G.I. Joe (film series)

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G.I. Joe
The official G.I. Joe Hasbro toy line logo, which is also used for the film releases
Directed by
Based onG.I. Joe
by Hasbro
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
CountryUnited States
Budget$393-415 million
Box office$715 million

G.I. Joe is a series of American military science fiction action films based on the toy line of the same name. Development for the first film began in 2003, but when the United States launched the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Hasbro suggested adapting the Transformers instead. In 2009, the first film was released, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. A second film, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, was released in 2013. A third film, centered on Snake Eyes titled Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, also serving as a reboot of the series, was released in 2021, and a fourth film, G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant, is confirmed to be in active development. A crossover film with the Transformers film series is also being developed.[1][2][3]


Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra August 7, 2009 (2009-08-07) Stephen Sommers Paul Lovett, David Elliot & Stuart Beattie Stuart Beattie, Stephen Sommers & Michael B. Gordon Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner and Bob Ducsay
G.I. Joe: Retaliation March 28, 2013 (2013-03-28) Jon M. Chu Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brian Goldner
Snake Eyes July 23, 2021 (2021-07-23) Robert Schwentke Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse
and Evan Spiliotopoulos
Evan Spiliotopoulos Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)[edit]

The first film in the series, released on August 7, 2009. It grossed $302 million worldwide. It was directed by Stephen Sommers from a screenplay by Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, and Paul Lovett and a story by Michael B. Gordon, Beattie, and Sommers.

In 1994, Larry Kasanoff and his production company, Threshold Entertainment, had held the rights to do a live-action G.I. Joe film with Warner Bros. as the distributor. Instead they chose to concentrate their efforts on their Mortal Kombat films. As late as 1999, there had been rumors that a film from Threshold Entertainment was still a possibility, but that project was canceled.

In 2003, Lorenzo di Bonaventura was interested in making a film about advanced military technology; Hasbro's Brian Goldner called him and suggested to base the film on the G.I. Joe toy line.[4] Goldner and Bonaventura worked together before, creating toy lines for films Bonaventura produced as CEO of Warner Bros. Goldner and Bonaventura spent three months working out a story, and chose Michael B. Gordon as screenwriter, because they liked his script for 300.[5] Bonaventura wanted to depict the origin story of certain characters, and introduced the new character of Rex, to allow an exploration of Duke.[6] Rex's name came from Hasbro.[7] Beforehand, Don Murphy was interested in filming the property, but when the Iraq War broke out, he considered the subject matter inappropriate, and chose to develop Transformers (another Hasbro toy line) instead.[8] Bonaventura felt, "What [the Joes] stand for, and what Duke stands for specifically in the movie, is something that I'd like to think a worldwide audience might connect with."[6]

By February 2005, Paul Lovett and David Elliot, who wrote Bonaventura's Four Brothers, were rewriting Gordon's draft.[9] In their script, the Rex character is corrupted and mutated into the Cobra Commander, whom Destro needs to lead an army of supersoldiers.[10] Skip Woods was rewriting the script by March 2007, and he added the Alex Mann character from the British Action Man toy line. Bonaventura explained, "Unfortunately, our president has put us in a position internationally where it would be very difficult to release a movie called G.I. Joe. To add one character to the mix is sort of a fun thing to do."[11] The script was leaked online by El Mayimbe of Latino Review, who revealed Woods had dropped the Cobra Organization in favor of the Naja / Ryan, a crooked CIA agent. In this draft, Scarlett is married to Action Man but still has feelings for Duke, and is killed by the Baroness. Snake Eyes speaks, but his vocal cords are slashed during the story, rendering him mute. Mayimbe suggested Stuart Beattie rewrite the script.[12] Fan response to the film following the script review was negative. Bonaventura promised with subsequent rewrites, "I'm hoping we're going to get it right this time."[13] He admitted he had problems with Cobra, concurring with an interviewer "they were probably the stupidest evil organization out there [as depicted in the cartoon]".[11] Hasbro promised to write Cobra back into the script.[14]

In August 2007, Paramount Pictures hired Stephen Sommers to direct the film after his presentation to CEO Brad Grey and production prexy Brad Weston was well received.[15] Sommers had been inspired to explore the G.I. Joe universe after visiting Hasbro's headquarters in Rhode Island.[16] The project had found the momentum based on the success of Transformers, which Bonaventura produced with Murphy.[15] Sommers partly signed on to direct because the concept reminded him of James Bond, and he described an underwater battle in the story as a tribute to Thunderball.[17] Stuart Beattie was hired to write a new script for Sommers's film,[18] and G.I. Joe comic and filecard writer Larry Hama was hired as creative consultant. Hama helped them change story elements that fans would have disliked and made it closer to the comics, ultimately deciding fans would enjoy the script.[19] He persuaded them to drop a comic scene at the film's end, where Snake Eyes speaks.[20] To speed up production before the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, John Lee Hancock, Brian Koppelman and David Levien also assisted in writing various scenes.[21] Goldner said their inspiration was generally Hama's comics and not the cartoon.[22] Sommers said had it not been for the rich backstory in the franchise, the film would have fallen behind schedule because of the strike.[23]

