Paramount and toy makers Hasbro struck a deal worth its weight in gold when the studio began making movies based on Hasbro’s various playthings. The ‘Transformers’ movies have made over $3 billion worldwide. The two ‘G.I. Joe’ movies haven’t done quite as well, but Paramount isn’t giving up. In fact, they’re cranking things up even further. Not only is a third ‘G.I. Joe’ planned, but it will be part of a larger shared universe!
Looks like another studio is following in Marvel’s tracks with plans to build many movies set in the same reality and connecting to various degrees and they’re reaching into Hasbro’s catalog to do so. The other toy lines that the studio has its eyes on are M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand), Visionaries, Micronauts and ROM.
Paramount CEO Brad Grey stated:
“Paramount and Hasbro have had a longstanding relationship and we’re proud of the success we’ve enjoyed on the ‘Transformers’ and ‘G.I. Joe’ franchises. We’re excited to grow our agreement and make even more movies based upon these popular and powerful Hasbro characters and their worlds.”
Here’s a rundown of the brands, so you know what to expect:
‘G.I. Joe’ is, of course, “A Real American Hero”, a military-themed line that has been around since the 1960s, but the most popular incarnation was the one from the 80s, which established’G.I. Joe’ as an international paramilitary organization created to oppose high-tech terrorist outfit Cobra. ‘G.I. Joe’ became one of the most important pop culture elements of the decade, not just as a best-selling toy line, but a hit cartoon and comic book, plus all sorts of licensed tie-ins.
Paramount has twice attempted to kick off a film franchise based on the toy soldiers. After the disappointing first movie ‘The Rise of Cobra’, Paramount attempted to reboot completely with new characters including Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock and Bruce Willis as the original G.I. Joe, but even so, the film underperformed and didn’t impress fans. Nevertheless, Paramount is going to try again and maybe the third time will be the charm, especially if it ties in with other franchises.
Micronauts were a toy line originally released in the U.S. by Mego in the late 70s, which centered on 3 3/4″ figures which had interchangeable parts, as well as extremely detailed and multi-jointed bodies. There were also a number of vehicles and other accessories for them. These toys were imported from a Japanese line called Microman, which incidentally, eventually became the toy line we know as Transformers. At some point, Hasbro came to own the license to Micronauts, perhaps due to the fact that they own Transformers.
ROM the Space Knight was an electronic toy produced by Parker Brothers, the board game manufacturers. The toy had light and sound features and in the late 70s when it came out, was one of the first such electronic toys. Despite being built to look like a robot, it wasn’t much of an action figure and featured little articulation. Unfortunately, this fact plus the expense of the electronic components made the toy quite unappealing and it came and went quickly.
Both ROM and Micronauts are perhaps more famous due to their Marvel Comics series, which both ran for years after their toys had vanished from stores.
M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) was originally released by Kenner toys, which was later acquired by Hasbro. M.A.S.K. was essentially an amalgam of Hasbro’s hits G.I. Joe and Transformers. M.A.S.K. centered on a somewhat military good vs. evil story with smaller scale figures and vehicles and playsets that transformed from one mode to another, for instance, the Thunderhawk was a sports car that turned into a jet. In addition, the heroes and villains wore “masks” (helmets, really) which gave them each a unique super ability.
While ‘M.A.S.K.’ never achieved the popularity of either G.I. Joe or Transformers, it retains a strong cult following today. Hasbro teased fans in 2008 by making M.A.S.K. leader Matt Trakker as a G.I. Joe action figure, but sadly, they never created any additional toys based on the line. (Or did anything else with the brand, either.)
Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light were built around the new technology of holography and the toys featured holograms on their chests and scepters. These toys, like Joe and Transformers, were produced by Hasbro, in the late 80s and likewise had their own short-lived cartoon and comic book. Visionaries failed to attract attention and were quickly canceled. The cartoon was set in a world where advanced technology has failed and the citizens must resort to sorcery, with the main characters gaining animal totem-like powers.
These toy brands are quite diverse to say the least! Despite some high tech gear, G.I. Joe is essentially set in the real world and the same can be said for M.A.S.K. But Micronauts, at least according to the Marvel comics, takes place in the Microverse, a subatomic realm. ROM patrols deep space while Visionaries was set on the planet Prysmos. Exactly HOW does Paramount plan to bring these disparate properties together on the big screen?
Well, it’ll probably be years before even the next G.I. Joe comes out, so no point in worrying about it now.
Are you a fan of any of these other properties? Are you excited that they may be coming to the big screen? What do you think about them coming together?
Source: Comic Book Resources