G.I. Joe fans know that Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow have had a complex connection throughout the franchise starting with the animated series way back in the 80s. The two canon characters of the Hasbro franchise have become close as brothers while training and fighting together, but eventually became bitter rivals with Snake Eyes joining the Joes and Storm Shadow becoming a Cobra.
The relationship between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow carries over not just into the new Paramount Pictures film, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, but with the actors themselves. Of course, with less swords and killing. Both actors grew up in the same area, but didn’t meet each other until being cast in the movie. Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) who plays Snake Eyes and Andrew Koji (HBO’s Warrior) who plays Tommy aka Storm Shadow grew up in the same area of England.
Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow Actors Talk About Being From The Same Area
“We’re both from Surrey,” Koji told io9 over video. “We’re Surrey boys.” Golding explained that Koji attended the same college most of his friends went to, which was also right next to where he grew up. “Two half Asian kids growing up in that area, to not have met and only to meet halfway across the world on this amazing sort of production was something really special,” Golding said. “And so our bond was naturally there from the beginning.” Koji added, “And I think some of that has probably gone into the film.”
Snake Eyes takes place in a universe where the popular military groups G.I. Joe and Cobra exists, but they are not the main focus of the the film. The origins movie focuses on Golding’s young character, who is on a revenge path after the murder of his father. He saves Tommy’s life and both form a brother-type bond and travel back to Japan to train with Tommy’s family—the Arashikage clan. There, they will train together, but both are carrying secrets.
“We are taking it out of the traditional kind of tropes of being a hero and making it as layered as possible.” Golding said regarding the Snake Eyes film. This may hint at the absence of the same Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow we know of from the action figures, the 80’s cartoons, and the earlier live-action G.I. Joe films.
“In the beginning, Snake Eyes is kind of this very mislead kind of youth. He’s had a very traumatic past and his main goal and only purpose at that point in life is vengeance … In doing that, we realize later, he has had no code of honor,” Golding said of his character. “A code of honor really implies that you have sacrificed yourself to a greater good … and something like honor only comes with family. That’s what he finds with the Arashikage. So once he finds that honor within himself, he becomes the Snake Eyes that we all know and love. That journey and that story arc, I think, was really subtle yet very important.”
Koji hopes that Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins will empower its fans. “All I wanted, really at the end of the day, was for the kids that watch this film and the fans [to be pleased],” Koji said. “I didn’t have a character or big film like this when I was growing up that I could see, [so] I want [the kids] to feel seen and heard and for them to feel empowered.”
Fans May Get More G.I. Joe Movies like Snake Eyes
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the origins film ends in a place where Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow along with G.I. Joe and Cobra, would continue in more movies if it becomes a box-office hit. If it does become a new on-going G.I. Joe universe, each actor has specific thoughts on what they would like to do next.
“I really want to see a bigger world,” Golding said. “We are very much in this microcosm of a corner of the Arashikage and Japan. But of course, the reaches of Cobra are far-reaching beyond that of where we are in this particular film. I love the world of sort of espionage, and I think G.I. Joe and this world it has that aspect. I would love something in that realm of having to kind of infiltrate … I want to see him, with the right motivations, infiltrate somewhere else. And of course, I want him to get hold the weaponry which makes him sort of iconic.”
Koji agreed with Golding. “I’d love to see him in more the Cobra look [where] he’s got a hooded look and his bow and arrow,” he said. “And I love to see him with these different weapons that he’s a master of. I’d love to see more of the Arashikage techniques. And obviously, it would be really cool to explore the psychology.”
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is directed by Robert Schwentke (Red) and is written by Evan Spiliotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse. Snake Eyes is filmed mostly in Japan with a predominately Asian cast. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins opens in theaters on July 23.