The G.I. Joe universe is back and is in theaters with a new, Henry Golding-led origin story. It is one that focuses on the fan-favorite character Snake Eyes.
In the film, Golding stars as the titular character, described as “a tenacious loner who is welcomed into an ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage after saving the life of their heir apparent.”
Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach Snake Eyes the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing something he’s been longing for: a home. But, when secrets from his past are revealed, Snake Eyes’ honor and allegiance will be tested – even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him.
The film also stars Andrew Koji as Storm Shadow, Úrsula Corberó as Baroness, Samara Weaving as Scarlett, Haruka Abe as Akiko, Tahehiro Hira as Kenta and Iko Uwais as Hard Master.
Ahead of the film’s release Shadow and Act spoke with Golding, Koji, Corberó and Abe about their roles, being a part of the G.I. Joe universe the film’s themes and more.
“As we all know, Snake and Storm have one of the most turbulent relationships ever created,” Golding explained to us. “One minute, they’re at each other’s throats [and] the next, they’re blood brothers again. One minute, they’re fighting for the same cause, the next one, [one’s] in Cobra…one’s in [G.I.] Joe, and it’s a never-ending cycle. And it’s one of those amazing storylines that we love revisiting, but you need to understand the points of the beginning, of how this is such an intense relationship and why. And that’s kind of where we find Snake Eyes being taken in by Tommy to the Arashikage, opening his doors and training him to be the Snake Eyes that we all love and care for. But understanding that things go awry, and by the end of the movie, you’re just like left with wanting to see more.”
Koji had similar sentiments about the dynamic between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. “Tommy, he’s got a lot of layers to him, so he’s dedicated his whole life to serving the Arashikage Clan,” he said in part. “Even after (and because of) his dedication and sacrifice, the actor says that he’s still human and desires a family. I think he [Tommy/Storm Shadow] sees something in Snake Eyes that is part of his future, [which is] the vision for his future going forward. I think he sees Snake Eyes as someone as an outsider, but that’s good for the clan. He needs someone who thinks outside the box, thinks a bit differently, and who also can hold his own in a fight. I think his maybe desire for family, is maybe what blindsides him to Snake Eyes. And I think that is what is explored, it’s about him projecting something onto Snake Eyes and then seeing that projection, I think it’s just a relationship, isn’t it? Brothers who become blood brothers and all that…I think it’s very intricate. [It’s about] two alpha males who have the same kind of similar vision or trajectory and how they can come together, how they can go and break apart…Yin and Yang, right?”
Golding thinks that the film will be able to appease both fans and people not too familiar with the universe.
“I think for all of the preexisting fans, from what I’ve sort of spoken to the people who have watched it, it’s how they wanted to see the G.I. Joe kind of stories being told. So viscerally, so grounded…[and] a sense of reality,” he added. “Because that’s what the Joes are…they’re everyday people doing extraordinary things, so we need that sense of believability. So moving forward, that’s the kind of trend that we want to keep with this franchise. And one, make it look as badass as possible, which I think we thoroughly were able to accomplish with this origin story.”
And for Abe, she is sure that several of the film’s intended themes will come through to viewers.
“I think loyalty, having like somewhere you feel like you belong, how important that is, [as well as] friendship, brotherhood [and] redemption.”
Watch the full interview with the four below: