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Snake Eyes Movie - What We Know So Far

The cinematic "G.I. Joe" franchise has been languishing for the better part of a decade now, but if there's one guy who can rescue it, it's the deadly, black-garbed, silent ninja known as Snake Eyes. The mysterious character has been the property's most popular since it was reintroduced in its modern form in the 1980s — and while the two previously released "G.I. Joe" movies have been a mixed bag, Snake Eyes has retained every bit of his enigmatic awesomeness on the big screen.

In 2010's "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and 2013's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," the Scottish martial artist Ray Park played Snake Eyes, whose face has never been seen within Hasbro's media franchise. Although Park never showed his mug in either of those movies, you likely recognize his name — and for good reason: He's the man who gave ferocious, predatory life to Darth Maul in "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace." Since Snake Eyes is canonically Asian, Park won't be returning for the solo film — because this time, the ninja will finally be unmasked in a story that will detail the origin of the coolest character you (or maybe your big brother) ever pretended to be when you were a kid. 

Here's everything we know so far about "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins."

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins has been years in the making

The first bit of news about the "Snake Eyes" movie that the public heard came out over three years ago, way back in May 2018. At the time, the Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Paramount Pictures had put into development a "G.I. Joe" spin-off film centered around Snake Eyes, tapping the live-action "Beauty and the Beast" movie screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos to pen the script and Brian Goldner to produce. The outlet also noted that executives at Paramount and Hasbro had been keen on rebooting the "G.I. Joe" franchise, and "in the last few years have assembled writers rooms to generate movie ideas." By all accounts, the "Snake Eyes" solo flick was one such idea. 

Things were relatively quiet on the "Snake Eyes" front until December 2018, when Robert Schwentke signed on as the film's director (via the Hollywood Reporter). Audiences will know Schwentke as the director behind movies like "The Time Traveler's Wife," "R.I.P.D.," "The Divergent Series: Insurgent," and "The Divergent Series: Allegiant." A few days after that announcement, "G.I. Joe" franchise producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confirmed with Slashfilm that Ray Park "probably" wasn't playing the title character in the upcoming movie. He explained, "We are going to the origin story. As you know in the comic book, you saw his face. And it is, I'll say, the formation of a hero. So you've got to see somebody and it can't be Ray's age, unfortunately."

It wasn't until mid-2019 that the "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" cast started to come together, and a few more months after that before the movie kicked off production.

Who's in the cast of Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins?

So, if Ray Park isn't Snake Eyes, then who is? That'd be Malaysian English actor Henry Golding, whose performance as Nick Young in the beloved romantic comedy "Crazy Rich Asians" has led to roles in the feature films "A Simple Favor," "Monsoon," "Last Christmas," and "The Gentlemen." Through "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins," the talented actor will be taking on his first leading role in an action movie, and he has a heck of a supporting cast surrounding him. 

"Snake Eyes" also stars "Ready or Not" and "Bill & Ted Face the Music" actress Samara Weaving as Scarlett, a fierce G.I. Joe agent who also works for Clan Arashikage; "Money Heist" star Úrsula Corberó as the Baroness, a member of the terrorist organization Cobra; Peter Mensah of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." fame as Clan Arashikage's co-leader Blind Master; Andrew Koji of the excellent Cinemax series "Warrior" as Snake Eyes' friend-turned-deadly-nemesis Storm Shadow, who's normally Snake Eyes' blood brother in other "G.I. Joe" works; and Haruka Abe as Akiko, a Clan Arashikage trainee with connections to Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.

Rounding out the cast of "Snake Eyes" are Iko Uwais as Storm Shadow's uncle Hard Master, who leads Clan Arashikage; Takehiro Hira as Cobra member Kenta; and Steven Allerick in an unknown role.

Henry Golding's intense training for Snake Eyes

Playing a character as famous as Snake Eyes in a franchise as action-heavy as "G.I. Joe" would require even in-shape actors to get more ripped in preparation. Henry Golding, whom no one would consider unmuscular in his everyday life, got totally shredded to play Snake Eyes — undergoing intense training that yielded impressive results. Speaking with Jimmy Fallon in November 2020, Golding said that he "became a weapon" during "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" prep, and even shared a jaw-dropping clip from one of his training sessions (via YouTube).

