If you enjoy action movies, you must see the G.I. Joe movie series. What began as a toy line has developed into a multi-film series, coupled with a sizable comic book and television presence, all of which have substantial character arcs and rich backstories.
Snake Eyes, who was just thoroughly explored in an origin movie about him, released in 2021, and Storm Shadow, who is Snake Eyes’ archenemy and polar opposite, are two extremely significant characters in the franchise.
Despite not having a live-action movie to his credit, Storm Shadow has been a crucial element of the franchise from the start, and his plot just keeps getting better. He is a hugely well-liked character from the franchise and has alternated between being his sword-buddy brother and enemy. Watch to learn all about him!
A Real American Hero – the animated series that paints his backstory!
The half-hour American animated television programme G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was created by Ron Friedman. From 1983 to 1986, the cartoon, which was based on the Hasbro toy line, was broadcast in syndication. In total, 95 episodes were produced. A few of the plot points that were present in both the G.I. Joe comics and animated series but not the toy line at the time included Springfield, the Oktober Guard, and The Baroness. They did not, however, adhere to the same continuity, and as a result, their portrayals of the characters and the manner in which the stories were written varied substantially.
The Storm Shadow persona was given life in the animated series by being portrayed as a merciless assassin. He was portrayed as a commander, and the show heavily emphasised his physical prowess and military proficiency because its main goal was to promote the toy line. The importance of his skill with a bow and arrow was also highlighted.
The friendship and the larger complicated relationship between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were interesting, never explored in the Sunbow animated series, in contrast to the comics. He initially made an appearance in the G.I. Joe member Spirit vs. him for one of three pieces of the Weather Dominator in the miniseries “The Revenge of Cobra.” When Zartan catches the third component and sells it to the highest bidder, he gives Spirit the piece in exchange for saving him from drowning, but subsequently steals it from G.I. Joe headquarters.
Storm Shadow was frequently shown in this series as a rival to Spirit and later as a foe of Quick Kick from the G.I. Joe team. In the “Excalibur” episode, he steals King Arthur’s sword from the Lady of the Lake after crashing into a lake after an aerial combat. This starts a thunderstorm that lasts until Excalibur is brought back. Storm Shadow runs into Quick Kick twice in that episode, breaking his leg each time.
Until the conclusion of the Sunbow series, Storm Shadow remained devoted to Cobra. He was seen assisting Cobra Commander in a number of his attempts to depose Serpentor in season two, siding with the Commander against Serpentor.
Storm Shadow as seen in the movies
In the movie universe, when Storm Shadow first encountered Snake-Eyes, whom he mistook for a thief, they ended up engaging in combat. As far as information about his childhood is concerned, Storm Shadow was Hard Master’s nephew and a trainee assassin. Snake-Eyes on the other hand was Hard Master’s favourite student after making an impression on him with his abilities – he was quite evidently more skilled out of the two.
Storm Shadow was envious of this and left the dojo as a result of what he considered to be favouritism and quite demeaning to him as the blood heir of the dojo. Storm Shadow’s uncle gets murdered in the movies and it was only later revealed that Zartan, another villain who worked with the Cobra Commander, was the person who killed the Hard Master and falsely accused Storm Shadow when Snake-Eyes first learned that Hard Master had been slain.
Specifically in the 2009 film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the child version of Storm Shadow is portrayed by Brandon Soo Hoo and the adult Storm Shadow is played by Lee Byung-Hun. Storm Shadow is presented in this movie adaption as a Korean ninja who received his training in Japan. While undergoing training in Tokyo, the young Storm Shadow is heard chatting in Korean, confirming his origins.
This movie gives us a glimpse into his childhood. When they were young, Storm Shadow first came into contact with Snake Eyes when he caught a starved Snake Eyes trying to steal food. To Storm Shadow’s dismay, Snake Eyes is welcomed into the dojo right away. Although Storm Shadow is superior in all combat respects at first, Snake Eyes perseveres and eventually wins the Hard Master’s approval along with surpassing Storm Shadow.