After Variety had reported that G.I. Joe became a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity,[24] there were reports of outrages over Paramount's alleged attempt to change the origin of G.I. Joe Team.[25] Hasbro responded on its G.I. Joe website claiming it was not changing what the G.I. Joe brand is about, and the name "G.I. Joe" will always be synonymous with bravery and heroism. Instead, it would be a modern telling of the "G.I. Joe vs. Cobra" storyline, based out of the "Pit" as they were throughout the 1980s comic book series.[26]

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)[edit]

The second film in the series, released on March 28, 2013, in 3D and IMAX 3D. It grossed $375 million worldwide. It was directed by Jon M. Chu from a screenplay written by Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick.

For the second film, after the financially successful release of The Rise of Cobra, Rob Moore, the studio vice chairman of Paramount Pictures, stated in 2009 that a sequel would be developed. In January 2011, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers of Zombieland, were hired to write the script for the sequel.[27][28] The film was originally thought to be titled G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes,[29] which was later denied by Reese.[30] Stephen Sommers was originally going to return as director of the sequel, but Paramount Pictures announced in February 2011 that Jon Chu would direct the sequel.[31][32] In July 2011, the sequel's name was revealed to be G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[33][34] Chu would later declare that Paramount wanted a reboot that also served as a sequel to The Rise of Cobra since "a lot of people saw the first movie so we don't want to alienate that and redo the whole thing."[35]

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (2021)[edit]

In May 2018, Paramount announced a film centered on Snake Eyes, with Evan Spiliotopoulos hired to write the script.[36] In December, Robert Schwentke signed on as director with principal photography scheduled to take place in Japan, Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada and Los Angeles, California.[37][38] Ray Park was later reported to not reprise the role, as the film deals with the character's origin story.[39] By August 2019, Henry Golding was cast as Snake Eyes, while Andrew Koji was set to portray Storm Shadow, replacing Lee Byung-hun, who portrayed the character in previous films.[40][41] Kimani Ray Smith was hired as Stunt Coordinator on the project.[42] In September 2019, Iko Uwais entered negotiations to portray Hard Master, while Úrsula Corberó was cast as Anastasia Cisarovna / Baroness (replacing Sienna Miller, who played the character in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra).[43][44] James Madigan was hired as the Second-Unit Director, after previously working on G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[45] By October 2019, Samara Weaving was cast as Shana O'Hara / Scarlett (replacing Rachel Nichols, who previously portrayed the character in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), while Takehiro Hira, Haruka Abe and Steven Allerick were cast in an undisclosed roles.[46][47][48]

The film was scheduled for an October 23, 2020 release date,[49][50] and was delayed to July 23, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[51]


G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant[edit]

In April 2013, a third G.I. Joe film was announced,[52] with the studio looking at the potential for it to be released in 3D format.[53][54] Chu was initially hired to return to direct the third film,[55] though the filmmaker left the project in favor of directing Jem and the Holograms instead. Producer di Bonaventura expressed interest in having Johnson and Willis reprise their respective roles, while announcing a third primary role.[56] By September of the same year, Evan Daugherty was hired as screenwriter.[1] The film was initially scheduled for a 2016 release,[57][58] though this changed when di Bonaventura revealed that the studio was in search of a new director.[59]

By July 2014, Jonathan Lemkin was hired to contribute to the script, with a plot that will focus on Roadblock. Johnson signed on to return as the star of the film.[60] The story will incorporate M.A.S.K. character Matt Trakker, and the villainous twins Tomax Paoli and Xamot Paoli.[61] In April 2015, the studio hired D. J. Caruso as director, with Aaron Berg hired to do a re-write of the previous draft of the script.[62] In January 2017, Caruso revealed that a previous draft of the script ended with the introduction of the Transformers. This was not approved by Paramount Pictures, who as a studio were "not ready...yet".[63][64] In May, Dwayne Johnson stated that he would appear in any future G.I. Joe film, and that he hopes to be a part of the franchise expansion.[65]

