FlixMentallo21 Presents: "G.I. Joe: Resurgence--Redemption", A Netflix Original Miniseries

FlixMentallo21 Presents: "G.I. Joe: Resurgence--Redemption", A Netflix Original Miniseries

A fancast follow-up to "G.I. Joe Resurgence", based on the new custom action figure project by Phoenix Customs. You like Suicide Squad? Fan of Thunderbolts? Then check out this band of renegades--Yo Joe!

Many of you reacted positively to my fancast of the brainchild of a group of talented G.I. Joe customizers, "G.I. Joe: Resurgence": 

Well folks, their saga still had a few stories to tell--but first, a bit of context.

The pop cultural landscape is rife with stories of bands of misfits and troublemakers being put together to take on the dirtiest of missions. Probably one of the most famous is the classic 1966 WWII-set thriller The Dirty Dozen, where Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Richard Jaeckel's characters put together a squad fresh from the army stockade to undertake an off-the-books offensive behind enemy lines.

The comic book and toy collector corners of fandom also have stories like this.

DC of course has the Suicide Squad:

For Marvel in the mid-to-late 2000's, they had the Thunderbolts:

And for G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, they have Sgt. Slaughter's Renegades:
Introduced in both 1987's G.I. Joe: The Movie and the toyline that same year, this trio was Joe's take on the Dirty Dozen and may as well be their answer to the Dreadnoks (the biker gang led by Cobra's master of disguise Zartan). Sometimes dubbed 'Pentagon Pest Control', the trio was made up of:
-Mercer, the first Cobra Viper troop to defect to the Joes
-Red Dog, a former placekicker kicked out of pro football for repeated incidents of unnecessary roughness
-And Taurus, a Turkish former strongman and acrobat who did occasional undercover work for INTERPOL

Longtime G.I. Joe fan Justin "General Hawk" Bell made good use of the Renegades concept in his series of dio-story photo-comics, expanding upon it in the buildup to the final showdown with Cobra.

Here's where we circle back to my earlier statements. Phoenix Customs, the group of customizers responsible for Resurgence, envisioned their project as their take on a modern-day full-retail toyline relaunch for G.I. Joe. In July of this year, they decided to follow-up on their endeavor with a project that served as their take on the exclusive figure sets put out by Hasbro and the Official G.I. Joe Collectors Club from 2002-2016. The format consists of (usually) a 15-figure boxed set; a bagged add-on three-pack of figures; an additional figure two-pack; up to three exclusive vehicles; a freebie souvenir; and an exclusive figure for the convention's parachute drop event. Their efforts resulted in the Resurgence follow-up story "Redemption.

Once again, I was floored with their work, and of course casting inspiration struck. So after a few words with Oreobuilder (one of the founders of Phoenix Customs), this cast was born. In keeping with the aesthetics of my prior fancast (as seen in the topmost link), an animated Redemption would stream on Netflix as an 8-episode miniseries, but with an added grit and tone akin to the likes of Batman: Assault on Arkham or Justice League: Gods and Monsters. And of course it wouldn't be much of a 'dirty dozen' type story without a talented voice cast, which I now unveil to you for your viewing pleasure and critique.

+G.I. Joe Redemption Unit

1. Command
-Kristoffer Tabori as the voice of Mercer/Felix Stratton

Picking Tabori (whose voice you've probably recently heard in video games like Dishonored, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, and the Star Wars: The Old Republic series) was a no-brainer, as he originally voiced the character in G.I. Joe: The Movie. Here, not only does he get another shot at the character, but also a chance at a more developed take on him--more than what screentime in the '87 film gave him. 

-Keone Young as the voice of Storm Shadow/Thomas Arashikage

Storm Shadow's inclusion here is very fitting considering he's seen both sides of the conflict, and bringing back Young (his original voice actor from the Sunbow cartoon series) is a given. He's not the only alum in this cast, as you'll see later on.

-Neil Ross as the voice of Dusty/Ronald Tadur

Since I had Ross reprise Dusty in Resurgence, he's back for Redemption. Dusty's inclusion is of course a callback to his most well-known story in the Sunbow cartoon, the 2-part season one episode "The Traitor", where he seemingly defects to Cobra.

2. The Recruits
-Helen Slater as the voice of Headcase/Elizabeth Deming

Today you see Slater as the adoptive mother of Melissa Benoist's small-screen Supergirl, and of course you know her as the former silver screen Supergirl--but with Headcase, I had more in mind a few of the bad girls she's played over the years, like the title heroine of The Legend of Billie Jean or Talia Al Ghul in Batman: The Animated Series. Here, we'd get to see how well she does playing the G.I. Joe equivalent of Marvel villain and psychiatrist Moonstone. Headcase you might know better as Crimson Guard cadet Deming in the classic Sunbow 2-parter "There's No Place Like Springfield".

-Various sound clips as the voice of E.C.H.O. (alternate choices: Michael Winslow, Dee Baker or Fred Newman)

With E.C.H.O., I imagine an approach similar to how they did Bumblebee in the live-action Transformers films, which for a recording engineer might pose an interesting challenge. If that's not your cup of tea, an alternative would be one of three great actors skilled at making vocal sound effects: Michael Winslow, Dee Baker, or Fred Newman, the sound master of NPR's A Prairie Home Companion (who also voiced Skeeter and Pork Chop on Doug).

-Tasia Valenza as the voice of Siren/'Mara'

Valenza you might know best as the current voice of Batman villain Poison Ivy in most recent DC-based video games, but it was one of her Marvel-based roles that led me to casting her: Spider-Woman in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, considering that character's background of being subject to experimentation. Mara, like Deming, also originated in the Sunbow cartoon, appearing in the season one episodes "Memories of Mara" and "There's No Place Like Springfield" Parts I and II.

