Actor Henry Golding recently attempted to explain why Snake Eyes talks and is unmasked in the upcoming Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins film. Not only that, but he claimed the film is Snake Eyes’ “true backstory.”
Golding spoke with IGN, where he first claimed, “Paying homage to all eras of any IP is so important because you would not be where you are without it.”
He then went on to cite the film bringing on Larry Hama as Executive Producer in order for the film to have the creative license it wanted.
Golding stated, “Having Larry Hama onboard as Exec Producer gave us the ability to have that creative license, to work with him and come up with something that he would be proud of.”
He then stated that Hama told him “he was restricted in the way that he could tell the story in some respects [when he was writing the original comics]. And so, he had to bend to the societal norms of this character has to be of this [ethnic] descent.”
Golding added, “For Larry now it’s just like, man, we can get away with so much now. And so, building a true backstory that new fans and old fans can get on board with was so important for us.”
Hama previously explained on his Facebook why he made Snake Eyes a white guy.
The comic book creator stated, “Some people are saying that casting Golding ‘fixes’ the character of Snake-Eyes, but I disagree. I had wanted to keep him ambiguous until HASBRO introduced Storm-shadow as the only Asian character and made him a bad guy.”
He added, “I decided to ‘fix’ that by delving into his background and gradually turning him into a good guy. This is why Snake-Eyes is a white guy.”
Snake Eyes was shown to be a white guy as early as G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #25, which was published in July 1984.
Nevertheless, Golding would eventually address why they decided to unmask Snake Eyes and have him speak in the upcoming film saying that it gives “complexity to such an iconic character.”
Golding explained, “Let’s just say he wasn’t born with a mask. There’s always a beginning. And the importance for giving complexity to such an iconic character, I think drove us to be able to allow him to express himself because I don’t think we were able to see that in the comic books.”
He elaborated “We weren’t able to understand the hardships that got him to be who he is, the decisions that were made, the hurdles that had to be overcome, the wrong, the right. And we see all of that within this film because he perhaps he isn’t the best of guys in the beginning, perhaps his motivations aren’t true.”
“But what he goes through with the Arashikage [Clan] perhaps puts him back on the right track,” he concludes.
Back in 2020, Golding provided a similar explanation. He stated, “For us to never really see what is beneath the mask, it always missed something. Snake Eyes was always seen as a weapon, as almost an inanimate object.”
He continued, “But when you get to see someone’s eyes, you get to see their past, their future, the personality behind that.”
That statement was criticized by long-time G.I. Joe and Snake Eyes writer Chuck Dixon.
Dixon was upfront saying, “He kinda misses the point that that’s what Snake Eyes is all about; the mystery.”
The prolific comic book writer would also state, “Larry Hama understood the very simple principle that mystery enhances and engages the reader. The less you know, the more you want to know. And he made Snake Eyes a mystery and by making him a mystery he made him cooler.”
He added, “The other thing that Larry understands and I learned over time writing comics is that kids, who are supposed to be our primary audience, kids love to project themselves on their heroes. And who better to project yourself on then Snake Eyes, we don’t know what he looks like and he doesn’t talk. So any kid could imagine that they are Snake Eyes.”
It definitely appears this movie will be doing away with the mystique of Snake Eyes. Because not only will he be maskless, but he will also talk. And not only will Snake Eyes talk, but Golding says he has a non-distinct accent rather than an American one.
Golding explains, “He’s moved around a tremendous amount, and I think it’s non-distinct in where he’s from, what his kind of background is. I don’t want to give away too much, but we see flashes of his life before. And so, we need to understand that this guy has been underground, this guy’s been around.”
The film will also not see Snake Eyes associated with G.I. Joe when the film begins.
Golding says, “The only relationship that Snake Eyes, when we pick up with him, is his own. He is a complete loner. He’s been on his own for the majority of his life, up until the point where we pick them up in the movie. And so, his motivations, his goals are solely for himself.”
He continued, “He has to survive off his own back, and I think that’s the resilience of Snake Eyes. So he comes from this hardship, but with the proper guidance, the proper training, and the proper motivations. So he always goes back to the word of like, what are your motivations in life?”
Golding then adds, “What were the motivations for Snake Eyes in the beginning of the movie? What are they in the middle of the movie? And then what do we see them become at the end of the movie? That’s the story. That’s what [we] want to know. What did he do to become who he is? I think that’s the joy of this film. We really get to be able to kind of focus in on the important aspects.”
While Snake Eyes won’t be associated with G.I. Joe in the beginning, Golding does reveal that he will come into contact with the group through Scarlett.
He states, “I can definitely say Scarlett acts as the agent between the Arashikage and the Joes, and there is a preexisting relationship between the two.”
As for Cobra, Golding notes they are there as part of the bigger picture, but the film is predominantly focused on Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and the Arashikage.
He says, “Cobra plays a fairly large part in the bigger picture of this, of this movie, especially.”
Golding goes on to say, “You need an entire movie to be able to explain the complexities and the relationship between Cobra and GI Joe. This isn’t the movie it’s concentrating on … This movie concentrates on this one particular character, and of course the handful of others that are in close proximity to him, like Storm Shadow and the rest of the Arashikage.”
The interview with IGN would conclude with Golding claiming the film is “the kickoff to the rest of the G.I. Joe Universe. So if we didn’t leave more for you to yearn for, we wouldn’t be good storytellers.”
It seems pretty clear that this film is not about Snake Eyes, but some other character the producers, directors, and writers decided to create and give the name of Snake Eyes because it’s a recognized name in the public.
The fact that they are already talking about a G.I. Joe Universe before this film has even hit theaters is also a huge red flag. Maybe you should focus on getting the character of Snake Eyes right before you think about launching an entire universe.
And if you can’t get Snake Eyes right, which based on Golding’s statements they clearly haven’t, one has to wonder how in the world they plan to get a G.I. Joe universe right. My bet is they won’t and they probably won’t get the opportunity because this film has box office failure written all over it.
The initial trailer just looked like a generic chase scene and you wouldn’t know it had anything to do with G.I. Joe without the film’s title.
The movie is expected to arrive in theaters on July 23rd, but it’s hard to imagine a lot of people rushing to theaters to go see this one.