"G.I. Joe: Special Missions"--The Series (Part 1)
A fancast for an animated series based on the G.I. Joe spin-off. (Episodes 1-4)
When you wanted something different other than the usual G.I. Joe vs. Cobra shtick, arguably one of the best comics to turn to was the G.I. Joe: Special Missions series. Debuting in 1986 as the first spin-off book from Marvel's main G.I. Joe comic, it lasted until 1989 and featured a wide variety of stories (with the occasional Cobra appearance) and introduced many new characters. When Devil's Due Publishing held the G.I. Joe comic license, they revived the title as a spin-off of their "G.I. Joe: America's Elite" series, featuring reservists of the Joe team sent on missions by current Joe team leader General Joseph "G.I. Joe" Colton.
I read all four of IDW's reprint volumes of the original Marvel series, and have read most of, but not all, of the Devil's Due version, and let me tell you both versions are pretty engaging series that offer something other than the usual appearance by Destro's metal head. I felt it would make a great anthology and ensemble show, even an animated one, if approached correctly. So here's how my idea would work:
-The show would air on G4 and late nights on the Hub (I'm keeping the *certain* level of storytelling from both series.).
-It would be a follow-up to my previous two G.I. Joe fancasts (my animated adaptation of "Snake Eyes: Declassified" and "G.I. Joe: Operation Lady Doomsday").
-The art style of the show would be done by a combination of the art teams responsible for the "Ultimate Avengers" films and "G.I. Joe: Resolute".
-Some of the script adaptations would be done by original G.I. Joe writer Larry Hama, with others done by a variety of writers.
-Each episode would be mostly based on the issue it is derived from, with some slight tailoring--that being that this show would use both the Devil's Due and Marvel series as the basis for episodes.
And now, a breakdown of the characters, cast, and first four episodes! (Note: some of these pics may be updated to reflect the art from the Special Missions issues.)
We'll begin with the two recurring characters for the show:
Paul Eiding as the voice of G.I. Joe/General Joseph R. Colton
Joe is the original special operative given the codename "G.I. Joe" by President Kennedy, with the task of founding the world's first counter-terrorism unit. Colton's role in the series would be the equivalent of Jim Phelps from Mission: Impossible, with help from G.I. Joe support staff member Sparks.
I picked Eiding as whenever I read Colton's lines, I always pictured the voice for Grandpa Max in the Ben 10 shows. Of course, Eiding also has experience with military characters, being the voice of Roy Campbell in the Metal Gear series of video games.
Rino Romano as the voice of Sparks/Sergeant Alessandro Verdi
Sparks originated as a character created for the Sunbow cartoon series from the 80's, but was incorporated into the comics with the first issue of the Devil's Due Special Missions series. His backstory is expanded in this continuity, and he functions as an additional comm-tech specialist.
I picked Romano as he could easily play someone reliable and tech-savvy as Sparks--and nail the slight Italian accent (Sparks is written as having been born in Italy).
Now we get to the first four episodes of the show:
Episode 1: Mission--Manhattan
G.I. Joe reservists Beach Head, Cover Girl, Mercer, Low-Light and Tunnel Rat are sent on a special mission involving a bio-weapon threat in New York City.
-Norman Reedus as the voice of Beachhead/Sergeant Major Wayne Sneeden
The Joe team's second ranger from Auburn, Alabama, as mean and ornery as he can get. He acts as team leader during this mission. I picked Reedus as I felt he could do the role justice (with the experience of the Boondock Saints films under his belt), and nail Beachhead's Southern drawl.
-Ali Larter as the voice of Cover Girl/Sergeant Courtney Kreiger
A former fashion model turned tank driver for the Joes, from Peoria, Illinois. I picked Larter as I could picture her playing someone eager to distance themselves from their former profession (Cover Girl had been disillusioned with the fashion industry and joined the army to get a real sense of direction).
