Before he was brought on to direct xXx: Return of Xander Cage, D.J. Caruso was tapped to helm a third G.I. Joe film for Paramount Pictures. While that project ultimately failed to materialise, Caruso has revealed in an interview with Collider that the third film was originally going to set up a shared universe with Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise, leading to a crossover between the two franchises.
Caruso said the desire to bring them together came from the fact that it was felt that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation didn’t really click with mainstream audiences. Their thought was that crossing the franchise over with Transformers, which has been a big box office hit despite its constant negative critical and sometimes audience reception, would draw audiences to G.I. Joe.
“Well yeah, but they [Paramount] are not ready to do G.I. Joe meets Transformers yet,” said Caruso. “That’s exactly what they should do, but they’re not ready to do that, because in fact the script that I was developing, the two worlds sort of collided at the end and when they read it they were like, ‘We’re not ready to do this yet.’ They will eventually collide those two worlds and it’s probably when Mr. Bay decides he’s done with Transformers.”
Caruso was hired for G.I. Joe 3 in January 2015 with Aaron Berg tapped to write the screenplay. It was later in 2015 that Paramount decided to work on a shared universe with G.I. Joe and their other Hasbro properties, such as ROM, M.A.S.K., Micronauts and Visionaries.
While the Hasbro cinematic universe is yet to get underway, IDW recently brought the properties – including Transformers – together in their comics line. And while the status of G.I. Joe 3 is still up in the air, Caruso hopes to revisit the idea of a G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover in the future.
“It came close, but I think what the studio was trying to do was reassess it and so now they’re back to the drawing board, and we’ll be talking again about it,” Caruso said. “It’s a valuable franchise—(it’s) not that they didn’t get it right, they just wanna really get it right and see if they can push it to the next level.”
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