Though it’s safe to say that none of us look back on Stephen Sommers’ G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra with fond memories, at least Jon M. Chu’s follow-up G.I. Joe: Retaliation was at least a bit more fun – thanks mostly to new star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Retaliation rushed past Rise of Cobra at the box office, earning $375 million as opposed to the first film’s $302 million, which made a third movie an absolute certainty. I’m not sure if any of us here were calling for G.I. Joe 3, but perhaps, seeing as The Rise of Cobra sucked and Retaliation was bearable, third time will be the charm for the franchise.
Sadly, Jon M. Chu will not be returning to direct G.I. Joe 3 – the helmer is currently filming Jem and the Holograms and is next tipped to direct Now You See Me 2. However, according to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, getting G.I. Joe into production is still a top priority for everyone involved. At the Transformers: Age of Extinction premiere, he told Collider that:
“We’re just starting [to talk to directors]. We’re negotiating with a writer right now, and once we close that deal—which should be any moment—then we’ll have a story locked down. I’m really excited about it.”
However, because there’s still a lot to figure out behind the scenes, di Bonaventura isn’t counting on starting in January of next year, which Johnson had previously said was the plan:
“G.I. Joe 3 we are trying to get going, starting early next year…I think it’ll be a little later than [January]. I think February or March is probably more realistic. We were originally shooting for January and I think it’s slid a little bit, but you never know. It’s still a little too early to tell yet.”
Regardless, di Bonaventura is eager to solidify Johnson’s Roadblock as the new face of the franchise. Channing Tatum starred in The Rise of Cobra, but that film’s paltry reception and disappointing total gross encouraged Paramount to wipe the slate clean in Retaliation, killing off Tatum’s character and handing the reins over to Johnson’s. Of course, Tatum’s newfound status as a Hollywood A-lister (he’s gunning for an Oscar this fall in Foxcatcher) meant he was more than willing to duck out of the franchise. Luckily, Johnson seems a little more willing to preserve his reputation as an action hero in the years to come. Di Bonaventura said of his character:
“It’s interesting, it’s sort of an open possibility right now who could be in it outside of Dwayne [Johnson], he has to be in it. The last movie was really the set up, in a way, for Roadblock to take over. Dwayne came aboard a little late last time so we weren’t able to do everything I think we can do this time, and really get a story that services what the audience expects out of him, and also as an actor pushes him into areas that you wouldn’t normally explore in a big franchise movie perhaps. We have not talked about any other cast or anything, because we really need a story to be completely signed off by everybody.”
Apparently, di Bonaventura is aiming to strip the story down to bare essentials for G.I. Joe 3. He expressed a dissatisfaction with overcomplexity (?) in the first two films, stating:
“The hardest thing in film, I think, is to reduce something to something simple. You want it to be smart, you want it to have all this complexity, you want to do all these things which sometimes makes it all so confusing. How do you boil something down until you have sort of an essential construct that the audience can connect to, understand, and then we’re allowed to go crazy with it? This time we have a very clear, very defined, tight idea that I wish I had on every sequel I’ve ever worked on. Simple’s the hardest to get to.”
Once that story is nailed down, however, di Bonaventura claims that new characters will definitely be introduced in the threequel:
“One thing is for sure: there were some characters the fans were really shouting for us to put in, we’re gonna put in a few one of the ones that they know that would be new to the movie audience if they don’t know the mythology.”
I’m not sure if I’d say I’m looking forward to G.I. Joe 3, but I did enjoy Retaliation (more specifically, I enjoyed Johnson’s performance in Retaliation), so perhaps the third movie won’t be without merit.
Tell us, who do you want to see show up in G.I. Joe 3? And which director would be best suited for the franchise? Sound off below!