After the surprise announcement that Transmetropolitan and Planetary writer Warren Ellis was the man behind the new, "adult", GI Joe cartoon GI Joe: Resolute stunned fans of both Ellis and the Joes a couple of weeks ago, enough dust seems to have settled that Ellis has felt it safe to start talking about the project's origins.
Interestingly enough, one of the aims for Resolute was to reboot the franchise into something more movie-friendly:
The point was to write an hour-long story that really put the property and the characters through some shit changes: as if this were the GI JOE film (at the time of my writing RESOLUTE, there still wasn't a locked script on the live-action film) and I was rebooting and re-grounding the property on my own.
How much leeway was Ellis given? Apparently, more than you'd expect:
The idea was, as I understand it, that bringing in a writer with absolutely no nostalgia for the property would give them the tone they were looking for. I think they were happy when I presented them with the initial list of characters I was going to just kill. And then the list of things I was going to blow up.
The people at Hasbro were actually remarkably supportive. And I did apologise after shouting at them those times. And they did give me one of those conversations that you never really expect to have when growing up:
HASBRO: No, Warren, you cannot wipe Beijing from the face of the earth.
ME: Shit. (pause) What about Moscow?
HASBRO: Wiping Moscow from the face of the earth would be fine.
And if you're wondering how Warren ended up writing about America's favorite toy soldiers in the first place, the answer seems to be "Out of ignorance":
It went like this. Sam Register phoned me up and said, we'd really like you to write a GI JOE animation, at a PG-13 rating, aimed at an older viewer. I said, I've never seen a GI JOE cartoon in my life. The closest I got to a GI JOE comic was drinking with Larry Hama. I've never even seen a GI JOE. Couldn't tell you what they look like if you paid me. I know nothing about GI JOE. It is meaningless in my world.
Excellent, Sam said. Just the guy we need.
GI Joe: Resolute is expected to premiere online early next year.
GI Joe: Resolute [warrenellis.com]