While Paramount works out what to do with its main GI Joe series and other potential spin-offs, the Snake Eyes solo movie is moving ahead as the next in the big-screen franchise based on the iconic Hasbro toys. And now the film just might have found its lead, with Variety reporting that Henry Golding is in talks to play the titular black-suited ninja.
For many people, the kick-ass character of Snake Eyes was one of the best things about the previous two GI Joe movies, despite being masked throughout and not uttering a word. In 2009’s The Rise Of Cobra and 2013’s Retaliation, he was played by martial arts champion Ray Park (aka the man who brought Star Wars’ Darth Maul to life). But with the studio looking to cast a higher-profile name for Snake Eyes’ solo outing, it’s likely we’ll see the mask come off at some point. Whether he’ll have any lines or not remains a mystery – the toy line/comics character was originally mute because of damage to his vocal chords, but the previous films had him taking a vow of silence instead.
If cast, this would be Golding’s highest-profile big-screen role to date – the English-Malaysian actor (and former travel show presenter) broke out as the romantic lead in the 2018 hit Crazy Rich Asians, and will next be seen starring opposite Emilia Clarke in the George Michael-inspired romcom Last Christmas, with a role in Guy Ritchie’s crime comedy The Gentlemen after that.
Snake Eyes will be directed by Robert Schwentke (who’s previously helmed Bruce Willis actioner Red and Divergent series entries Insurgent and Allegiant), with Evan Spiliotopoulos (Beauty And The Beast, The Huntsman: Winter’s War) writing the script.
There’s no word yet on a direction for the film’s plot. We could get a detailed Snake Eyes origin movie, one that also ties in plenty of Storm Shadow – the hero’s nemesis/blood brother played by Lee Byung-hun in the first two movies – for good measure. Or it could just focus on an already established Snake Eyes and maintain the mystery of the character. The question is, how much will the studio gamble on a lead character who never speaks?
But surely everyone will be happy if the climax of the movie ends up being a tribute to ‘Silent Interlude’ – a story by Larry Hama from the vastly underrated GI Joe Marvel Comics series of the 1980s. A good chunk of Snake Eyes’ mystique began right here, in a comic story told entirely without dialogue, as Snake Eyes mounts a single badass assault on baddie Destro’s castle.
Snake Eyes is now in production, with an October 2020 release date in its sights. We’ll bring you more as we have it.