G.I. Joe Mystery Confirmed: Cobra Commander’s New Look

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 7th, 2011 at 1:46 pm,

gi joe cobra commander G.I. Joe Mystery Confirmed: Cobra Commanders New Look

There aren’t too many tent pole films left to be released this summer; the only three REALLY big films would be Public Enemies, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. That’s three more chances for Hollywood to either disappoint fans or blow them out of the water. Public Enemies and Harry Potter should be pretty safe bets for a solid performance but the G.I. Joe is still a project that could go either way.

Everyone has been talking about how bad they think the humor will be, how lame the action looks and those damn accelerator suits really have people’s knickers in a twist. But one thing I haven’t heard people bring up in awhile is the look of Cobra Commander (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

Screen Rant did report in February on the possible look of CC, based on the Hasbro toy from the movie but basically that’s all fans have seen so far. Cobra Commander has yet to make an appearance on any of the trailers, TV spots or print ads. Gordon-Levitt was announced months ago as the actor portraying the masked villain (or hooded, depending on which season of the cartoon you were watching), but other than the occasional interview he has been completely silent on the project (and his role in Christopher Nolan’s Inception as well).

Well, Gordon-Levitt recently sat down with NY Mag to talk about the role and the look of Cobra Commander:

“Yeah. My face is in it. There’s this crazy kind of getup that I wear. It’s got makeup and it’s got all this other stuff, and it’s a mask, basically. You can hardly tell it’s me. And that, to me, is the best. Doing G.I. Joe made it real easy to disappear because of all the elaborate stuff on my face.”

Gordon-Levitt goes on to talk about the makeup artist that did the makeup effects, Kazuhrio Tsuji, who is working under the tutelage of Rick Baker. That’s the same Rick Baker that did the fantastic makeup effects on Star Wars, Hellboy, X-Men 3, and Robert Downy Jr in Tropic Thunder. Tsuji has done the makeup effects for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Angels and Demons, and the upcoming Angelina Jolie action film, Salt.

Now, I like Joe Gordon-Levitt in everything from his role on Third Rock from the Sun to his overlooked performance in Brick. I have no doubt that he will do very well with whatever he is given, and regardless of what the Commander looks like, he will nail the role – although I must admit I always thought of Cobra Commander as being older.

gi joe cobra commander toy G.I. Joe Mystery Confirmed: Cobra Commanders New Look

Is this the look of the new Cobra Commander?

There are only two reasons on why the studios would decide NOT to show Cobra Commander before the release of the movie.

1 – He looks incredible and they want to “WOW” us when we finally see him after letting the anticipation build for months.

2 – He looks ridiculous and they know it and don’t want the poor publicity to affect the opening week box office numbers.

Of course, it is also highly possible that we could be looking at another Godzilla fiasco here, where they hide the lead character until the movie’s release thinking it’s going to be awesome and then it turns out not quite so.

The one thing that really gets my dander up, though, is how Hollywood appears to be in a “maskless” phase right now.  First Deadpool loses his mask in Wolverine, then Destro shows his face in G.I. Joe, while Rob Zombie feels it’s necessary to show us Michael Meyers’ face. What ‘s next? Will Disney take the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger? When will writers and directors start to understand that these characters became popular even though they have masks on (if not because of it)? It makes no sense to me whatsoever why studios feel it necessary to ruin the very thing that helps us associate the film character with the character we know and love.

What are your thoughts on Cobra Commander and his look?

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra comes to theaters August 7th, 2009.

Source: First Showing

TAGS: Gi joe
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  1. Why oh why did Levitt go for this role? What’s in it for him? Does he just want to do a “fun blockbuster action movie”?

    He’s been amazing (in every sense of the word) in his roles. Brick is one of the best movies to come out in the last few years. He nailed his role in The Lookout, another great movie. He also dumbed himself down and nailed his role in Killshot.

    So why this?

  2. Are you sure it isn’t the actor’s wanting their faces to be shown? At least in some cases?

    When Spidey 2 came out, I commented that Spidey sure does show his face a lot–must’ve been in Tobey’s contract.

    Iron Man has it made–show RDJ’s face in the tin suit!


  3. I always thought Cobra characters were “cooler” and personally I would have just advertised using Cobra characters in bad ass mode

  4. Yeah, I was also really disappointed to hear he was doing this. I mean, I can understand wanting to do a big mainstream movie, but he’s such an awesome actor it’s a shame that he did this instead of playing a villain in a Marvel movie or something.

  5. If they used the look like the original (that picture at the top of the page) it would be so much cooler but no they have to mess it up! Is cobra commander the badass I remember or is it snake eyes? I’m not sure.