-Jackie Earle Haley as the voice of Low-Light/Staff Sergeant Cooper McBride
The Joe team's night spotter from Crosby, North Dakota, and a crack shot in even the dimmest of light. I went with Haley mainly for his voice, as I believe it would be close to the way Charlie Adler (in the Sunbow cartoon) and Maurice LaMarche (in the DIC cartoon) voiced the character.
-Colin Donnell as the voice of Mercer/Sergeant Felix Stratton
An ex-Cobra Viper who defected to the Joes and lived, he was one of Sgt. Slaughter's "Renegades", the Joe team's answer to the Dirty Dozen. Sometimes he uses the alias "Richard S. Cecil". I picked Donnell as I felt that not only could he nail the character in a live-action film, he would do well voicing him, as his portrayal of Tommy Merlyn's arrogance on Arrow I thought was similar to how Mercer was portrayed in the first issue of the Devil's Due Special Missions.
-Brian Tochi as the voice of Tunnel Rat/Sergeant Nicky Lee
The Joe team's explosive ordnance disposal expert, from Brooklyn, New York. He comes from a family of multiple descents. Tochi's dabbled in voiceover before, having played characters such as Leonardo (in the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film), Liu Kang (in the Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm cartoon series), and the bad guy Shiv (in the Static Shock cartoon), so I thought it wouldn't be a stretch for him to take on the Brooklyn accent of this guy.
-Tom Kenny as the voice of Airtight/Sergeant Kurt Schnurr
The Joe team's hostile environment trooper, from New Haven, Connecticut. He shows up later in the story to explain the true meaning behind the mission. I picked Kenny as when I read Airtight's lines in the issue, I thought of his voice for Curt Connors on the (much-maligned) Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.
-Peter Stormare as the voice of Neurotoxin
The leader of Cobra's Sand Scorpion desert forces and a specialist in neurological engineering, genetic manipulation/splicing, and biological warfare. He's one of two parties trying to acquire a bio-weapon that the Joes are set on neutralizing (the other party being a group of masked (NON-Middle Eastern) terrorists). I picked Stormare as I felt that he could A) be able to do the South African accent I picture Neurotoxin would have, and B)has been a pretty stellar performer in each voice acting gig he's done.
Episode 2: Mission--Tokyo
G.I. Joe ninja Jinx and samurai Budo, with reservists Wild Bill, Gung Ho, Clutch and Rock N' Roll, try to prevent a coup in Japan.
-Grace Park as the voice of Jinx/Sergeant Kimi Arashikage
One of the Joe team's ninjas and intel agents, from Los Angeles, California. She is the cousin to the ninja Storm Shadow and her boyfriend is the Joe team's samurai, Budo. I went with Park out of inspiration for an episode of Human Target she guest-starred in, which took place at a martial arts tournament.
-James Sie as the voice of Budo/Sergeant Kyle Jesso
The Joe team's samurai warrior, from Sacramento, California. A self-proclaimed fan of heavy metal music and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. I read Budo's lines with the voice of Sie's portrayal of Jackie Chan in Jackie Chan Adventures in mind.
-Michael Rosenbaum as the voice of Clutch/Sergeant Lance Steinberg
One of the Joe team's vehicle specialists and mechanics, from Asbury Park, New Jersey. I stand by my picking Rosenbaum as I do think he could nail a Jersey accent for the Joe team's #1 grease monkey.
-Chris D'Elia as the voice of Rock N' Roll/Sergeant First Class Craig McConnell
The Joe team's surfing, weight-lifting, bass-playing machine gunner, from Malibu, California. I still think D'Elia would be a decent voice for Rock N' Roll, and it'd be an interesting character for him.
-Diedrich Bader as the voice of Gung-Ho/Sergeant Major Etienne LaFitte
The Joe team's first marine, and one of the toughest they have. The other "ragin' Cajun" besides Gambit in pop culture. I thought Bader would be able to provide a decent voice for this guy, maybe on par with Chris Latta and Charlie Adler's portrayals.