In May 2018, the film was titled G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant, with Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec signed on as co-screenwriters. Johnson is again in early negotiations to reprise his role, with the plot centering around his character leading a new team of Joes. That team features Daina Janack, Dr. Adele Burkhart, Wild Bill, Barbecue, General Flagg, Doc, and Keel-Haul; the primary antagonists are Tomax and Xamot. Cobra Commander has a smaller role.[66] The film was scheduled to be released on March 27, 2020, until Snake Eyes took precedence and was given that release date. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the intended October 23, 2020 release of Snake Eyes was delayed,[49][50] also delaying Ever Vigilant development. In May 2021, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura revealed that there are multiple scripts for the sequel in development.[67]

Other projects in development[edit]

  • Transformers / G.I. Joe crossover: In March 2013, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura announced that he would be interested in producing a G.I. Joe / Transformers crossover film.[2] By July, G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu stated that he is interested in directing the movie.[68] In June 2014, di Bonaventura cast doubt on the project, while acknowledging that it is an ongoing possibility.[69][70] The Transformers were initially written to be introduced at the end of G.I. Joe 3, but Paramount decided against this.[63][64] In July 2021, while stating that Paramount Pictures has been hesitant to green-light production on the crossover, di Bonneventura declared that the project is "inevitable".[3][71][72] In July 2021, the project was once again in active development.[3] In June 2023, beginning with Rise of the Beasts the two franchises began to share continuity. Producer di Bonaventura stated that in future Transformers installments, actors from the G.I. Joe films may reprise their roles.[73]
  • Philip "Chuckles" Provost film: In November 2015, Paramount Pictures announced that the G.I. Joe series would feature further installments in the future with Akiva Goldsman creating a writers room of screenwriters to determine future projects.[74] In August 2019, Paramount announced a spin-off film which will include Philip "Chuckles" Provost was in development. After completing the script for G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant, Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec were hired as co-screenwriters.[75][76]
  • Snake Eyes follow-up: In May 2020, a follow-up film to Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins was announced to be in development, with a script co-written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse. Henry Golding will reprise his role as Snake Eyes. Lorenzo di Bonaventura will return as producer, while the project will be a joint-venture production between Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Entertainment One, and Di Bonaventura Pictures.[77] In February 2021, a spin-off streaming television series centered around Alison Hart-Burnett / Lady Jaye was announced to be in development. It was intended to be an expansion of the G.I. Joe film series, and released as an Amazon Prime Video exclusive. Erik Oleson was hired at the time as showrunner, series creator, and executive producer; while Lorenzo di Benaventura was also attached as an executive producer.[78] By May 2023 however, di Bonaventura stated that the television series was no longer happening. He and the studio are looking to expand the script for the pilot episode, and develop the story as a new feature film.[79] Reports later stated that that the studio is looking to cast Michael Keaton in a future installment of the franchise.[80]

Potential shared universe[edit]

In December 2015, both Hasbro and Paramount were creating a cinematic universe, combining G.I. Joe with films based on Micronauts, Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, M.A.S.K., and Rom.[81] In April 2016, The Hollywood Reporter stated that Michael Chabon, Brian K. Vaughan, Nicole Perlman, Lindsey Anderson Beer, Cheo Coker, John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein, Joe Robert Cole, Jeff Pinkner, Nicole Riegel, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet became its writers.[82] In January 2017, Caruso stated that the script for the crossover movie was being written.[83] In October 2015, Jon M. Chu restated his intentions to create a film that includes Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Jem.[84] In May 2021, di Bonaventura stated that the writers room that was created for the plans to implement a shared universe of Hasbro intellectual properties failed and would not move forward.[85]

In July 2021, a crossover movie with the Transformers film series was once again in development, however.[3] In June 2023, beginning with Rise of the Beasts the two franchises began to share continuity. Producer di Bonaventura stated that in future Transformers installments, actors from the G.I. Joe films may reprise their roles.[73]

Short films[edit]

G.I. Joe: The Invasion of Cobra Island - Part 1 (2009)[edit]

In 2009 to promote The Rise of Cobra 2 short stop-motion films were created.[86]

G.I. Joe: The Invasion of Cobra Island - Part 2 (2009)[edit]

A sequel to G.I. Joe: The Invasion of Cobra Island - Part 1.[87]

Snake Eyes Has Something to Say... G.I. Joe Origins (2021)[edit]

Released in promotion for Snake Eyes, Paramount produced a stop-motion short film, including toys of the characters of the film where they discuss the upcoming movie as a reboot/prequel. The short debuted on the studio's YouTube channel.[88]

Morning Light: A Weapon with Stories to Tell (2021)[edit]

The home video release of Snake Eyes, included a bonus feature short that debuted in the form of an animated motion comic. The plot detailed the origins of the character's weapon, Morning Light.[89]

Main cast and characters[edit]

List indicator(s)

This section includes characters who will appear or have appeared in more than two films in the series.