  6. @Voice of Reason

    Come on, man – you should know we don’t allow f-bombs in comments. I removed it from yours.

    Don’t make work for me, I have enough to do.


  7. I believe I read a script review of the film that included minor spoilers concerning the Cobra Commander character and why we haven’t seen him in promotions thus far…







    Still there? Well supposedly he appears earlier in the film as a character called the Doctor and throughout the course of the film it is revealed that he is Cobra Commander. I guess they want to try and keep the plot twist a surprise. Unlike what I just did.

  8. Yeah, one of the reasons I became immediately skeptical about the G.I.Joe movie was the apparent treatment of the “masked” members of Cobra from the trailers.

    BTW… Public Enemies… this movie I actually know nothing about, so I tried to click on the link to see information about it, and it led to a dead link. Just pointing it out.

  9. Should be fixed now thanks for the heads up.

  10. Both cartoon versions of Cobra Commander are awesome — I don’t even know which one I prefer. I remember him wearing the one at the top of the page when he was sitting on a throne in the cartoons. I think the metallic one would make more sense for combat. Regardless, the production design of the cartoon was more realistic, believable and a lot cooler then whatever they are doing with that toy. As a matter of fact, that toy is not Cobra. That is the result of somebody who probably never watched a GI Joe cartoon or read a GI Joe Marvel comic (yeah, you’re not a true fan unless you know what I am talking about), making something up because they want to be “original”. When you base a film off of ‘previously published material’ you should keep some of what was good. Not just take the name.

    GI Joe could be amazing… I have no hope for this film. And isn’t the guy playing Cobra the kid that was on 3rd Rock from the Sun…? And everyone says that was a good casting choice?

    Cobra Commander is an evil master minding badass along the lines of military Doctor Doom but he has passion like Magneto.

    Oh and I almost forgot… his voice… his classic voice… I believe it was the same voice that did Starscream in the Transformer cartoon… does anyone know? That voice is classic… and it is a safe bet that he won’t even sound like that.

    I would have to say that Cobra, Baroness, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow (is he even in it?) are the characters that will define whether or not that was a good adaption. The forecast is grim.

    Hey does anybody remember Fire Fly…?

    I think I have thrown in the towel as far as childhood adaptions are concerned… no reason to expect non-fans to forge these films with integrity.

  11. Guys, I think you just have to accept the fact that you can’t always keep everything exactly the same when making movies from comic books or cartoons or toys…etc. If they had put wolverine in yellow spandex and giant black ear fin things…you would have thought that looked stupid. Right? I don’t think that cobra commander having a cloth over his head would have worked in this case either. Why would anyone do that to hid their face anyway. doesn’t make sense except maybe in a cartoon. They have to change things to work in the real world scenario of a live action movie. But it’s still a movie made from a kids cartoon…just dialed up for adults also. It’s still going to be a bit fantastical (if that’s even a word). So you just have to accept it for what it is and enjoy the ride. Set realism aside cause…it’s just not really that important with a movie like this. I guess what I’m trying to say is just chill and have fun…isn’t that what going to the movies is supposed to be about?

  12. @Wickamo

    I agree with you that they can’t make the movie exactly like the cartoon. It’s like reading a book the second time and gets boring.
    But if Cobra Commander looks like that action figure above then the people who made this film went completely out to left field.
    This movie could be worse than the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still which is one of the worst movies ever.

  13. This movie stopped tracking on my radar when they cast the guy from “Step Up” as Duke. Geez. I just checked this board to see if they spill on JGL’s role in Inception. No dice. That being said, him and Ray Park are the only good things attached to this film. Can’t believe Tatum snagged a role in Public Enemies(think about placing Patrick Swayze in the Godfather.) Oh well.

  14. Tatum must have an AMAZING agent.

    Seriously, he has a personality of an Alabama high school football jock.

    And yet I see his name everywhere.

    Sorry to rant.

    Huntthejest is 100% right. Ray Park and JGL are the only talent here (I also like Dennis Quaid, but I know I’m a minority).

    The Mummy was a great movie but the director lost his touch.

  15. @ Voice of Reason

    You’re probably remembering Snake Eyes the ninja / commando who was generally one of the most popular characters … Cobra Commander was always a posturing dweeb in the old cartoons, just smart enough to hatch a plan that his own arrogance would undermine. Not so in the comics. He postured and was psychotic, but definitely not a dweeb.

    They got Larry Hama, the original writer of the Marvel comic GI Joe run to consult on this, so hopefully some good will come of it, as he produced a number of surprisingly good characters and storylines. Nevertheless, my expectations are kind of low at this point.

