A new G.I. Joe movie is finally on the way in the form of a Snake Eyes spin-off. However, it won't be actor Ray Park behind the mask. Park starred as the fan-favorite character in the previous two live action movies, 2009's The Rise of Cobra and 2013's Retaliation. Unfortunately, for very practical reasons, he won't be featured in the upcoming movie, according to one of the producers.
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, a longtime producer of the Transformers franchise who also has a hand in the future of G.I. Joe on the big screen, has been making the rounds to promote Bumblebee. During a recent interview, the producer talked a little bit about Snake Eyes. Specifically, whether or not Ray Park would return. The answer is no, but as Di Bonaventura reveals, it's nothing against Park. here's what he had to say about it.
"Probably not, because we are going to the origin story. As you know in the comic book, you saw his face. And it is, I'll say, the formation of a hero. So you've got to see somebody and it can't be Ray's age, unfortunately."
It just comes down to a practical problem with the story they want to tell. Ray Park is 44-years-old. No matter how one slices it, that's too old for an origin story for Snake Eyes. While the character historically keeps the mask, for the most part, as Lorenzo Di Bonaventura mentions, this project will see him with the mask off. As such, they're going to need to get a younger actor. And, while many people love Park, he's not necessarily a big enough star to hitch a possible franchise's wagon to.
Evan Spiliotopoulos (Beauty and the Beast, Huntsman: Winter's War) is penning the screenplay for Snake Eyes. It was recently announced that Robert Schwentke (Red, R.I.P.D) is in early negotiations to helm the movie for Paramount. The studio has a strengthening partnership with Hasbro, the company behind G.I. Joe, and they've launched Allspark Pictures, a division strictly focused on turning their toys into franchises. Aside from the continuing Autobot and Decepticon adventures, G.I. Joe is easily the next most high-profile property in their catalog.
The previous two live-action G.I. Joe movies grossed a combined $678 million worldwide. While that may not seem bad, it's not quite what a studio like Paramount wants from a blockbuster franchise. Also, for what it's worth, neither entry did very well with critics. But, as it stands, this could easily be, done right, one of the biggest untapped pieces of intellectual property in Hollywood currently. Will Snake Eyes be the key to unlocking that potential? We shall have to wait and see. Paramount has an untitled G.I. Joe movie currently dated for March 27, 2020, but it's not yet clear if they will try to ready Snake Eyes for that date. This news was first reported by Slash Film.