10 G.I. Joe Character Designs that Will Never Make it into a Live-Action Film

By Howie Decker in Cartoons, Daily Lists
Friday, April 12, 2013 at 6:00 am

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With the news that Paramount has greenlit a third G.I. Joe movie, speculation has begun as to which characters will appear in the next installment.

Many long-time G.I. Joe fans got the visual Cobra Commander design they wanted in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This achievement is quite rare. When '80s cartoon and toy properties are rebooted as live-action feature films today, there are certain visual designs that will never make the conversion to the big screen (call it the Nolan Bat-verse effect).

Today's fans want a visual design that lends itself to realism, but still pays homage to the source material. It's a fine line that directors, set/costume designers and casting directors have to walk. This was proven with the casting choices in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - Christopher Eccleston was cast as a more cerebral, less-jacked Destro. If the film was cast to mimic the '80s cartoon and comic, Destro would have more likely been played by someone like Vin Diesel or Jason Statham.

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As crazy as it sounds, I'd actually love to see a studio and director (of any property) throw caution to the wind, buck the recent trend of skewing toward realism and go for a full-on, true-to-the-source motion picture. Picture it: lasers instead of bullets, brightly colored costumes, impractical vehicles, an insane plot. You know you'd like it.

Sadly, it will never happen. The makers of comic and cartoon based movies will continue to attempt to translate these properties into "real world" stories and aesthetics. That said, here are ten familiar G.I. Joe character designs that will never make it into a live-action feature film.

10. Gung Ho

The fanboys were set abuzz when G.I. Joe: Retaliation writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick mentioned Gung-Ho in a recent interview. Released as part of the second wave of 3 ¾" inch figures, Ettienne LaFitte is a long-time favorite of many Joe fans.

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Why Gung-Ho's classic design will never appear in a movie:

Gung-Ho epitomizes the way-overboard '80s action hero. He could knock down a half-dozen Cobra Troopers with one punch, or just lift one over his head and toss him off screen. His classic design includes a sleeveless, open vest, exposing his arms and his tattooed chest. While an iconic '80s G.I. Joe look, there's no way we ever see this version of Gung-Ho on the big screen.

9. Quick Kick

MacArthur S. Ito is a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, Go Ju Ryu, Southern Praying Mantis Kung-Fu, Tai Chi Sword, Zen Sword and Wing-Chun. Sounds like a kick-ass character to adapt to the big screen, right?

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Why Quick Kick's classic design will never appear in a movie:

While shirts and shoes might have been optional in 80s ass-kicking, that look doesn't fly today. Even the modern comic book version of Quick Kick's look has been changed, and comics are where people do battle wearing things like this:

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8. Raptor

This entry could just as easily have been "Every Figure Released in 1987". While Raptor would stick out like a sore thumb in a live-action Joe movie, in 1987 he fit right in. Other characters from '87 whose visual design will never appear in a movie: Croc Master, Crystal Ball, Psyche Out, Big Boa, Techno Viper, all of Sgt. Slaughter's Renegades, Cobra-La, and Battle Force 2000. Ironically, the G.I. Joe with possibly the most realistic visual design of them all debuted in 1987 as well: Gung-Ho in his Marine Dress Blues.

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Why Raptor's classic design will never appear in a movie:

By 1987 it was possible to populate an entire bedroom floor battlefield with shirtless combatants. Don't expect to see a movie screen filled with such character designs any time soon.

7. Tomax & Xamot

Dick Grayson + Bruce Wayne x 2 = The Crimson Twins. Tomax and Xamot have the acrobatic ability of Robin and the corporate savvy of Bruce Wayne, which makes them sound like perfect candidates to appear in the next G.I. Joe movie.

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Why Tomax & Xamot's classic design will never appear in a movie:

While Extensive Enterprises would be a great backdrop for an evil scheme (since the White House has already been done), the visual design of its top executives would certainly be altered. Gone are the matching metal knee boots and red sashes, replaced with 'real world' business attire. We can only hope they still feel each other's pain and finish each others' sentences, though.

6. Cross Country

Driver of the G.I. Joe H.A.V.O.C., this North Carolinian proved to be quite the tough cookie in the Sunbow episode "Into Your Tent I Will Silently Creep".

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Why Cross Country's classic design will never appear in a movie:

It's been said that Jon Chu wanted to give Cobra Commander his classic hooded look in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but when they screen tested it the character looked too much like a Ku Klux Klan member. Undoubtedly a wise move to avoid anything that could be misconstrued as hate symbolism- which is why Cross Country and his Confederate flag belt buckle will never appear in a G.I. Joe movie.

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