    From what I’ve seen / read so far, there will be an element of the movie dealing with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow and their ongoing feud, but their backstory has changed from the comic continuity, which is kind of a shame.

    I’ll reserve judgement on the new look for Cobra Commander until I see how they deal with it on screen, though I’ll admit my gut reaction is to prefer the old “rag face” look and not go with the disfigurement. The comic book character was just a normal-looking guy in either a helmet or mask, but the cartoon character was a crazy mutated guy, so there’s precedent for either one.

  16. Yeah Snake-eyes was the cool ninja. He’s one of the main ones I remember. Never spoke either (I think).

    High Kalibur – it was the same voice, by Chris Latta. He was great with the high pitched rants.

    Masked characters are losing the struggle for sure. You know what will happen next. Someone will make a Judge Dredd movie and decide to remove his….
    Oh wait.

  17. ogb, count me in as being one of your minority groupies then, I also happen to like Quaid. If I go see this movie it’ll be because he’s in it, that and Ray Park is playing Snake-Eyes.

    At least the movie seems to have done some credit to the Stormshadow character, too, in terms of looks.

    I don’t mind that they are changing things around for the G.I.Joe franchise, but some things are already good enough in the first place… why fix what isn’t broken in the first place? Spider-Man succeeded despite being a masked superhero. Yes, Tobey got his share of scenes, unmasked, but I think nobody would have minded if they had made a movie where Spidey was Spidey 90% of the time and Peter Parker the other 10%…

    Anyway, that’s not even my biggest problem with the movie thus far from what I’ve glimpsed of the trailers. It just seems like it’s going to be an overdone special effects extravaganza with very little plot and character.

  18. And before anybody mentions it, yes I know that’s how some people would describe Transformers, but hey, these movies had big transforming robots kicking the crap out of each other. ;)

  19. @ steven the git

    Another change I ran across in the new Joe is that Snake Eyes is no longer mute due to disfigurement, but because of a vow of silence (at least according to one piece I read). Now, I dont’ think his disfigurement was ever specifically addressed in the cartoon, but it was a big deal in the comics, since he got that way rescuing Scarlett.

    I guess the unmasked characters here don’t really bother me as much since this an origin story and, over the course of the comic run, they unmasked them all at one point or another — even the mangled Snake Eyes (yuck).

  20. I was never a big GI Joe fan (comic book or cartoon), but I thought the trailer showed a fun action movie. Plus I also like Dennis Quaid. The Cobra Commander action figure, though, looks really dumb. As in Deadpool-sewn-shut-mouth dumb.

  21. i kinda find it wierd its not coming out in 3d though… ah well. I guess i’m in the minority for wanting to watch it for marlon wayans… i do like quaid though… innerspace till this day is still one of my favorite movies. Hopefully it doesn’t get remade…lol.

  22. That’s right! He was disfigured saving her – all comes back now.

    Makes me wonder why they have changed that. Such a good aspect of the character.

  23. The problem with a character with a blank mask is how does the actor act in it? He can’t show any emotions. So I imagine they have changed it enough that the actor can use his acting ability a bit. Otherwise they could just pull a Darth Vader and just have a voice actor do it.

  24. @thandrale

    But the problem is, if he had the hood like in the cartoons, his face is STILL covered and you’re presented with the same problem…

  25. @Vic

    f-bombs? U sure you got the right person?

  26. The Cartoons did address how Cobra Commander got disfigured.
    In Gi Joe The Movie it tells Cobra Commanders story. Where he came from, why he started Cobra and more. It is a great animated film. AND, Duke gets critically wounded by a snake from Serpentor actually showing blood squirting from Duke’s chest.

    YouTube link for part 1

  27. The animated movie has an awesome introduction sequence … but wasn’t too satisfying to me, then or now. I just couldn’t buy into the whole organic technology-based civilization business. It’s worth watching, but tried to take the series off in a strange direction, even for a cartoon that was pretty science-fiction driven. Note that the new GI Joe: Resolute doesn’t use any of that material. Resolute was fun to watch … again a little strange, since there’s blood and swearing, things that weren’t in the old shows, but weren’t too gratuitous. It was cool to see Snake Eyes do his ninja work with more realistic consequences for the bad guys. I don’t have a link handy for Resolute, but I think you can find it on YouTube or the Adult Swim site. If you like GI Joe or action cartoons, you should check it out.

  28. @space cowboy1701

    thanks for the info. It’s been a while and I needed a refresh.

  29. @ Soundwave

    No problem.

    I’m really curious to see how this one is received by the general public since it’s been so long since these characters were out there for the mainstream public.