As predicted in the final line of our G.I. Joe: Retaliation review, moviegoer support for the Hasbro/Paramount franchise has bested the film's critical drubbing, to the tune of $50+ million domestically ($130+ million globally). That impressive spring debut (nearly what the first film scored on opening weekend in a summer blockbuster slot) makes it impossible to say - with any hint of surprise - that G.I. Joe 3 is already in development.
Variety reports that Paramount now has all the rea$on it needs to push forward with yet another installment of the franchise. There are no details yet, but considering that director Jon M. Chu made Retaliation for less than Rise of Cobra (which was helmed by Mummy director Stephen Sommers), it wouldn't be surprising if Paramount brought Chu back to helm the next installment (see also: Justin Lin's rise from Tokyo Drift director to architect of the entire Fast and the Furious franchise).
Given that named recognition helped sell Retaliation, it wouldn't be surprise, either, if Dwayne Johnson continued to headline the franchise - alongside his (affordable) co-stars Adrianne Palicki (Lady Jaye) and D.J. Cotrona (Flint). Ray Park is likely to stay put in his Snake Eyes costume (if not, another martial arts actor is around), while Byung-hun Lee would also be likely to continue his American exposure as Storm Shadow. Unless the paycheck is there, don't count too hard on Bruce Willis returning.
Other actors from the first film - Marlon Wayans, Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje - are also available for re-enlistment, so there is plenty of opportunity to keep fans of the franchise happy in terms of characters/casting. SPOILER (highlight text to read it) Though, the decision to kill off Channing Tatum's Duke either has the studio feeling like it dropped the ball, or saved itself from having to cut a sizable paycheck in the future.
Based on my own review, I thought that Chu nailed the characters and aesthetic of the G.I. Joe world best, while Sommers' film had better story and character drama (if you can believe that). For the third film, a combination of the two would be welcome - as would actually shooting in the 3D format from the start (almost a guarantee, given Retaliation's opening numbers). Despite the sequel's success, there are no doubt thousands of fans who would've still preferred the movie been released in its original summer 2012 slot - a delay caused by a last-minute decision to post-convert it into 3D.
As detailed in our G.I. Joe: Retaliation episode of the SR Underground podcast, I would personally like to see a third film deal with the emergence of a secret Cobra biotech division known as... Cobra La. (An appearance from Sgt. Slaughter would also be appreciated.)
We'll keep you updated on the status of G.I. Joe 3.