At the start of this year, October was looking huge for Andrew Koji. Warrior, the groundbreaking Cinemax series launches into Season 2 starting on October 2nd. Koji plays the lead role of Ah Sahm, the character that Bruce Lee wrote for himself in his 8-page treatment that inspired the series. That’s still on. However, Koji’s first starring role on the big screen is off. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins which was originally scheduled to premiere three weeks later, has been postponed until next year.
Snake Eyes aspires to be a back-door pilot for the G.I. Joe franchise akin to what Bumblebee was for Transformers. Both franchises are Hasbro properties based on their iconic and lucrative toy lines, and there’s even talk of a crossover film connecting the G.I. Joe and Transformers universes.
Snake Eyes capitalizes on the growing popularity of the G.I. Joe ninjas, conveniently increasing marketability for the flourishing Asian markets. The standout scene in G.I. Joe: Retaliation was the ninja cliff battle. In 3D, that scene delivered just the sort of eye-popping spectacle that fandom craves.
In the first two installments, G.I. Joe ninjas remained masked, but since this is an origin story, they’ll don their masks for Snake Eyes. Originally, Snake Eyes was played by Ray Park, Darth Maul from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) takes over that titular role for the new film. Koji takes over the role of Storm Shadow who was originally played by Lee Byung-hun (Terminator: Genisys). Filling out the cast are martial arts master Iko Uwais (The Raid), internationally acclaimed Ursula Corbero (Money Heist), and ingénue Samara Weaving (Bill & Ted Face the Music).
Given the magnitude of the pandemic, Koji accepts the postponement as gracefully as he can.
“I’m fine with that,” says Koji in his strong native English accent. “I think we did the best that we could on that one. I’m hoping that I brought the most layered Storm Shadow and realistic kind of Storm Shadow to screen, even though there’s only one guy before me. I think it’s the current climate. I think the film industry’s suffering quite a bit, I’m hearing. If it’s best for the film, for the audience, for people… I don’t think many people want to go to the cinema right now. So don’t release the film. It wouldn’t be a good idea.”
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is now scheduled to open on Oct. 22, 2021.