Paramount and Hasbro’s interconnected universe will include G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Visionaries, M.A.S.K. & ROM
If you thought the forthcoming Transformers universe was Hasbro and Paramount’s only interconnected IP, then think again. The companies have announced that five nostalgic toy properties under the Hasbro brand are going to cross-pollinate to form their own Marvel-like universe, including G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Visionaries, M.A.S.K. and ROM: SpaceKnight.
Back in October, it was reported that Tom Wheeler (Puss in Boots) would rewrite the Micronauts movie from previous drafts written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool, Zombieland). Then in November, Paramount drafted Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Batman & Robin), to repeat his duties as lead on their Transformers writers room with separate collaboratives for G.I. Joe and Micronauts. Now it seems they’ve not only combined those two teams but drafted in three more beloved Hasbro properties.
The new film series will be a joint venture between Paramount and Allspark Pictures (Hasbro’s film label) under Brian Goldner, Hasbro chairman, president and CEO, Hasbro exec vp and chief content officer Stephen Davis and Hasbro head of film development Josh Feldman.
“Paramount and Hasbro have had a longstanding relationship and we’re proud of the success we’ve enjoyed on the Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises,” Brad Grey, Paramount chairman and CEO, said in announcing the deal. “We’re excited to grow our agreement and make even more movies based upon these popular and powerful Hasbro characters and their worlds.”
“Hasbro and Allspark Pictures put storytelling at the center of everything that we do. These brands are filled with memorable stories and vivid characters, and this universe creates a framework for how they will become interconnected,” Goldner added. “Extending our partnership with Paramount allows us to continue our long-term strategy and overall vision to build dynamic worlds for all of our brands, and we are thrilled to collaborate with them as we develop these properties.”
Since Kevin Feige’s success with Marvel Studios, other companies with major IP have been eager to join in on the interconnected-universe bandwagon by establishing teams of top writing talent to map out long-form film series trajectories, including Lucasfilm’s Star Wars, Universal’s monsters and DC’s Extended Universe. While Paramount already tried and failed to jumpstart a Tom Clancy-verse with box office dud Jack Ryan, they’re clearly hoping to take advantage of this new style of integrated franchise filmmaking with both the Transformers and, for lack of a better term, the “miscellaneous” Hasbro toylines.
While audiences are already familiar with “G.I. Joe” after the two moderately successful films, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra in 2009 followed by G.I. Joe: Retaliation in 2013, you might need a refresher on the others if you were born after 1990. “ROM” started as a robotic toy kit from Parker Brothers (now a Hasbro subsidiary) and achieved a cult popularity thanks to a Marvel comic book series about a human who volunteers to transform himself into a robotic spaceknight to defend the planet Galador from invading Dire Wraiths. “M.A.S.K.” (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) was a Kenner product that spawned a one-season Saturday morning cartoon series about a special advanced task force that fights a criminal organization called V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem). Another one-and-done animated series was based around “Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light,” which also became an unsuccessful line of Hasbro action figures that had holograms on their chests and staffs to represent their supernatural magic abilities. The “Micronauts” toys were originally launched in Japan as “Microman” but were re-imagined for America by Mego toys and in a Marvel Comics series as subatomic-sized warriors.
There is no word on whether the long-term plan is to integrate this universe with the Transformers one, or if there is potential to reboot failed cinematic Hasbro properties like Battleship or Jem and the Holograms, though if these initial characters translate well, the sky’s the limit.