Robert Kirkman on How He’d Revitalize ‘GI Joe’ Movies: ‘Do Something That The Fanbase Will Latch Onto’

In June, “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment recently scored two highly coveted comic book licenses from Hasbro, “The Transformers” and “G.I. Joe,” with both planned for release this fall as part of the new “Energon Universe.”

Kirkman won’t have any input into future movies based on “G.I. Joe,” but given the difficulty that franchise has had on the big screen lately, we couldn’t help but ask Kirkman for his take now that he’s got a toehold on the universe.

“There’s certainly good aspects to the, the ‘Snake Eyes’ movie, and the other two ‘GI Joe’ movies, I think that maybe didn’t perform in the box office as much as Hasbro and Paramount would have liked,” Kirkman said during the Q&A portion of the “Transformers & G.I. Joe Return in The Energon Universe” panel at San Diego Comic-Con, hosted by’s James Viscardi.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland speaks onstage at 2023 San Diego Comic-Con

“I think that everything that seems to me that works is going back to the core aspect of things and paying tribute to what made things popular in the first place,” Kirkman added. “I think that’s what we’re trying to do with the Energon Universe- to harken back to the original cartoon stories, the original Larry Hama comics, not to try to reinvent the wheel too much, not to play fast and loose with the continuity or the character traits with characters.”

Kirkman addressed a common Hollywood problem where a comic IP in a movie is either changed or dumbed down to make the character accessible to general audiences.

“You don’t just willy nilly like give characters names that are familiar and then turn them into completely different characters,” Kirkman said.


Kirkman stressed the importance of going back to the what came before and honoring it.

“Actually do something that the fanbase will latch onto and will respect will be excited about. So I think just really getting back to the core and honoring everything that came before is all you need to do.” Kirkman added.

Kirkman also shouted out the original 1987 animated “GI Joe” film saying, “I would do the Statue of Liberty sequence from the ‘GI JOE’ movie.”

The new Energon Universe expands in December with Duke #1, a limited series from Joshua Williamson (DC’s “Superman,” “Dark Ride”) and Tom Reilly (“The Thing”), that tells the story you’ve never read before – the origins of GI Joe and Cobra in a world grappling with the arrival of the Autobots and Decepticons. When Conrad S. Hauser (codename DUKE) investigates the mysteries behind The Transformers, the answers will lead to the birth of forces for good and evil that the world never imagined.

Duke will be the first of four GI Joe limited series coming from Skybound, setting the stage for a fresh new take on GI Joe.

This will be followed by the launch of Cobra Commander #1 in January 2024, from Joshua Williamson and Andrea Milana (“Impact Winter: Rook”). In a world where Cobra doesn’t exist, one man’s sinister plans to utilize the mysterious alien substance known as Energon will send shockwaves across the globe.

For all our San Diego Comic-Con coverage, go here.

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