Even though Hasbro's proposed cinematic universe has been in a state of limbo since last year, we now have word that at least one branch of that franchise has taken a step forward.
Deadline reports that Hasbro and Paramount have recruited filmmaker F. Gary Gray to direct a live-action movie based on its M.A.S.K. line of action figures that was originally produced by Kenner in the 1980s. Gray is coming off the success of The Fate of the Furious, his debut entry in the Fast and Furious empire and the first movie he's ever made that grossed more than $1 billion (his other films include Straight Outta Compton and The Italian Job).
M.A.S.K. stands for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. Led by Matt Trakker, M.A.S.K. is a specialized task force whose main mission is to defeat the evil criminal organization known as V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem). In its heyday, the toy line also yielded an animated show, video games and a DC Comics series.
What's strange about this M.A.S.K. news is that it was only a few months ago -- January, to be precise -- that Spider-Man: Homecoming writers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who are now writing and directing the Flash movie for DC, suggested that M.A.S.K. the movie was not happening.
It was one of several Hasbro properties that had been in development as part of a shared universe that were probably going to get deep-sixed, the result of the last Transformers movie not doing blockbuster business and a reorganization in the Paramount executive suites (Goldstein and Daley had been hired as part of a Hasbro writers' room).
But since then, both a G.I. Joe reboot and a Micronauts movie have been slated for 2020, Ready Player One scripter Zak Penn was tasked with writing a ROM: Spaceknight movie, and of course Bumblebee is due out in December. The news about M.A.S.K. -- which still needs a writer itself -- suggests that the Hasbro screen universe is far from a dead deal.
Before he makes M.A.S.K., however, Gray is slated to direct a Men in Black reboot for Sony featuring Thor: Ragnarok co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. Once that is finished and released in May 2019, Gray will tackle M.A.S.K., but don't expect to see the film until probably 2021.
Did you grow up with the M.A.S.K. toys? Do you think it will make for a good movie? Are you glad to see that the Hasbro Cinematic Universe may be coming our way after all? Let us know in the comments!