"[The movie's team] definitely went out on a [limb] for me. Like, they had no idea I could achieve any of this. Luckily, my movement's pretty good. I've been boxing for a little while, and [doing] a bit of Muay Thai. But it put me through my paces. We had, like, four hours of choreography every single day. We had two hours of script work, then like an hour of [physical therapy]," said Golding. "For literally two and a half months, I could not sit on the toilet ... and if I made my way to the toilet, I couldn't get up from the toilet. Literally, my legs were in ruins. But it was worth it, because I became a weapon, I'm not going to lie."

From there, Golding ushered in never-before-seen footage of himself in training for "Snake Eyes." The clip showed the actor drenched in sweat, practicing his fight skills against a number of stunt performers. A weapon, indeed.

Filming Snake Eyes

The "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" cast and crew began filming in October 2019, shooting in Vancouver, Canada from the 15th of that month to the 9th of December (via the Georgia Straight). When Vancouver shooting wrapped, the production moved to a new locale: Tokyo, Japan. Variety reported on January 10, 2020 that star Henry Golding, director Robert Schwentke, and actors Iko Uwais, Andrew Koji, Takehiro Hira, and Haruka Abe "received a traditional blessing" at Tokyo's Hie-Jinja Shrine ahead of filming. 

The cast and crew spent about six weeks in Japan, and in late February 2020, Golding announced that all principal photography for "Snake Eyes" was complete. "And THAT, is a principal wrap on Snake Eyes lady's and gents," Golding wrote in the caption of an Instagram post, adding a snake emoji and a red heart emoji. "What a crew we had, Vancouver + Japan, you were unstoppable. Thank you for the dedication, this film is going to blow everyone's socks off x."

Over a year later, in March 2021, Golding came forward with another announcement about filming: "Snake Eyes" was undergoing reshoots. "I'm so grateful that we're able to pull this off. I mean, it's a really challenging period to be doing production kind of during COVID, but all precautions are being taken," Golding said in an Instagram post (via YouTube). He added that everyone on set was getting regular tests for the novel coronavirus to remain as safe as possible. "I'm so excited to get this business churning, and hopefully we'll be back to normal in no time," he concluded.

What's the release date for Snake Eyes?

If "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" was conducting reshoots in March 2021, it's obvious that it's release date can't be too soon after that. One must allow enough time for post-production fixes and edits to be made before the movie can hit theaters. As it happens — and as with countless other movies meant to debut in 2020 — "Snake Eyes" was tossed around Paramount Pictures' release schedule several times even before its round of reshoots took place.

Initially, "Snake Eyes" was slated for a March 27, 2020 release date, per the Hollywood Reporter. Before COVID-19 was even a thing that would make a March 2020 launch incredibly risky if not totally impossible, Paramount Pictures shifted "Snake Eyes" to October 16, 2020 (via Deadline) and then to October 23, 2020 (via Twitter). In July 2020, it became clear to Paramount that theaters around the world may not be open in time for "Snake Eyes" to screen in October, so the studio removed the film from its schedule entirely, as detailed by the Hollywood Reporter. A month later, the official "G.I. Joe" Twitter account announced (in a since-deleted tweet) that "Snake Eyes" would arrive in cinemas on October 22, 2021 (via the Wrap).

"Snake Eyes" didn't end up keeping that release date either. The film is now officially set to launch on July 23, 2021. Since it's a Paramount project, there's a chance that "Snake Eyes" might drop on the Paramount+ streaming service 45 days after its theatrical debut; this is the release model "A Quiet Place Part II" is following, but Paramount hasn't announced whether "Snake Eyes" will follow it as well.

What's the plot of Snake Eyes?

First and foremost, "Snake Eyes" will be an origin story — and as such, fans will get to see the events that transform him into the masked, silent badass they know and love. In the "G.I. Joe" animated series and in the Marvel comics, Snake Eyes' silence has been chalked up to damaged vocal cords, but that fact was retconned for the feature films. Snake Eyes doesn't say a word in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" because he previously took a vow of silence following the apparent murder of one of his masters at Storm Shadow's hands.

