades away completely, it likely won’t get a full rejuvination either.
All that being said, there were still some discussion points throughout 2014, and here are my top 10. I’m going to try very hard to maintain a sense of positivity and optimism, because dammit I still love G.I. Joe, even if the rest of the world currently couldn’t give a crap.
Based on some Hollywood rumors, it was being hypothesized that perhaps director Martin Campbell was slated to be attached to G.I. Joe 3. He was apparently on Lorenzo DiBonaventura’s “wish list” and with Jon Chu relatively busy on other projects, this seemed like something that could possibly happen.
Well, maybe not so much.
Variety is reporting that Campbell is actually attached to a comic book adaptation Sebastian X. According to the article, the script is still in draft stage, so the film is a little ways off. Theoretically I suppose he could end up doing both, but it doesn’t seem likely.
Which leaves the question, if not Campbell, then who? More Jon Chu? He’s working the set of Now You See Me 2 right now, and has already wrapped filming for Jem and the Holograms (I believe) so his dance card may be freeing up. We shall see.
Take this with a heavy dose of salt, but according to SchmoesKnow.com, the producer of G.I. Joe 3, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has expressed serious interest in bringing Martin Campbell in to direct the third installment of the G.I. Joe film franchise. There has been some question about Jon Chu’s involvement over the past few months, and with him currently deep into the sequel of Now You See Mee, it would appear that Paramount is preparing to move in a different direction.
Keep in mind, this is far from a done deal, and in fact this seems to just be a “wish list” item and not even an actual contract signature, but it certainly has some interesting elements to it.
On the one hand, Campbell directed Green Lantern, one of the more ill-advised comic book films to come out in recent years, but some might argue that wasn’t the fault of the directing. I couldn’t say one way or the other, I could only sit through about twenty minutes of it.
However, on the other hand, Campbell was also in the director’s chair for the most seminal James Bond film of the past twenty years, Casino Royale. That movie propelled Daniel Craig to super star status and completely reinvented the James Bond brand. Those two films seem like such polar opposites I have a hard time wrapping my head around this rumor.
In many ways the G.I. Joe: Retaliation action figure line is a testament to the timeless greatness of the G.I. Joe brand at large. I know in many areas of the fandom the hate flows freely in regards to the G.I. Joe: Retaliation toys, but truth be told, I think we all have a lot to be thankful for, especially when looking around the toy aisles and seeing what other film properties were dealing with in their licensed action figures.
Yes, the vehicle drivers got cost cut to five points of articulation, but by and large, from start to finish, the G.I. Joe: Retaliation line provided a wealth of terrific figures from all different era’s of G.I. Joe’s 30 year history and we should all be thankful.
There are two fans who are especially thankful. So thankful in fact, that they went through some great trouble to assemble a book focusing on the greatness of G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
In a strange marketing move by Hasbro, they have allowed a Korean video game producer “Neople” to license their Storm Shadow character for use in an online game called Cyphers. One look at the video announcement shows that it’s Storm Shadow from the film universe, which makes sense considering what a superstar Lee Byung-Hun is in his native country. That’s obviously what drove the licensing arrangement to begin with, though it does seem strange to see that single character allowed for use.
From what I can tell, Cyphers does not have an English translated version, so this will be fun mostly for Korean game players, but I thought it was a pretty interesting news tidbit regardless.
Check out the promo video below, and you can check out the website for the video game right here.
Here’s another podcast to add to your “listen” pile! Last week I spent some time with Craig “The Scream Man” Moore and Benson “BWTF” Yee to talk about the latest Transformers film (kind of) but more importantly to spin that out to how a G.I. Joe vs. Transformers film franchise could work. And even better, should it even be attempted? Benson, a devoted and diehard Transformers fan brings some awesome stuff to the table, while Craig and I just try to keep up.
It was a lot of fun to record, and I think fans of both franchises should give it a listen.
I know a lot of folks have been commenting that we don’t record new episodes nearly as often as we used to… but the good side of that is, when we do, they end up being 3+ hour marathons covering all sorts of different topics! Episode 95 certainly falls into that category, talking Boss Fight Studio, the late Don Levine with business partner Kirk Bozigian, and voice actor Michael Dobson. Expect the same level of back and forth blather, and relive the excitement of the final 36 hours of the Vitruvian HACKS Kickstarter campaign.
Listen to the latest episode on Podbean.com or embedded below and check out the Show Notes after the jump.
Many Hollywood news outlets have reported (or seem to be assuming) that G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon Chu is definitely “out” of the director’s chair for the third G.I. Joe film. While I would agree there are many signs that indicate this, Jon Chu himself reports that there is still a chance he will be working on the third Joe film.
Facebook has released a new app entitled “Mentions” which is geared towards celebrities and businesses, and last night, Chu participated in a Q & A through his Facebook page. There were many innocuous questions, but a few questions did emerge about the status of G.I. Joe 3. Chu’s responses got my attention:
By the sounds of that Facebook response, he still has a chance of being attached to G.I. Joe 3, as long as the timing is right. Sure, this could be PR talk, but it sounds like the door is at least partway open. Further down in the conversation, he is still speaking about G.I. Joe and posts the following:
Could he be referencing certain “compromises” with G.I. Joe: Retaliation? Compromises like trying to resolve the first film? Compromises like Duke’s death? Regardless, it was interesting to see Chu open up a little bit about his current status with G.I. Joe 3 and keep that door open. I for one hope it remains open, because I feel like Chu honestly loves the world and wants to do right by it.
Last year, shortly after the reported success of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, a third film was announced with Evan Daugherty writing and Jon Chu directing. In fact, we even heard from Chu himself a short while ago saying they were trying to polish up the script. Well, apparently “polishing” means scrapping the whole thing and starting over.
On the promotional tour for the latest Transformers blockbuster, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (who also produces the G.I. Joe films) was asked about the current status of G.I. Joe 3 by the folks at Collider. He confirmed earlier rumors from Dwayne Johnson that filming would begin in early 2015, and even more than that, fully put to bed the question of whether or not Jon Chu was returning to direct the third film.
Speaking of the directing efforts, Di Bonaventura said:
“We’re just starting [to talk to directors]. We’re negotiating with a writer right now, and once we close that deal—which should be any moment—then we’ll have a story locked down. I’m really excited about it.”
Interestingly, he also says they’re “negotiating with a writer”. Reports were that Evan Daugherty was writing the treatment, but either that’s changed, or he is being brought back to add some more polish to the script. As far as the shooting schedule goes, the producer says the following:
“G.I. Joe 3 we are trying to get going, starting early next year…I think it’ll be a little later than [January]. I think February or March is probably more realistic. We were originally shooting for January and I think it’s slid a little bit, but you never know. It’s still a little too early to tell yet.”
Again, this aligns with the rumors from Johnson reported several months ago. Speaking of Johnson, Di Bonaventura was quick to mention that he will play a central role in the third G.I. Joe film, but that other cast had yet to be determined. Obviously with the Arashikage symbol so front and center on the movie poster, you know there are some strong ninja elements at play…but it’s curious to see how few other commitments we have yet.
One things for sure, it’s sounding like G.I. Joe’s 51st Anniversary year is sure to be more eventful than his 50th.