-Jeff Foxworthy as the voice of Wild Bill/Chief Warrant Officer William Hardy
The Joe team's first helicopter pilot, from Brady, Texas. Someone here on this site did a G.I. Joe film fancast that had Foxworthy as Wild Bill, and I felt that at the least he'd do a decent job voicing the character, big Texas personality and all.
-Masasa Moyo as the voice of Armada/Lillian Osbourne
A former British Army officer, she joined the Iron Grenadiers after befriending Alexander McCullen, the son of Destro in the Devil's Due continuity. In this story, she was preparing to negotiate an arms deal with the main villain of the issue, with the intention of double-crossing him later. I picked Moyo as she's voiced British characters before, notably Psylocke in both the "X-Men Legends 2" and "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance" video games.
-George Takei as the voice of Hayatu Toba (pic to be added)
Toba is a Japanese businessman who was originally part of a failed coup against the Japanese government in the 1960's. Becoming an arms dealer, he used his profits to fund a private army large enough to stage a massive coup. His reasons for doing so are because he saw the country as having failed the code of Bushido by its submission to the US after World War II. I thought Takei would have a great voice for this character, and this isn't the first time he's played a villain (Mr. Fixx in Batman Beyond was one such).
Episode 3: Mission--Antarctica
Snake Eyes, Stalker, Duke, and Scarlett, along with reservists Snow Job, Frostbite and Iceberg, are sent to thwart an illegal Arctic oil drilling operation by Cobra.
-Colin Ferguson as the voice of Duke/Master Sergeant Conrad Hauser
The Joe team's master sergeant and second-in-command (and for some reason or another in terms of the toys, the face of G.I. Joe), from St. Louis, Missouri. He, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, and Stalker are part of a smaller roster formed in America's Elite. I went with Ferguson as I felt he could play the part very well, and I do believe someone used him as Duke in a fancast on this site.
-No voice for Snake Eyes (obviously)
-Piper Perabo as the voice of Scarlett/Master Sergeant Shana O'Hara
The Joe team's counter-intelligence agent, from Atlanta, Georgia. A 9th-degree black belt in karate and a whiz with the crossbow. Like my voices for Clutch and Rock N' Roll, I carried Perabo (along with my voice pick for Stalker) over from my two other G.I. Joe fancasts.
-Chi McBride as the voice of Stalker/Sergeant Major Lonzo Wilkinson
The Joe team's first ranger, from Detroit, Michigan, and a longtime friend of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. McBride is another carryover from my previous two fancasts, and I still do think he would be great voice for one of the Joe team's stalwarts.
-Simon Baker as the voice of Snow Job/Sergeant First Class Harlan Moore
The Joe team's first arctic trooper and an Olympic-level skier, from Rutland, Vermont. Also a bit of a card shark and con-artist, hence his codename. I thought Baker would be a good fit for a character like that.
-Gregg Berger as the voice of Frostbite/Sergeant Farley Seward
One of the Joe team's arctic vehicle specialists, from Galena, Alaska. Berger is a veteran of the old G.I. Joe cartoon (where he played Cutter, Firefly, and Colonel Brekhov), and I thought it would be nice having one appear in this series.
-Phil Morris as the voice of Iceberg/Staff Sergeant Clifton Nash
The Joe team's second snow trooper, from Brownsville, Texas, and ironically joined up for the Army's arctic division to get away from the Texas heat. I thought Phil Morris would be a good voice for a G.I. Joe series, and felt Iceberg would be a good start.
-Robin Atkin Downes as the voices of Tomax and Xamot
The twin commanders of Cobra's elite troopers, the Crimson Guard. They're a nod to an old Alexandre Dumas story called "The Corsican Twins", and have the ability to feel each other's pain, as if they shared some sort of mental link. I felt that Downes would be a great actor to voice the two of them, as if distinguishing their individual voices wasn't enough!
