Paramount is getting its ducks in a row for their own cinematic universe, adding M.A.S.K. to the late. F. Gary Gray will direct the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand for the studio, which looks to be kicking off a series of its own.
The 80’s Are Never Going Away
Produced by DIC Entertainment, M.A.S.K. aired in 1985 and ran for two seasons. The series was, as many cartoons of the time, an ad for the Kenner toyline of the same name. The series tells the story of M.A.S.K. as they thwart the evil plans of V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem, obviously). The series featured a bunch of unique characters, each with their own super-powered mask and transforming vehicles. The toys outlasted the cartoon series, and the two additional waves of action figures moved into more of a racing theme. Hasbro acquired Kenner and all of their licenses almost thirty years ago, which answers the question of “why M.A.S.K.”
Everyone Wants a Cinematic Universe
Paramount of Hasbro have been working together on popular toy properties for a few years now. The most obvious success has been the long-running Transformers franchise, but G.I. Joe is also with the studio. The two signed a five-year distribution deal late last year to expand on that partnership.
M.A.S.K. might be a little more fringe than the aforementioned properties, but there’s some lineage that helps clear things up. M.A.S.K. has already been tied into the G.I. Joe toy line, as the once-competing franchises are now under the same corporate roof. The leader of M.A.S.K., Matt Trakker, was featured in a G.I. Joe toy line in 2008. G.I. Joe has met the Transformers in various mediums as well. MA.S.K. and their transforming vehicles sit right in between the other two franchises perfectly. Comic publisher IDW is already well on heir way to uniting the characters in a shared universe, so Paramount can draw from those stories when the licenses meet on the big screen. This could be the start, or continuation depending on what happens with the current Michael Bay Transformers movies, of an interesting group of interconnected franchises.
Having F. Gary Gray lead the potential franchise isn’t far-fetched at all. Last years Fate Of The Furious shows that the director is comfortable making cars do things that cars shouldn’t do. something like M.A.S.K. is a natural evolution of the action-racer (sorry Hurricane Heist ).
Paramount has slated many new entries in many Hasbro properties moving forward. With this, G.I. Joe, a Transformers reboot, ROM, and Micronauts, time will tell if the studio can replicate the success Marvel and Disney have enjoyed over the last decade. With Disney purchasing Marvel amid Paramount’s distribution in the early MCU days, the studio surely ready for round two.