Well it’s official, the guy who brought us the recent documentary JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER and the two latest installments in the STEP UP franchise has been officially hired on to direct the G.I. JOE sequel from Paramount Pictures. First we get news that the screenwriter for the new HIGHLANDER reboot is the same as the one for TWILIGHT and now this!

In all fairness the director has worked with Channing Tatum (THE EAGLE, FIGHTING) in STEP UP 2: THE STREETS and seems to be quite respectful of the G.I. JOE franchise itself. Here is a little bit of what he had to say about the franchise:

“Joe, to me, is iconic. It is as American as Coke and the Boy Scouts. To have that kind of history in a brand is so rare these days. And that is so powerful. So you can’t treat Joe like its just another action movie. You can’t treat Joe as just another petty commercial movie. Joe has history. Joe has always been a part of what America is, and now the world. What it means to be a leader and a hero. For me, it is about the fun stuff like Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes, and all the gadgets. All of that stuff. But it has heart. Its heart is what America, and what heroes and leaders around the world, strive to be. I think that is what the brand needs. It needs the respect to be treated in that way.” 

There is much speculation as to who will be reprising their roles for this sequel, but it is safe to assume Tatum is on board as the leader Duke. The rest of the cast is still up in the air such as Marlon Wayans (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, SCARY MOVIE) as Ripcord, Sienna Miller (STARDUST, FACTORY GIRL) as the Baroness, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (INCEPTION, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER) as Cobra Commander himself. I will be interested in seeing who returns for this project. I am less worried about who will be cast as the best characters in the movie, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, seeing how those characters are mostly masked anyways.

I was a much bigger fan of the first G.I. JOE movie directed by Stephen Sommers (THE MUMMY, THE MUMMY RETURNS) than most people I know. I had a lot of fun with it and thought it was a wonderful mindless summer movie with spectacular special effects and some truly memorable action scenes. I am sad to see Sommers leave as director, but will remain optimistic because I am a huge fan of the source material. I hope Paramount knows what they are doing and can help deliver a G.I. JOE movie that fans will enjoy.

The untitled G.I. JOE sequel is scheduled to release Summer 2012.