There’s a little old saying that goes something like this: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. It’s an adage uttered with more and more frequency in the current entertainment landscape, and one a whole lot of folks were thinking back when Hasbro announced they were partnering up with Paramount and an impressive team of writers to create the “Hasbro Cinematic Universe” back in 2015.
While the details were a bit fuzzy then — and are honestly no clearer now — according to The Hollywood Reporter, the partnership was meant to create “an interconnected onscreen universe featuring Hasbro’s G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Visionaries, M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) and ROM brands,” with Transformers role in all of this undefined. It’s now been nearly six years since this announcement was made, and it’s still up for debate whether or not the whole cinematic universe plan is going to work out for them because, well, not a whole lot has actually happened within that established universe, despite Hasbro and Paramount putting out two Transformers films since then. However, it looks like things are about to change. Maybe.
On July 23, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is hitting theaters, and marks the official reboot of the G.I. Joe series or — at the very least — a spin-off that could very well turn into a reboot. You see, in Snake Eyes, several characters already in the two previous G.I. Joe films have been recast, including Snake Eyes himself. While it’s true Paramount and Hasbro could write the film off as an alternate universe if it performs poorly, its success could be a jumping-off point for a new G.I. Joe saga and that anticipated connected universe — which seems perhaps optimistically anticipated by the studio considering a sequel is already in development. However, Snake Eyes isn’t the only feature in the works, nor the only one with a whole lot of vagueness surrounding its continuity.
Two Transformers movies, a new G.I. Joe film, and movies based off Rom the Space Knight and M.A.S.K. are still in the works over at Paramount, even if that aforementioned writing team that was intended to work on them has reportedly disbanded and, according to Transformers and G.I. Joe producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, “never really worked very well, unfortunately.” It would appear a lot of work is going on but isn’t being talked about, which could indicate either big plans, big hesitations, or, more likely than not, both.
While plans for other Hasbro properties feel a lot more open and are moving forward fairly smoothly (hell, see John Frances Daly’s Dungeons and Dragons movie) the ones attached to the HCU seem half-hearted and ambiguous. While combining a studio’s franchises into a singular universe has obviously worked quite well for both the MCU and to a slightly less extent the DCU, the undertaking is massive and certainly doesn’t work out for everyone. Right now, it feels as if Hasbro might be finding the whole thing a bit overwhelming and is unsure of when to fully commit to the idea, and is therefore repeatedly testing the waters and looking for feedback rather than diving right in. Just like the HCU at large, only time will tell how this all works out for them.