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Biggest Unanswered Questions In Snake Eyes

Spoiler warning: This article contains major plot details from "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins."

G.I. Joe has come a long way since Hasbro debuted the line of action figures in 1964. In fact, the original toys — an answer to Mattel's popular Barbie line — were simply known by the generic names "Action Marine," "Action Soldier," and "Action Sailor." Characters emerged, though, with Larry Hama's Marvel comic book series, which revived interest in the property after its 1982 debut, spawning a new action figure line as well as a slate of animated series and video games.

"G.I. Joe" enjoyed an enormously popular run for decades, but one area that eluded that franchise was a film in a live-action setting. That all changed in 2009 with the release of director Stephen Sommers' "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," in which a cast featuring Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Rachel Nichols, and Marlon Wayans brought to life such popular Joe team members as General Hawk, Duke, Scarlett, and Ripcord while Christopher Eccleston and Sienna Miller embodied such Cobra villains as Destro and the Baroness.

Following that film's underwhelming global box office take of $325.5 million against a $175 million budget, director Jon Chu took the reins of the franchise in 2013 for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." The film introduced several new cast members, including Dwayne Johnson (as Roadblock), Bruce Willis (General Joe Colton), Adrianne Palicki (Lady Jaye), and Elodie Yung (Jinx), while Luke Bracey took over the role of Cobra Commander from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who played the Cobra leader in "The Rise of Cobra." Despite a lower budget ($130 million) and a bigger cast, "Retaliation" only fared only slightly better at the worldwide box office, pulling in a lukewarm $375 million total.

Now, Paramount has rolled the dice again, taking the origin story approach with "Snake Eyes." But with a new cast and fresh story comes new details to be accounted for, especially since two of the franchises' most revered characters — Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow — are getting updated background stories. Here are the biggest unanswered questions from "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins."

Why does the film reveal Snake Eyes' face and voice?

Throughout most of the history of "G.I. Joe," the black bodysuit-clad ninja commando Snake Eyes is rarely unmasked and doesn't speak — and "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" Darth Maul actor Ray Park plays him this way in "The Rise of Cobra" and "Retaliation." After all, giving Snake Eyes a voice and unmasking him in the films would have gone against everything fans knew about the character from his previous iterations in the comic book, action figure and animated series realm.

In the comic book "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #26, we learn in the "Snake Eyes: The Origin" story that Snake Eyes' face was severely burned and damaged his vocal cords in a helicopter explosion while the commando was serving in one of his first missions with the Joes. However, in "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins," we learn that Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) suffered a traumatic event in his childhood, growing up into a drifter who seeks retribution for the tragedy. The reason for his new appearance is simple: We're meeting Snake Eyes earlier in life, and he doesn't actually put on the helmet and face shield associated with the character until the final scene.

Naturally, the film leaves the door open for more Snake Eyes and "G.I. Joe Origins" film adventures, so only time will tell whether Golding's iteration of the character will get to the point where Snake Eyes doesn't remove his mask and ceases to speak. That scenario appears to be unlikely for Paramount and Hasbro in the short term, since it would make no sense for them to conceal Golding, whose career has been on the rise since his breakthrough in the 2018 hit romantic comedy drama "Crazy Rich Asians."

If the "G.I. Joe" film chapters advance to the point where Golding's Snake Eyes removes his mask to reveal his face trauma, it wouldn't be unprecedented. In the 1983 comic book "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" #10, his mask was removed, although his face was heavily shadowed, and his partially concealed face was highlighted again in issue #26 the following year. Snake Eyes' first full unmasking came in issue #96 in 1989.

What happened to Byun-hun Lee playing Storm Shadow?

It makes sense for the producers of "Snake Eyes" to recast Park from the original films, because the actor-slash-stunt performer was concealed for both "G.I. Joe" movies and they wanted to highlight a fresh face with Golding. However, the decision to have Byun-hun Lee relinquish his role of Storm Shadow from "The Rise of Cobra" and "Retaliation" isn't as clear-cut. After all, while Storm Shadow wears his customary white ninja mask in the films, he often goes without it, which gives Lee ample face time.

The most logical explanation is that since "Snake Eyes" is a movie that traces the origin of both Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, a younger actor was needed — Lee, 50, has simply aged out of the role. By going the origin story route, the producers of the franchise have wiped the slate clean to start from the beginning. Taking over the Tommy Arashikage-slash-Storm Shadow role is Andrew Koji, whose previous work involved acting and stunt work in films like "Fast & Furious."

