'Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins' Production Begins In Japan With A Special Ceremony

Just when you thought the G.I. Joe franchise was dead, Paramount Pictures is back with a brand new movie based on the Hasbro toy franchise. But instead of continuing the series that started with G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the studio is heading in a new direction with an origin story for one of the most popular characters in the action figure line-up.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins kicked off production in Japan today with a special event overseas that revealed the film's official logo and had some of the cast and crew partake in a special blessing ceremony at the Hie-Jinja Shrine in Tokyo, a historical Shinto site that has been around over 500 years. This ninja movie is real, and it's on the way.Henry Golding is playing the titular ninja from the G.I. Joe toyline, a character previously played by Ray Park in the other two G.I. Joe movies. The Crazy Rich Asians star was on-hand for the special event in Japan along with fellow cast members Andrew Koji, Haruka Abe, Iko Uwais, and Takehiro Hira. Ready or Not star Samara Weaving, who will also be part of the cast as Scarlett, was not on hand for the event, but director Robert Schwentke, executive producers Jeff Waxman and Erik Howsam, and stunt coordinator Kenji Tanigaki were there to receive blessings as well.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins already completed some shooting in Vancouver, Canada last year, so this isn't the start of the overall production, but just the part that will take place in Toyko, Japan. That's good since the movie is slated to hit theaters on October 23, 2020, and starting production today on a big blockbuster probably wouldn't be a good idea with that release date.

What many fans are curious about is how Snake Eyes will be handled as a character. Traditionally, he's a ninja who keeps his face obscured and never talks. But it would be pretty silly for Paramount Pictures to hire Henry Golding for that role if that's how Snake Eyes was going to appear the entire time. Since this is an origin story, we're likely going to see a lot of Snake Eyes before he chooses to keep his face and voice hidden.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, written by Evan Spiliotopoulos, will follow the titular character as he sets out for revenge for the death of his father (played by Steven Allerick of The Expanse) by joining a ninja clan, which in turn helps him accept this tragic hand he's been dealt. Snake Eyes' white ninja nemesis Storm Shadow is also supposed to have a role in the movie, played by Andrew Koji.

Can this movie rejuvenate the G.I. Joe franchise and possible begin a new franchise of movies that allow Paramount Pictures to lead-up to a new assembly of heroes in one big G.I. Joe movie? That would follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe plan of attack, but I'm not sure G.I. Joe characters have the pull to make that work. We'll find out later this year.