Last spring fans were only a few short weeks away from the release of ‘G.I. Joe Retaliation’ when the film was pushed back almost a full year from June of 2012 to a new release date in March of 2013. The big budget sequel to the critically panned ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra’ was supposedly set to receive a few reshoots, as well as a full 3D conversion, which would explain why the film was being pushed so far back from the original release date.
One major rumor that had been circulating (due in no small part to fan speculation) was that the reshoots were going to add several additional scenes featuring Channing Tatum’s ‘Duke’ character, who was the star of the first film but was rumored to kick the bucket in the first act of the sequel in order to leave the film open for several new leads to take the spotlight. Fans were quick to point out that Duke was almost nowhere to be seen in any of the promotional materials for the film, including most of the trailers. Between the time of filming and the planned release date, Tatum had starred in several very financially successful films, leading producers to want to feature his character in a more prominent role than initially planned. Tatum was already one of only three cast members returning from the first film, so it would make sense to at least make some use of him, but is there any truth to these rumors?
Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventure claims there isn’t. In a recent interview with Crave Online, Bonaventure mentioned that the recut of the film would still be very similar to the previous cut and that the reports of massive reshoots taking place were vastly exaggerated, further touting that the delay was largely due to the 3D conversion.
“It’s not much different. Literally, we shot for three extra days. We just added sort of explanation in what we did afterwards” said Bonaventure. When asked if we would in fact be seeing more of Tatum in the film he replied “That is a complete rumor. I don’t know where that started. Literally, Channing shot for – if I have it wrong, I’m off by an hour – four hours, five hours? So it wasn’t really about that at all.”

So there you have it, it looks like Tatum will still be taking the backseat in this sequel after all. With big names like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Bruce Willis joining the cast this time around, it isn’t hard to see why his character would be less prominent. That said, does Tatum’s Duke still have a chance of survival? In the original 80’s animated ‘G.I. Joe’ film, they were set to kill off the Duke character, but changed his death to a ‘coma’ at the last minute before release due to the fear of a negative reaction from the fans. Could we be seeing something similar happening here? Maybe Duke might still have a chance! Let us know what you think in the comments below!
‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ is set to hit theaters on March 29, 2013.