Ever since the news got out a few months back that G.I. Joe 2: Cobra Strikes would only feature a few returning faces from the first installment, there's been more discussion about who exactly would be coming back for the sequel - rather than what new characters from the G.I. Joe universe would be popping up this second time around.
It seems that everyone's favorite deadly gunman/quality cook, Roadblock, will be joining the G.I. Joe team in director John Chu's upcoming film - and none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is said to be circling the role.
In its exclusive report on Johnson, Deadline also mentions that Channing Tatum looks to be all but a lock to reprise his turn as Duke in the second G.I. Joe flick - which Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner has previously described as being a standalone picture that doesn't require familiarity with the first film. However, while Duke's return has been all but a given, this is the first semi-official confirmation that Roadblock would be joining the party.
For those unfamiliar with the character: Martin F. Hinton (a.k.a. Roadblock) is an African-American soldier who joined the army in the hopes that it would provide him sufficient experience to become a professional chef. While he remains passionate about cooking, Roadblock is a physically powerful and capable warrior who's generally not to be found without his trusty M2 Browning machine gun at his side.
Johnson is once again a hot commodity - thanks to his memorable turn as the muscular and efficient cop Luke Hobbs in this year's Fast Five - even though his official return to playing action movie badasses was actually last fall's Faster. Not only is Johnson of African-Canadian and Samoan descent, he's virtually a perfect physical match for the Roadblock character (see header image). Plus, he's got the charm and knack for comedic timing that would make him a match for Martin Hinton's personality.
Chu has mentioned in the past that he wants to make the G.I. Joe sequel in a "down and dirty" style, so that the end result is a gritty and "kick-ass movie [with] action that's fun, big, [and] crazy." Johnson is definitely up for that; the former professional wrestler-turned-actor knows a thing or two about pulling off hard-hitting fight scenes, as displayed most recently during his brawl with Vin Diesel in Fast Five. Plus (with all due respect to Tatum) a G.I. Joe squad that features a Johnson version of Roadblock immediately stands out as a much more intimidating and capable force. The only downside is that if Johnson plays Roadblock, he can't play Sgt. Slaughter, as some fans would've liked. C'est la vie.
With a largely new cast, new director (Chu) and Zombieland duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernicke now tackling scripting duties, Cobra Strikes should be an improvement over its predecessor. It'll also help that the sequel will neither be shot in or converted to 3D - which should allow Chu to make the film look all the more visually stylish and gritty.
G.I. Joe 2: Cobra Strikes is slated to hit theaters next year on August 10th, 2012.