Early in the film, Snake Eyes encounters Tommy in a dicey situation involving Snake Eyes' nefarious crime boss, Kenta (Takehiro Hira). Seeing honor in Tommy's eyes as he points a gun in his face, Snake Eyes defies Kenta's kill order and risks his own life to save the stranger. Rewarding Snake Eyes for his courage, Tommy brings his new friend to his home in Japan, planning to present him with a set of challenges that will qualify him to join his revered Arashikage Clan. Despite a later revelation that Snake Eyes has ulterior motives, Tommy puts aside his differences so they can fight together against Kenta, who is being aided by Cobra. Tommy suffers a massive lapse in judgment in the heat of the battle, though, placing him on the outs with the clan — an event leading to his transformation into the feared ninja Storm Shadow.

While some elements of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were brought in from the comic book series — like the duo's blood brother oath — others aren't, such as the duo having served together in Vietnam. The characters' creator, Larry Hama, gave the production creative license to change elements from the comic books, so Koji's portrayal isn't so much about Storm Shadow as it is Tommy, although his wardrobe throughout the film teases the future villain's costume and the official transformation takes place in the film's mid-credits scene.

Will we see more of Akiko after her G.I. Joe debut in Snake Eyes?

Making a memorable first impression in "Snake Eyes" is Haruka Abe, who plays the Arashikage Clan's head of security — a new character in the "G.I. Joe" franchise. The exciting thing for Abe is, Akiko is far from just a functional character in "Snake Eyes," as director Robert Schwentke ("Flightplan," "RED") gave the actor just as many action scenes as her co-stars. Her character is so pivotal, in fact, that she's getting a "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" action figure produced by Hasbro, along with Golding, Koji, Úrsula Corberó (who plays the Baroness), and Samara Weaving (who plays Scarlett) — a true honor, since action figures are as pivotal to the success of the franchise as all its other forms of media.

On top of all that, Akiko's storyline is primed to continue — Akiko provides Snake Eyes with his signature costume and mask and joins him in his quest "to get Tommy back" after Tommy swears off the Arashikage Clan and becomes Storm Shadow. Mulling Akiko's potential involvement in future "G.I. Joe" installments, Abe is certainly up for more Akiko, telling Looper in an exclusive interview, "I think there's so much to be explored about her background and also her relationship, her dynamic with Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. So yeah, I can't wait to see where her character will go."

Will stars from the first two G.I. Joe films show up in future Origins movies?

Given that four major "G.I. Joe" characters have been recast for "Snake Eyes," it appears the franchise is intent on starting from scratch. Since the first two "G.I. Joe" films fell short of box office blockbuster status, the franchise had to do some major retooling, and a reboot of the movie series was the most sensible way to do it.

While future installments of "G.I. Joe Origins" will depend on box office performance and fan reception, the ending of "Snake Eyes" promises a return of Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, the Baroness, and Scarlett. That could come in the form of a "Snake Eyes 2," but more likely, if the studio is serious about the backstory concept, they could return in a different "G.I. Joe: Origins" movie featuring another Joe or Cobra character. As for the possibility of seeing Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Adrianne Palicki, Dennis Quaid, or any other actor from either "The Rise of Cobra" or "Retaliation" turn up, one of two things could happen. The most unlikely scenario would be seeing the new versions of Snake Eyes and other characters in a sequel to "Retaliation." At least as of May 2021, a "Retaliation" sequel was still a possibility, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told Entertainment Weekly.

"There have been some scripts that are in development currently," Bonaventura said. "The truth of the matter is it could have gone first if we'd gotten a good script, but we struggled. While we struggled, in came a really good 'Snake Eyes' script."

After Snake Eyes, are more G.I. Joe Origins films in the works?

While the ending of "Snake Eyes" promises more adventures with the new cast, what those adventures will be and who they will involve remains a mystery. Based on the final act in "Snake Eyes," one of the angles will involve Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, and to a larger extent, the Joes and Cobra, since the Baroness appears to have recruited Tommy into the ranks of the organization.

Since "G.I. Joe Origins" is part of the "Snake Eyes" film title, it's reasonable to think that more origin movies could be on the way. Whatever their current plans might be, Paramount Pictures isn't tipping its hand in terms of the new direction of the franchise just yet. However, Deadline reported in May 2021 that screenwriters Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse (who co-wrote the 2019 biographical thriller "Seberg," starring Kristen Stewart) "are writing a 'G.I. Joe' universe sequel for Paramount which will further expand the IP, and build on upcoming spinoff 'Snake Eyes.'"

Apart from any potential new "G.I. Joe" films, at least one other beloved character from the franchise is getting their own spinoff. In February 2021, Deadline reported that streaming giant Amazon was developing a standalone Lady Jaye series based on the Joes' famed undercover operative. Making her debut in the "G.I. Joe" animated series in 1984, Lady Jaye was first played in live action by Adrianne Palicki in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation."

According to Deadline, "The series will be a standalone story centered around Jaye, which will also connect to the larger 'G.I. Joe' universe." Could that mean that we could see Golding and his fellow "Snake Eyes" actors appear in the "Lady Jaye" spinoff? While no actors or story timeline have been revealed yet, it's conceivable.