Hasbro and Paramount Pictures have made a deal to expand the G.I. Joe movie franchise to become the basis for a cinematic universe which will include Micronauts, ROM, Visionaries and M.A.S.K., according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Hollywood trade doesn't give any details on specific crossover movies or standalone films for the four new franchises, but they do say it's a multi-picture deal with Hasbro's film arm, Allspark Pictures.
"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,” said Paramount chairman/CEO Brad Grey. "We're excited to grow our agreement and make even more movies based upon these popular and powerful Hasbro characters and their worlds."
Although G.I. Joe, ROM and Micronauts are generally familiar to comic book fans, M.A.S.K. and Visionaries come from deeper in the back catalog of 1980s toy lines.
M.A.S.K. had a premise similiar to G.I. Joe (complete with snake-based enemies named V.E.N.O.M.), but instead of being competing military organizations they were pilots of heavily modified vehicles. In addition, the pilots wore masks that gave them special abilities.
Visionaries (or by its full title, Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light) was a 1987 toyline Hasbro released with with a short-lived comic book series from Marvel's Star imprint and animated series by Sunbow. Visionaries featured futuristic knights with magical abilities given to them through the possession of enchanted weapons and shields that appeared as holograms on the action figures.
This deal follows in the recent expansion plans of the Transformers movie franchise, also done in a partnership between Paramount and Hasbro. Like that franchise, this new G.I. Joe-led cinematic universe will be planned with a writer's room to develop a "creative roadmap."
“Hasbro and Allspark Pictures put storytelling at the center of everything that we do. These brands are filled with memorable stories and vivid characters, and this universe creates a framework for how they will become interconnected,”said Brian Goldner, Hasbro's CEO/chairman/president. “Extending our partnership with Paramount allows us to continue our long-term strategy and overall vision to build dynamic worlds for all of our brands, and we are thrilled to collaborate with them as we develop these properties.”
No mention was made of the Transformers franchise also being included in this over-arching Hasbro cinematic universe.