Soon after, Snake Eyes is named the top pupil, over Storm Shadow and this event further sours the already bad relationship between the two. In fact, it is implied that Storm Shadow killed their teacher, the Hard-Master before escaping the scene (although this is not true and Storm Shadow himself was torn by the death of the Master).
As a result of being on different sides, their competition grows into a passionate animosity. Storm Shadow is McCullen’s killer and the Baroness’s bodyguard and mentor, and he shares the same history and attire as his continuity counterparts in the movie.
It turns out that the Baroness had purposefully given Storm Shadow the task to carry out a direct order to kill Baron Daniel DeCobray if he ever touched her again because he was known to respect women and protect their honor. Although, the true reason was that DeCobray had outlived his usefulness to them but the Baroness played on his code of honor. McCullen had sent Storm Shadow to assist the Baroness in obtaining the nanometer warheads. But in another incident, Zartan, the leader of the Dreadnoks, made fun of Storm Shadow for not wanting to harm women.
Snake Eyes repeatedly cuts Storm Shadow during a tense battle at Cobra’s arctic headquarters, eventually forcing Storm Shadow to take off his white suit. He is ultimately stabbed by Snake Eyes and plunges into chilly water in the movie, marking his demise, or so it seemed.
Storm Shadow appeared to have died in the movie, but he actually lived in the humorous sequel Operation HISS. In an interview conducted post the first movie, Lee Byung-hun had claimed that he had already agreed to reprise his part in any future sequels to the movie G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and thus, he was seen in that one as well.
During Operation HISS, Storm Shadow, posing as Snake Eyes, kills the Pakistani president and, with Firefly’s assistance, frees Cobra Commander from jail. He flees to a temple somewhere in the frosty Himalayas to recover after being hurt in an explosion. When the Blind Master finds out Storm Shadow is still alive, Snake Eyes and Jinx catch him and bring him to the Master in Japan to confront him about the assassination of the Hard Master which they all believed had been carried out by Storm Shadow.
During this time, he explains that Zartan, the real murderer, had actually taken in and raised Storm Shadow to be a merciless assassin, and that he joined Cobra to avenge the death of his uncle without ever knowing that his own master had killed his uncle.
He divulges the truth that Zartan had him falsely accused of killing the Hard Master. Storm Shadow then battles Snake Eyes with the very same sword that had been used to kill the Hard Master in an effort to disprove Snake Eyes’ guilt because Arashikage steel does not break. Storm Shadow eventually turns on Cobra and joins the Joes in their conflict, murdering Zartan in the process. After they’ve won, he bids Snake Eyes and Jinx farewell before departing, having cleared his name.
In the follow-up movie, G. I. Joe: Retaliation, which was released in 2013, Storm Shadow returns to exact revenge on Snake-Eyes (remember how he was stabbed by Snake-Eyes and fell into icy water at the end of the first movie?). He was dispatched to Germany to aid Cobra Commander in escaping from prison with the help of Firefly under the guise of Snake-Eyes, who was wanted for the murder of the president of Pakistan.
Storm Shadow, who had been hurt in an explosion, went to a mountain fortress so that an elderly woman might treat her. He was abducted by Snake-Eyes and Jinx and given to the Arashikage Clan. The Blind Master was about to kill Storm Shadow when he disclosed that Zartan, not him, had actually killed his uncle, the Hard Master, and that he had been set up for the crime.
Storm Shadow, who was resentful that no one in the Clan had confidence in him, joined Cobra in an effort to convince the Arashikage clan of his innocence. He would betray Cobra, reveal Cobra Commander’s lie to the world’s leaders, and knife Zartan in order to frame him for the death of Hard Master in order to aid the Joes. Storm Shadow left after obtaining his retribution and bidding Snake Eyes and Jinx farewell.