Episode 4: Misson--Brazil
Four Joes (joined by the protege of their late 5th comrade) reunite to settle some unfinished business in South America, and go up against the Headman and his drug-dealing organization, the Headhunters. (Based on the 1986 Special Mission Brazil Toys R' Us-exclusive boxed set.)
-Tom Selleck as the voice of Claymore/Captain John Zullo
One of the Joe team's covert operations specialists, from Manchester, Vermont. When asked to join the G.I. Joe team, his only stipulation was that he be called in for special assignments only. I picked Selleck as there are a few Joe figures from the old line that have a bit of a resemblance to the former Magnum, P.I., especially in the mustache department.
-Hank Azaria as the voice of Dial-Tone/Sergeant Jack Morelli
The Joe team's second communications officer, from Eugene, Oregon. Started out with a rock tumbler as a kid, then soon moved on to ham radio in his teens. I picked Azaria as I imagine a Dial-Tone voiced by him would be uncannily similar to the original voice actor, Hank Garrett.
-Robert Patrick as the voice of Leatherneck/Gunnery Sergeant Wendell Metzger
The Joe team's second marine, and just as mean and ornery as Beachhead, from Stromsburg, Nebraska. He has a bit of a rivalry with Wet-Suit, as there's always been a rivalry between the Marines and Navy SEALS. I went with Patrick as he's played military-types on film and television before, and I think he'd be able to nail Leatherneck's no-nonsense attitude nicely.
-Bruce Davison as the voice of Mainframe/Sergeant Blaine Parker (in flashback and hologram)
The Joe team's computer specialist from Phoenix, Arizona, who in the Devil's Due comics perished during the Joe team's second invasion of Cobra Island. Sparks finds an encoded holographic message left by Mainframe before his death, meant for Claymore, Dial-Tone, Leatherneck, and Wet-Suit, informing them of some unfinished business with the Headhunters in Brazil. I went with Davison as I figured this would be a decent mentor role--even if it's a posthumous one.
-John DiMaggio as the voice of Wet-Suit/Petty Officer First Class Brian Forrest
The Joe team's second Navy SEAL and rival to Leatherneck, from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I believe DiMaggio could easily pull off a Southern accent and the character's tough and surly attitude.
-Mila Kunis as the voice of Firewall/Corporal Michelle LaChance
A character created for the Devil's Due series (but never released as an action figure), she's one of the newer computer specialists for the Joes, and is Mainframe's protege. Originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, she started out as a hacker in high school, which got her in a bit of trouble with the government. Impressed by her skills, they sent her to the Joes under Mainframe's supervision, where she quickly proved herself an invaluable member of the team. In the Special Missions: Brazil story, she takes Mainframe's place when Claymore and the others take on their mission. Mila Kunis was the first voice that came to mind for this character--it would be a bit of a change of pace from her usual TV/movie roles.
-Carlos Alazraqui as the voice of Rashid and Mr. Asikainen (pictures to be added)
Rashid is a character who Mainframe met in the original Marvel run, as a teenager in a war-torn Middle Eastern Nation. Inspired by Mainframe's bravery despite not being a frontline soldier, he became a computer expert in his adult years. He helps Claymore's team, as he was also charged by Mainframe with keeping tabs on the Headhunters' activities in Brazil.
Mr. Asikainen is in charge of Brazil's special police force.
-John de Lancie as the voice of Headman
Headman is a drug kingpin and leader of a crime syndicate known as the Headhunters. It is revealed in this issue that he had previously dealt with G.I. Joe before when Claymore, Mainframe, Dial-Tone, Wet-Suit, and Leatherneck encountered his organization in Brazil and tried to thwart a drug-smuggling operation of his. I picked de Lancie as he is a pretty decent actor who can be a chameleon in certain roles.
And that's Part 1 for the show! Hopefully I can get to part 2 at some point, but for now, thanks for looking! As a reward, ladies and gentlemen--probably the most patriotic piece of animation you'll ever see--the intro sequence to 1987's "G.I. Joe: The Movie":
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