Andrew Koji, who played Storm Shadow in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, admitted that the film lacked integrity.
Speaking with Inverse, Koji bemoaned how he was getting typecast following his role as Ah Sahm on Warrior, “I’m getting typecast already. Action stuff is just being sent to me and nonsensical stuff, and I think it’s a fight to get out of that for me — to try and not do those things or to try and do something quality and not something mind-numbing.”
“After this, it could just all be downhill for me,” he joked.
Next, Koji admitted the Snake Eyes film lacked integrity, “But at least for now [my experience on Warrior] makes me go, OK, I’d like to do stuff with integrity. And G.I. Joe really wasn’t that, was it?”
He went on, “Hollywood is just obsessed with telling the same old thing over and again. Firstly, remakes. Secondly, it’s got to be based on IP. Third, it’s so absurd because I’m just like, hold on. People want originality. Where is it? What is going on here?”
Returning to Snake Eyes, Koji revealed he knew the film would struggle at the box office when it first released, “Snake Eyes didn’t do too well, which I knew it wasn’t going to.”
The film, which hit theaters in 2021, only grossed $28.2 million at the domestic box office and another $6.4 million internationally for a global gross of $34.6 million. The movie had an estimated production budget of $88 million.
That means the film needed to at least make $220 million to break even. Given it made nowhere near that and the split the theaters take from the box office, it’s quite likely the film lost around $110 million.
As for the G.I. Joes teased at the end of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Koji does not believe Hasbro’s future plans will tie into Snake Eyes, “I think they’re probably going to reboot from the ground up. I’m cool. I did like Storm Shadow Tommy.”
As he continued, he revealed that the creatives behind the Snake Eyes movie failed it, “I found a way to love him and I think there would’ve been something to do … there would’ve been a really cool Storm Shadow film if they did it right.”
Anyone who saw the promotion material leading up to Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins realized the film lacked integrity to its source material. The film race swapped Snake Eyes from the get go by casting Henry Golding in the role.
Snake Eyes was clearly depicted as a blue-eyed, blonde white man in G.I. Joe: A Real American #93.
In fact, Snake Eyes was white going as far back as G.I. Joe: A Real American #27.
Larry Hama, who created the iconic stories around many of the G.I. Joe characters and wrote the original Marvel Comics even originally issued a statement that casting Golding did not fix his story despite outlets like Inverse claiming it did.
Hama 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. 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.”
Following Golding’s casting, the actor himself revealed the character would be depicted without wearing his mask. He stated during a press conference in Japan, “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.”
This depiction was rejected by former G.I. Joe writer Chuck Dixon who responded to Golding’s comments saying, “He kinda misses the point that that’s what Snake Eyes is all about; the mystery.”
He went on to credit Larry Hama for this aspect to the character, “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.”
“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,” Dixon elaborated.
Not only did Golding reveal he would be showing off his face throughout the film in contrast to how Snake Eyes is routinely portrayed, but he also revealed they would be significantly altering the character’s origin story and the film would be the character’s true backstory.
He told IGN, “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.””
Golding then informed the outlet that Hama informed 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.”
“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,” he concluded.
Larry Hama then appeared to defend all these decisions after previously criticizing the casting of Golding, “I really do not understand the continuity purists. Don’t they know that the entire 185 issue timeline to date is one long ret-con, and that I never had a structured long view.”
“I made up the story literally page by page. If I was still adhering to the same time line, all the main characters would now be in their seventies,” he continued.
Hama concluded, “I really love where the filmmakers have take it, and they have all done so with the greatest respect.”
The film’s producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura would then inform Empire that Hama was completely behind Golding’s casting. While discussing how the film would reveal how Snake Eyes got his name he said, ” It’s the first time we’ve explored it. Larry Hama, the creator of Snake Eyes, is in on many of the decisions.
He then discussed the fact that Snake Eyes would be unmasked, ““Snake in the comic is blond haired and blue eyed. We asked him why he made him that way. He said he didn’t really know. So we asked if he cared if he’s dark haired and Asian here? ‘Probably should have done that in the beginning!’”
When asked about these comments, Hama said, “No, I care a lot. Henry Golding puts it all right.”
Clearly, the film had no intention of staying true to its source material and even had the original comic writer change his tune about the casting of Henry Golding.
What do you make of Koji admitting the film had no integrity?