-A.J. Buckley as the voice of Discharge/Jackson Hunter

Casting Buckley was inspired by his turn as Toad in Wolverine and the X-Men, as both he and Discharge do share a few....less-than-savory....habits. My alternate choices were Seth Green or Todd Louiso.

-Booboo Stewart as the voice of Ghost Bear/Jesse Kwinn Jr.

Casting Stewart was based on his turn as Warpath in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and I felt that Ghost Bear's character arc would be intriguing enough for him to tackle. Ghost Bear originated as a new Cobra character released in the Valor vs. Venom line in 2004, and as stated in both this and his official filecard, is the son of Kwinn, a fan-favorite character from the Marvel G.I. Joe comic.

-Brad Garrett as the voice of Road Pig/Donald DeLuca

I have a feeling that had the Sunbow cartoon continued into 1988, Road Pig (introduced as the newest Dreadnok for that year) would've been a) prominently featured, and b) voiced by Garrett, who'd been doing voiceover around that time. (Three well-known cartoon roles of his were Skelevision in Filmation's Ghostbusters, the title character of Hulk Hogan's Rock N' Wrestling, and Trypticon in Transformers, another Sunbow series.) Here, I could picture him playing Road Pig via a more 'civilized' take on his Lobo from the DC Animated Universe. For those curious, this is what Road Pig looked like originally:

-Irene Bedard as the voice of Raven/Johanna Levy

Bedard was my immediate pick for the character, as it'd be a bit of a challenge to play someone veering close to the edge of inhumanity. Raven is the same character who reluctantly teamed up with Joe pilot Slip-Stream in the Sunbow cartoon's second season episode "In the Presence of Mine Enemies".

3. Mercenary Back-Up
-Ike Amadi as the voice of Wreckage

Amadi was tapped based on his roles in the video games Mass Effect 3, Halo 5: Guardians, Fallout 4, and Farpoint. Wreckage originated in the 2003 Toys R' Us-exclusive Tiger Force figure set.

-Steve Downes as the voice of Sabre Tooth

The voice of Master Chief is perfect for this tough-as-nails, mysterious mercenary. Sabre Tooth has an interesting toy history, in that he was slated to be part of the original 1988 Tiger Force assortment, as a repaint of Cobra saboteur Firefly's figure; it never happened. Then in 2003, the TRU Tiger Force set is released, with a Firefly repaint among the figures inside. Wreckage was meant as a nod to that bit of Joe toy history.

-DC Douglas as the voice of Grey Hound

Thinking of Douglas as Grey Hound had me picture something akin to his Albert Wesker (mostly) on the side of the Angels.

+Major Bludd's Skull Squad

-Michael Bell as the voice of Major Bludd/Sebastian Bludd

Of course it's wise to have Bell back as Major Bludd, who he originally voiced in the Sunbow cartoon. Here though, he gets to really cut loose with Bludd, along the lines of say, more Mark Hamill Joker than Caesar Romero Joker. Sidebar, having seen G.I. Joe: Retaliation, I think Ray Stevenson should've been playing Major Bludd instead of Firefly--the latter seemed to have more characterization akin to the former.

-Linda Hamilton as the voice of Calavera/Evy Lawton

Hamilton's here based on her portrayal of the vicious Madame Lorraine in the DC Showcase: Jonah Hex animated short, which is perfect for a Cobra troop type as dangerous as the Range-Vipers. Evy originated in the DIC G.I. Joe cartoon, in the episode "I Found You...Evy", where it's revealed she was a former childhood friend of the Joe team's concealment expert Ambush--she was the only one who could find him in any hiding place he found.

-Gregg Berger as the voice of Firefly

Like Tabori, Berger never had much chance at developing Firefly's character in the Sunbow cartoon. With this and Resurgence though, he'd get a shot at really showing how deadly and effective Firefly is. This Firefly's design is based on the version of the character from the short-lived G.I. Joe: Sigma Six.

-Jonathan Adams as the voice of Lt. Clay Moore

Adams has voiced a lot of intimidating characters in his filmography, and Lt. Moore would be a welcome addition to that crowd. The character originated in the same "Traitor" episode Dusty was the focus of.

-Diedrich Bader as the voice of Rip-It/Fred T. Booth III

Bader has a perfect voice for larger-than-life, underhanded tough guys, a description which Rip-It definitely fits to a 'T'(ank). The Cobra tank commander originated from the early 2000's "Real American Hero Collection" series.

-Alex O'Loughlin as the voice of Zandar/'Zachary Sanderson'

The younger brother of Zartan, his name is based on the real name given in the Dreadnoks: Declassified comic book miniseries from Devil's Due Publishing. In casting O'Loughlin (who I didn't know was Australian until recently), I wanted to see how he'd handle playing the 'black hat' after years of seeing him as good cop Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-0. Plus, his accent would lend a bit more to Zandar's background, unlike his original VA Peter Cullen's portrayal (no disrespect to Mr. Cullen).

-Wendee Lee as the voice of Widowmaker

Lee, an anime dub veteran, has a good number of deadly assassin-type characters on her filmography, making her a good fit for Cobra's newest hired killer.

-Christian Slater as the voice of Scar-Face

If there's anyone I thought capable of playing this slimeball who just won't die, Slater's got the right pipes for the job. His recent portrayal of Deadshot in Justice League Action cemented this decision for me. Scar-Face originated in the Marvel comic, where he had a prominent role for a good number of issues.

With that, it's mission accomplished, folks! For taking the time to view this, give it up for (early) AC/DC:
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