G.I. Joe 3 is happening. Despite the debacle that was G.I. Joe: Retaliation's production (with a last minute year-long delay in release), the franchise continues to make enough money (especially overseas) to convince Paramount that another installment is worthwhile.
The series saw a major overhaul between Rise of Cobra and Retaliation; the sequel was also a semi-reboot that saw most of the cast of the original swapped out for new headliners like Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. One of the biggest missing elements in part 2 for a lot of fans was the lack of Channing Tatum's Duke - but could G.I. Joe 3 correct that?
Retaliation director Jon Chu is coming back for the third installment, and in a recent interview he basically said that the idea of Channing Tatum's Duke somehow coming back into the fold after (SPOILER) seemingly meeting his death in a Cobra ambush isn't an impossible thing in the G.I. Joe world.
While speaking to MTV:
"You never know, Storm Shadow died in the first one and came back in the second one, and then other characters have died and never come back. The G.I. Joe world, the best thing about it is you never know who's coming back and who's not."
Chu fails to mention some key facts - such as the fact that Storm Shadow (Snake Eyes' ninja nemesis) did die in the first film and come back in the second film, without a shred of information about how he was able to do so! So yes, Chu is right, there are basically no rules (and no discernible logic) when it comes to this G.I. Joe movie franchise. So Duke could - somehow, someway - be resurrected.
Of course, bringing back Duke is less important than the obvious benefits of bringing back Channing Tatum. The actor has hit it big since his Rise of Cobra days, and having him share headlining status with Dwayne Johnson is a guaranteed box office draw. On a less cynical note: the scenes of Johnson and Tatum hanging out and trading quips were some of the most fun parts of Retaliation, and the mix of buddy chemistry and action chops is definitely there. The only question is: can the franchise now afford Tatum?
In other news, Chu says that the third film will feature both returning characters and "exciting" newcomers, which should lead to plenty of speculation about who will be in G.I. Joe 3. Chu also said the the new film (which will once again be in 3D - hopefully filmed in the format this time) will be 'next level' stuff; though I'm sure more than a few of the franchise's detractors are hoping that the new film is simply on the level, rather than below it, let alone above it.
G.I. Joe 3 is currently getting underway on production. A release date has yet to be set.