Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins will silently and stealthily shift its way out of a 2020 film industry schedule that’s been snakebit by the COVID cobra.
Studio Paramount, which is partnering with property owners Hasbro Toys to produce, plans to move the release of the Snake Eyes film—a prequel intended to relaunch the G.I. Joe film franchise—to an unspecified date in 2021, as revealed by Hasbro (via THR,) in a call about the company’s quarterly earnings report. While the film had been set to hit theaters on October 23, 2020, the companies seem to have concluded that its long-set fall premiere is no longer insulated from the destructive reach of the pandemic, which continues to leave theaters shuttered nationwide.
Indeed, Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s chairman and CEO, after citing significant COVID-era losses (seemingly due to a variety of reasons, be it the lockdowns to supply chain delays), stated that, “We’re working out the specifics with Paramount,” with regard to a new release date for Snake Eyes. Yet, if we were to take Paramount’s most recent pandemic-pushed release dates—specifically the lengthy 2021 shifts dealt to Top Gun: Maverick and A Quiet Place II—then it’s very possible that Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins could be given a similar quarantine lasting as long as a full year to October 2021. Of course, nothing has been confirmed as of yet, and the release schedule landscape is constantly shifting strategic variables against the health crisis, leaving open every possibility.
Snake Eyes will manifest as a solo outing focused on the iconic silent black-clad commando and ninja of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 3 ¾” toy line relaunch of the 1980s and ’90s. The character, a heroic member of the G.I. Joe team, is arguably the most famous of the franchise, last seen on the big screen as a dark, silent whirlwind of martial arts mastery in 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and 2013’s G.I Joe: Retaliation, played by Star Wars Darth Maul actor Ray Park (pictured above). This film, however, will see the title character played by Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding, this time mask-less and set to depict the eventually-disfigured and muted character’s tragic backstory, along with his complex relationship with eventual fellow Joe member Scarlett (Samara Weaving) and—another franchise A-lister—white-clad ninja frenemy Storm Shadow (Andrew Koji).
Make no mistake, Snake Eyes is a major priority for Hasbro and Paramount, which—in a similar approach to 2018’s Bumblebee for the Transformers property—will use the film to launch a new iteration of G.I. Joe films after the general failure of the aforementioned previous entries left the franchise dormant for the past seven years. Indeed, news came as recently as this past May that the company coalition was planning to push ahead with new G.I. Joe films, which would be built upon the prospective success of this character-centric prequel, likely set to retain cast members like Golding, Weaving and Koji, whose characters are integral to the franchise. That last tidbit came after news from last fall revealed that another G.I. Joe solo film was in the works, this one centered on (curiously enough,) Chuckles, a loud-Hawaiian-shirt-clad undercover member of the Joe team.
For now, the date on which Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins will fight for freedom wherever there’s trouble remains a mystery.