  • An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
  •  A indicates an appearance through archival footage or audio.
  •  C indicates a cameo role.
  •  P indicates an appearance in onscreen photographs.
  •  U indicates an uncredited appearance.
  •  V indicates a voice-only role.
  •  Y indicates a younger version of the character.
Characters Films Related film
G.I. Joe:
The Rise of Cobra
G.I. Joe:
Snake Eyes:
G.I. Joe Origins
G.I. Joe:
Ever Vigilant
Rise of the Beasts
2009 2013 2021 TBA 2023
Snake Eyes Ray Park
Leo HowardY
Ray Park
Leo HowardYA
Henry Golding
Max ArchibaldY
Thomas "Tommy" Arashikage
Storm Shadow
Byung-hun Lee
Brandon Soo HooY
Byung-hun Lee
Nathan TakashigeY
Andrew Koji
Hard Master Gerald Okamura Gerald OkamuraA Iko Uwais
Conrad S. Hauser
Channing Tatum
Rex Lewis
Cobra Commander
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Luke Bracey
Robert BakerUV
Zartan Arnold Vosloo
Jonathan PryceC
Jonathan Pryce
Arnold VoslooC
President of the United States Jonathan Pryce TBA
Laird James McCullen XXIV
Christopher Eccleston Christopher EcclestonUC
Shana O’Hara
Rachel Nichols Samara Weaving TBA
Ana Lewis
The Baroness
Sienna Miller Úrsula Corberó
Blind Master RZA Peter Mensah
Marvin Hinton
Dwayne Johnson Dwayne Johnson
Wallace Weems
Marlon Wayans
Clayton M. Abernathy
General Hawk
Dennis Quaid
Hershel Dalton
Heavy Duty
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Abel Shaz
Saïd Taghmaoui
Brian Binder
Doctor Mindbender
Kevin J. O'Connor
Courtney Krieger
Cover Girl
Karolína Kurková
Geoffrey Stone IV
Sgt. Stone
Brendan FraserUC
Joseph Colton
G.I. Joe
Bruce Willis
Jaye Burnett
Lady Jaye
Adrianne Palicki
Dashiell Faireborn
D. J. Cotrona
Kim Arashikage
Élodie Yung
Firefly Ray Stevenson
Matt Gerald
Akiko Haruka Abe
Kenta Takehiro Hira
Noah Diaz Anthony Ramos
Agent Burke Michael Kelly
Matt Trakker TBA
Tomax and Xamot
Dania Janack
Dr. Adele Burkhart
Wild Bill
General Flagg
Film Crew/Detail
Composer(s) Cinematographer Editor(s) Production companies Distributing company Running time
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Alan Silvestri Mitchell Amundsen Jim May
Bob Ducsay
Hasbro Studios
Sommers Company
Spyglass Entertainment
di Bonaventura Pictures
Paramount Pictures 118 min
G.I. Joe: Retaliation Henry Jackman Stephen Windon Jim May
Roger Barton
Hasbro Studios
Skydance Productions
di Bonaventura Pictures
Paramount Pictures
123 min
Snake Eyes Martin Todsharow Bojan Bazelli Stuart Levy Skydance
Entertainment One
di Bonaventura Pictures
121 min


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Reference
United States International Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra August 7, 2009 $150,201,498 $152,267,519 $302,469,017 # # $175 million [90]
G.I. Joe: Retaliation March 28, 2013 $122,523,060 $253,217,645 $375,740,705 # # $130 million [91]
Snake Eyes July 22, 2021 $28,264,325 $11,800,000 $40,064,325 # # $88–110 million [92][93]
Total $300,988,883 $417,285,164 $718,274,047 # $393-415 million
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra 33% (169 reviews)[94] 32 (25 reviews)[95] B+[96]
G.I. Joe: Retaliation 29% (182 reviews)[97] 41 (31 reviews)[98] A-[99]
Snake Eyes 35% (147 reviews)[100] 43 (32 reviews)[101] B-[102]

Other media[edit]


In addition to the films, various comic books were presented by IDW Publishing:

  • G.I. Joe Movie Prequel (March – June 2009)[103]
  • G.I. Joe Movie Adaptation (July 2009)
  • Snake Eyes (October 2009 – January 2010)
  • G.I. Joe: Operation HISS (February – June 2010)
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation Movie Prequel (February – April 2012)

Video games[edit]

See also[edit]


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