'Snake Eyes': How the Henry Golding Movie Links to 'G.I. Joe'

Snake Eyes released its first trailer during the MTV Movie & TV Awards, when viewers got their first glimpse at Crazy Rich Asians' Henry Golding as the double samurai sword-toting ninja. The full title for the movie is Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, which reveals the new film is actually a prequel to the world of the classic 1980s toys and less-than classic movies starring Channing Tatum.

How Snake Eyes links to G.I. Joe

Snake Eyes has been a part of the G.I. Joe toy line since its reboot at the start of the 1980s, when he was introduced as a mysterious black-clad figure whose true identity was a classified secret.

The original Snake Eyes appeared in an entirely black uniform in 1982. Per a 2006 issue of the G.I. Joe Collectors' Club newsletter, this all-black look was actually a cost-saving measure after the team behind the toys overspent on the paint for the rest of the line.

The character is a canny choice for his own movie. He has name recognition among G.I. Joe fans, but in the comics and toys we never get to see his face, hear his voice or learn his backstory. This makes him essentially a blank slate that this new movie can take in any direction it chooses.

henry golding in snake eyes
Henry Golding in "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins." Paramount Pictures

There are some pieces of lore that this new prequel movie may choose to take. The reason he does not talk in G.I. Joe is because he was the victim of a terrible accident that left him disfigured and severed his vocal cords. Another version of the character served in the Vietnam War.

Eventually, the character's backstory evolved, and he went from being just a commando to being a fighter with ninja training. It seems the movie is based on this version of the character, with the trailer showing Golding's character learning to become a warrior among a Japanese clan from the lore of G.I. Joe known as the Arashikage.

The promo, however, does not show one classic companion to the character. The 1985 edition of the toy came with Timber, his pet wolf from the animated series. It has not yet been revealed whether Snake Eyes is set to meet his lupine buddy during the movie.

In the 2009 and 2013 G.I. Joe movies, the character was played by the British actor Ray Park, best known for his work as Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and as Toad in the original X-Men. In Snake Eyes, he is set to be portrayed by the Malaysian-British star Golding. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he said of the role: "I wanted to see something different, and I wanted it to look different, to feel different.

"To be able to launch a franchise like that, it was just too good to be true—and especially with a character like Snake Eyes about whom a lot of people don't know too much. They know him as this insane operator that completes missions and is an absolute weapon, but who's the guy behind the mask and what's his story?"

Snake Eyes is not the only G.I. Joe whose earlier life will appear in the movie. Andrew Koji is playing Storm Shadow, a fellow ninja who has a complicated past with Snake Eyes, sure to be explored in the film. Úrsula Corberó is playing the Baroness, a villain and member of the G.I. Joe group's nemesis team, Cobra. Samara Weaving will play Scarlett, a close ally to Snake Eyes whose rescue led to the injuries he has in the canon of the universe.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins comes to cinemas on Friday, July 23.