Wu Assassins and The Raid star Iko Uwais has joined the cast of Paramount’s new G.I. Joe solo film, Snake Eyes! The Indonesian action star will be portraying a younger version of Hard Master, leader of the Arashikage ninja clan and sensei of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow; being played by Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) and Andrew Koji (Warrior) respectively. Robert Schwentke (Allegiant, Red) is directing from a script by Evan Spiliotopoulos (Beauty and the Beast, Hercules). Stunt coordinator Kimani Ray Smith (Wu Assassins, Van Helsing) has also been confirmed to be involved. The new film—which begins principal photography in Vancouver and Tokyo this fall—will reportedly “center on Snake Eyes seeking revenge for his father’s death by joining a ninja clan and in the process finding acceptance.” This differs somewhat from the traditional backstory, which originally depicted Snake Eyes as a former U.S. Army Special Forces and Delta Force operator serving in a long-range reconnaissance patrol unit with Storm Shadow, who later invited him to join the Arashikage. Once Snake Eyes began to surpass Storm Shadow, Hard Master (who is also the latter’s uncle) named him as his successor as leader, causing the beginning of a rift between the two. Their friendship was shattered when Hard Master was assassinated, presumably by Storm Shadow due to jealousy. However, it was later revealed that it was a collaboration between Cobra Commander and his henchmen Firefly and Zartan that resulted in Hard Master’s death; with Storm Shadow revealed to have joined Cobra to find the real killer. This later led to him teaming up with Snake Eyes and the Joes on several occasions, even joining the team at some point. In the 2009 film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Snake Eyes—portrayed by Ray Park (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace) as an adult and Leo Howard (Conan the Barbarian) as a child—was an orphan who was caught stealing food from the clan, leading to a physical confrontation with a young Storm Shadow—played by Brandon Soo Hoo (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series)—that impressed Hard Master. From here, their mutual backstories remain largely the same; with the exception of, in the original canon, Snake Eyes is depicted as mute due to an explosion during a mission disfiguring him and damaging his vocal cords. In the previous films, he took a vow of silence following Hard Master’s death. This being a prequel setting up a new rebooted franchise, it’s likely he will speak here and suffer the damage rendering him mute at the very end or in a potential sequel or team-up Joe film.
Snake Eyes is currently slated to hit theaters October 16, 2020.