The film's story will focus on Snake Eyes accepting an invitation to begin training with the Arashikage, a clan of Japanese ninja. The process will prove more difficult than anyone bargained for, as the truth about Snake Eyes' past comes to the surface, his mind and heart are tested, and his body is pushed to its limits. Of course, with Storm Shadow a key member of the character roster, there should be an epic showdown between the dangerous man and his former friend Snake Eyes.

Remarks that star Henry Golding has made indicate that "Snake Eyes" will be charged with a weighty task: rebooting the entire "G.I. Joe" film series. During a press conference in January 2020, the actor said, "[The movie is] unlike anything people will have seen. We're really starting a new timeline, a new franchise with[in] the 'G.I. Joe' universe. To kick it off with such a distinct and stylized film, I think, it really sets the precedent for follow-up movies" (via Inverse).

While one could make the case that Paramount and Hasbro are jumping the gun by rebooting the series after only two films, it seems like a smart move. "G.I. Joe" has the potential to be a smash-hit property along the lines of the "Fast and Furious" and "Mission: Impossible" franchises, but "Rise of Cobra" and "Retaliation" underperformed critically and commercially. In his past comments, Golding perhaps inadvertently pinned down one big reason for this: a lack of personality. "Snake Eyes" can fix that, reintroducing the franchise by way of an origin flick for its most compelling and unique character.

The trailers for Snake Eyes

Paramount Pictures has released two trailers for "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" as of June 2021: a teaser that's just under a minute long, which dropped on May 16, and a full-length trailer, subtitled "Behind the Mask," that rolled out on June 21.

When fans got their first in-motion look at "Snake Eyes," Twitter went wild. Though the teaser trailer is pretty straightforward — it sets up the main plot, puts down the groundwork for how Snake Eyes ends up training with an ancient ninja clan, and gives a taste of the amount and intensity of action to expect — fans of the franchise had a full-blown collective meltdown on social media. One Twitter user wrote in response to the footage, "SOOOOOO READYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!" As if all those exclamation points weren't enough to convey their excitement, the fan added seven smiley-face emojis, eight hands-raised-in-celebration emojis, and 37 — yes, 37 — fire emojis.

The full-length "Snake Eyes" trailer evoked similar responses from fans, opening on a heart-stopping, bare-knuckles fight between Snake Eyes and an opponent both taller and physically bigger than him. This round of footage gives a clear answer as to how Snake Eyes moves from his old life working in a fish market to training with Clan Arashikage: He saves Storm Shadow from certain death, choosing to shoot the chains he's bound in instead of the man himself. Storm Shadow takes Snake Eyes to his home and tells him that he can offer him "a purpose." Thus begins Snake Eyes' life-changing journey that leads to his eventual battle against Cobra.

There's already a Snake Eyes sequel in the works

Though "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" has yet to open in theaters, Paramount and Hasbro executives already have a sequel in the works. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news in an exclusive report on May 1, 2020, detailing that "Rebecca" and "Seberg" writers Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse teamed up to co-write the script for "Snake Eyes 2." Lorenzo di Bonaventura is returning to produce and, of course, Henry Golding is circling back to star as Snake Eyes. 

There isn't a whole lot of information about the "Snake Eyes" sequel out there just yet, and fans will have to wait to see the first flick to know what might happen in the second. It stands to reason that "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" could end with its eponymous character taking a vow of silence or venturing to never show his face again, although doing both, while canonically accurate, might make for an underwhelming follow-up film. Lucasfilm's Disney+ streaming series "The Mandalorian" proved that a project's main character doesn't have to show their face at all times — Pedro Pascal's Din Djarin almost never takes his helmet off — but that they should at least speak. Bonus points for wit and humor when the character does engage in conversation. How will fans feel if Snake Eyes hides his face but not his voice, or vice versa, instead of doing both down the line?

In any case, it says a lot that Paramount and Hasbro greenlit a sequel well before "Snake Eyes" debuted. Fingers crossed that when "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" debuts on July 23, it'll blow everyone away.