Although G.I. Joe: Retaliation had a particularly troubled production period, including an eleventh-hour delay that pushed it back by almost a year for conversion to 3D, the gargantuan success with which it was greeted (the film grossed over $375 million worldwide) has been more than enough to convince Paramount that pressing forward with G.I. Joe 3 is a smart decision.
Speaking with MTV, G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu, who is staying on board to helm the third film, offered a few teasers as to what fans can expect to see in the follow-up. Most intriguing were his comments about how the fantastical structure of the G.I. Joe universe renders death a little less than permanent for many characters:
You never know, Storm Shadow died in the first one and came back in the second one, and then other characters have died and never come back. The G.I. Joe world, the best thing about it is you never know who’s coming back and who’s not.
Chu’s comments raise the possibility that Channing Tatum’s Duke, who perished early in Retaliation after a military air assault masterminded by Cobra, could rise from the dead for G.I. Joe 3. While it may be true that Storm Shadow got on the wrong end of Snake Eyes’ blades in the finale of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and lived, the white ninja has always been a somewhat-indestructible character. Comparatively, Duke was the most human, believable character in The Rise of Cobra, serving as the audience’s entry-point into the explosive world of the Joes. Bringing him back from the great beyond after his surprisingly brutal death in Retaliation would likely ruffle a few more feathers than Storm Shadow’s unexplained resurrection.
Obviously, Paramount has a vested interest in keeping Tatum around. The actor has become an A-list star since his Rise of Cobra days, starring in such hits as 21 Jump Street, The Vow and White House Down. His unceremonious exit in Retaliation was widely attributed to the actor’s high pay-check, but if Paramount can stomp up the cash, it’s fair to say that adding in Tatum, arguably the most bankable star in the G.I. Joe franchise, would be a financially-savvy maneuver by the studio.
Talking about his plans for the sequel, Chu also said that he’s “taking it to another level with this one,” adding that, “It’s gonna be a really fun movie. We’re taking it in a whole new direction.” The G.I. Joe franchise has never been about dramatic pathos, so I have to wonder what he’s talking about. If I had to make a guess, I’d say he’s referring to a new setting for the Joes to explore. Maybe space?
Chu was coy about which characters are returning, but he did note that he’s in the process of recruiting “exciting ones that I know the fans will love, and people that I’ve always wanted to work with.”
G.I. Joe 3 is currently moving towards production, though no release date has yet been determined. We’ll let you know when we hear more.