With the release of the new movie, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, which stars Andrew Koji as Tommy Arashikage, the future Storm Shadow, and Henry Golding as the title character, a brand-new chapter in the history of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow has been written, serving as a G.I. Joe franchise revival. Although the movie takes place in an alternative reality, the character belongs to the Arashikage Clan just like in every other reality.
Both Tomisaburo “Tommy” Arashikage and his cousin Kenta were candidates to take over as clan chief. Kenta attempted to have Tommy killed because there must only be one, and as a result, he was expelled from the clan. In the present, Kenta, who was now a Yakuza boss and a member of Cobra, commanded his recruit Snake Eyes to kill Tommy, but Snake Eyes instead aided Tommy in escaping. In exchange, Tommy offers Snake Eyes the chance to join the Arashikage Clan and transports him to Tokyo – an alliance being formed between the two.
In addition, Tommy offers Snake Eyes a katana called the “Morning Light” and informs him about the Jewel of the Sun, a powerful artefact from ancient times that the clan has vowed to guard and not use. When Snake Eyes steals the Jewel on behalf of Kenta, it is subsequently discovered that he was a mole and was acting as a spy for none other than Storm Shadow’s cousin, Kenta.
Snake Eyes is subsequently attacked by a furious Tommy who had finally begun trusting him but obviously lost all faith. However, Snake Eyes, having realised his error, persuades Tommy that they must stop Kenta, which they do. Kenta is deemed unworthy to lead the Arashikage clan after Tommy uses the Jewel against him.
Tommy then abandons the clan and swears that if they ever cross paths again, he will murder Snake Eyes. In a scene towards the middle of the credits, Tommy is chosen by the Baroness to join Cobra and takes the name “Storm Shadow”. In a scene towards the middle of the credits, Tommy is chosen by the Baroness to join Cobra and takes the name “Storm Shadow”.
Although their bond as ninja sword-brothers has stayed pretty stable throughout the years since Hasbro’s toy line was first introduced, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow undoubtedly have a long history marked by an equal number of alliances and betrayals. With Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, a potential start to a new G.I. Joe film universe, a new era has now begun. Additionally, the conclusion makes some rather significant predictions for Snakes Eyes and Storm Shadow’s future. After some time as rivals, maybe they’ll start working together again, who knows?
Do you prefer them as comrades or does Storm Shadow really thrive in the role of the conflicted bad guy? Let us know in the comments section below!
His comic book story arc in brief
In the comics, Storm Shadow is the Cobra Commander’s ninja bodyguard and best assassin. He has thirty generations of assassins in his family tree and is pretty much a prime example of a morally gray character, one who is always in conflict with his own self and others due to events that transpired in his past. Storm Shadow’s major motivation for joining the wicked Cobra organisation is a need for vengeance rather than greed.
As young ninjas in training, Storm Shadow or Tommy Arashikage (as was his real name) struck up a deep friendship with Snake-Eyes and even saved his life in a deadly situation. However, Snake-Eyes turned out to be the more skilled Ninja between the two, overpowering Tommy on multiple occasions. In fact, many thought that Snake-Eyes would be the one to take over the family assassination business even though Tommy was the Hard-Master’s nephew and thus stood to inherit the business as far as blood was concerned.
This rivalry between them kept growing and hit a boiling point on the day the Hard-Master was murdered by someone using a bow and arrow, the arrow being from Tommy’s quiver. He was essentially framed and set out to find the person who had killed his uncle. In fact, it was on the condition that the Commander would finally identify the person who killed his uncle, that the Cobra Commander won his loyalty.
Thus, Tommy never returned to his family business and took on the moniker of Storm Shadow which was the English translation of his family name and became a Cobra agent. As a Cobra agent, he worked his way up the hierarchy and became the Cobra Commander’s main bodyguard. He did finally find the identity of his uncle’s killer – Zartan and also made an effort to apprehend him on Cobra Island; however, unfortunately it was during this time that Storm Shadow was shot multiple times by Baroness, Cobra’s intelligent officer and lieutenant to the Cobra Commander.
