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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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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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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Is D.J. Caruso set to helm the third G.I. Joe film?

If the rumors at Hollywood Reporter are true, then yes.

According to the Heat Vision blog, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is set to return as executive producer, and D.J. Caruso is in negotiation for the director’s seat. Caruso seems to have a largely unremarkable career, with a number of titles under his belt, but nothing that really broke through main stream.

His most recent film is a Young Adult science fiction alien movie entitled I Am Number Four. Prior to that he has a couple Shia LaBeouf films under his belt, Disturbia and Eagle Eye. I actually enjoyed Eagle Eye quite a bit and he does have a pretty decent action-oriented resume. Caruso spent some time directing television as well, with four episodes of critically acclaimed FX drama The Shield to his credit, as well as an episode of Over There, a mostly unheralded (but excellent) military oriented hour long drama from a number of years ago.

We’ll see where things go… but as I said in my 2015 things to look forward to post, we should start expecting movie news to hit, and we’re not even two weeks into 2015 and it seems to be starting. Strap in for that roller coaster.

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Ten things for G.I. Joe fans to look forward to in 2015

I know it’s been somewhat doom and gloom in the G.I. Joe realm over the past few months, even with the releases of 50th Anniversary product and continued rumors of the third G.I. Joe film, but hey, you know what?  Things aren’t all bad.

As 2015 gets kicked off, it’s important to think back on recent history, and look forward on what’s to come.  And when you really look at it, the future has some brightness for G.I. Joe fans.

Click the Continue Reading link below to check out the list!

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Top 10 G.I. Joe Stories of 2014

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. 

Check out the list after the break.

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Rumor – Martin Campbell on the short list to direct G.I. Joe 3

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.

Time will tell. Head over to SchmoesKnow.com for the full story.

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Looks like Jon Chu involvement with G.I. Joe 3 still a possibility

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:

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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:

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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.

Time will tell.

Back to the drawing (and writing) board for G.I. Joe 3

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.

Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura already confirmed that Chu was no longer involved with the project, and now word has emerged from Variety that writer Jonathon Lemkin is handling script duties. Lemkin has some writing credits to his name, including Red Planet, Shooter, and Lethal Weapon 4, though no single project that really leaps out at me.

With a new writer, an incoming new director, and a film reportedly focusing heavily on Dwayne Johnson’s Roadblock, the next year or so should prove interesting in G.I. Joe movie news.

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