Paramount is probably already prepping the set visits and early screenings for select movie bloggers to build good word of mouth as news arrives (via The Wrap) that director Stephen Sommers will return to direct the currently Untitled G.I. Joe Sequel. This comes on the heels of the awful mess that was the first film, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, in 2009. So why return to Sommers? While he is apparently attached to a Tarzan project at Warner Bros. as well as still developing a long-gestating When Worlds Collide remake at Paramount, the fact his last two films have been, for the most part, unwatchable can’t make him a hot commodity.
Sommers’s return to the franchise was never a sure thing after rumors he’d been fired from the first film mid-way through post-production. Those rumors were quickly declared untrue, but they remained part of the conversation all throughout the film’s theatrical run.
After several years of development, the first film in the Joe franchise wasn’t exactly a financial success, managing $150 million domestically on a reported budget of $175 million and just over $300 million worldwide. However, it left the door wide open for a (hopefully improved) sequel as the title insinuates the “rise of Cobra,” the criminal organization the Joe’s are battling led by the Cobra Commander played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. You’d have to think Levitt’s career is currently rising to the level he most likely wishes he could opt out of his sequel contract at this point. After the success of 500 Days of Summer and Inception, I doubt his first instinct is to return to play a the masked villain in a toy commercial. Though in interviews around the time he did seem to sound enthused telling VMAN Magazine, “[It was] really, really fun. It looks badass. It’s that 8-year-old in me getting to be a f***ing cool-looking guy.” Could we really expect him to say anything to the contrary?
Back in early January it was reported Paramount had hired Zombieland screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to pen the script for G.I. Joe 2 and The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider reports the studio is happy enough with that draft to begin moving forward.
Sneider also reports Channing Tatum is expected to reprise his role as Capt. Duke Hauser in the sequel, but doesn’t mention the rest of the cast which includes Sienna Miller, Ray Park, Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agabaje, Said Taghmaoui, Marlon Wayans, Arnold Vosloo, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Eccleston and Byung-hun Lee. One would assume everyone involved signed a contract for a sequel should one get made so I wouldn’t expect much re-casting, if any, to be taking place.
Quaid is certainly up for returning, telling blastr.com last September before the script , “I’m definitely on board if they do another one… I want to get out of the pit, I want to ride a horse and shoot a gun. I want a horse with an accelerator suit.”