Dr. Mindbender saved Storm Shadow’s body for his research, using it to produce Serpentor. Storm Shadow was revived as a result of this. He then reconnected with Snake-Eyes post his resurrection and even rescued his old friend on occasion.
Snake-Eyes, his sword-brother, was able to persuade him to let go of his desire for vengeance, and he even joined the Joe Team, participating in numerous missions and escapades. He was, however, abducted by Cobra on a regular assignment and brainwashed back into their service. Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow are now in conflict with one another once more.
What made him such a deadly soldier?
In every major appearance, he has been shown to be a deadly soldier with no remorse for any of his activities. He is cut throat and abides by his code of violence and gets what he wants. Storm Shadow was a violent and vicious individual who was able to kill without hesitation. Since Snake-Eyes was their Clan Master’s favorite, he used to be envious of the other boy – So much so that they became sworn enemies in many accounts and interactions between the two.
Storm Shadow had no qualms about killing innocent people since he thought that fear was the only useful way to keep people in check. Like the age old saying that most villains utter at some point in their life – he believed that it was better to be feared than to be loved. At one point, he didn’t even care if Paris was destroyed; in fact, he was the one who launched the missile carrying nanomite warheads that would have done so.
However, Zartan, who worked closely with him on various occasions on account of him also reporting to the Cobra Commander, claimed that Storm Shadow never killed a woman despite his aggressive and merciless attitude. Storm Shadow declared that he would make an exception only one time when Zartan killed Cover Girl.
Although the Snake Eyes ultimately prevailed in their final battle, Storm Shadow was also highly sure of his skills and thought he would be able to kill Snake Eyes. Strangely, Shadow once referred to Snake-Eyes as his “brother,” despite the fact that they were not related and most definitely did not have a sibling-like bond. Given that they were reared and educated by the same Master, this would imply that they regard each other as brothers.
We can’t not talk about Storm Shadow’s impeccable fighting skills while explaining why he is a deadly soldier. Storm Shadow is a master of ninjutsu and a ferociously effective combatant. Only Snake-Eyes has been able to engage him in battle on an even playing field out of all the GI Joes.
He is holding two katana swords that can be joined to create a single double-bladed sword. In addition, Storm Shadow exhibited lethal accuracy when hurling things like shuriken and shattered glass. He also showed his proficiency with a nunchaku by defeating Snake-Eyes while using it when they were younger. He shared Snake-Eyes’ abilities to move with tremendous stealth, excellent acrobatics, and incredible agility. Even a gunshot fired at him was sliced in half by his agility and speed. He seemed to have a more aggressive combat technique than Snake-Eyes, which fit his violent nature.
Storm Shadow has however on occasion demonstrated that he does have a sense of honour despite his frigid heart. His willingness to team up with the Joes to prevent Zartan, the leader of the Dreadnoks and Cobra Commander from using the Project Zeus superweapon is proof of this. But, beware, do not take Storm Shadow lightly, he can and will deal a fatal blow if you try to cross him.
Storm Shadow is a widely-loved character and has been very well-received on multiple occasions. On the list of “The 10 Coolest G.I. Joe Ninjas” 2010, Storm Shadow was ranked second by Topless Robot, who also noted that he had “was voted the #1 Cobra villain by the old Action Force Weekly.”
His resemblance is also present in League of Legends, where the character Zed and the Arctic Ops skin, which displays the camouflage pattern worn by the 1988 Storm Shadow, are both available for the Yordle Ninja character Kennen, who can also be given the skin.
It is safe to say that fans love such characters who tread the morally gray path because it gives them something to root for. Storm Shadow can definitely go on to become a mainstay in the G. I. Joe film franchise. How do you feel about Storm Shadow in the franchise? Let us know in the comments section below!