In the early 1980s, G.I. Joe rebranded under the “Real American Hero” line of 3 3/4th inch action figures that were basically Hasbro’s answer to what Star Wars was doing over at Kenner. (They are the same company now.) G.I. Joe was no longer a 12-inch figure named Joe, now this was a code name for a highly skilled strike force that would spawn a terrific Marvel comic, an animated series, then, eventually, three live action films.
In the mid-1980s G.I. Joe started adding “real” people to the team. All of a sudden, Refrigerator Perry from the Chicago Bears was a member of G.I. Joe. And then so was professional wrestler Sgt Slaughter, who, in the universe of G.I. Joe, was not a wrestler, but, instead, was a drill instructor. (Though, there were some real-world ramifications for Sgt Slaughter’s participation with G.I. Joe as the then WWF wasn’t thrilled about this, eventually leading to his temporary departure.)
(Also, as an aside, one of the most bizarre examples of “real” people joining G.I. Joe was that of Rocky Balboa. No, Sylvester Stallone wasn’t joining G.I. Joe, but in an issue of Marvel’s G.I. Joe: Order of Battle, basically a Who’s Who of G.I. Joe characters, it was unceremoniously announced that, yes, Rocky was a member of G.I. Joe. Then, as quickly as that happened, in the next issue there was a retraction saying that, no, Rocky was not, nor has ever been, in G.I. Joe. At a time there was no internet, this would have made a great time for there to have been an internet because it just became this unsolvable mystery for years and years until someone involved said it had to do with a competing toy company.)
But of all these examples, Sgt Slaughter is the one who has persisted. But unlike other G.I. Joe characters, a deal has to be reached with the real Sgt Slaughter to use his likeness. And that has now happened for the popular G.I. Joe Classified line of action figures. Here’s a very enthusiastic Sgt Slaughter himself sharing the exciting news!
G.I. Joe Classified debuted in 2020 as a highly detailed line of six-inch figures based on the classic characters from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. For anyone familiar with the Star Wars Black Series, they are like that, only they seem to, as a whole, include more accessories. (It will probably not come as a shock to learn that, yes, I have purchased a few G.I. Joe: Classified figures.)
So now Sgt Slaughter is finally coming to the Classified line for the first time. The information we were given is stressing that this is a multi-year partnership between Hasbro and Sgt Slaughter. It also stresses that his figure, “comes with (surprise) exciting accessories allowing fans to recreate the 80s nostalgic Sgt Slaughter experience.” As of right now, there’s no street date for Sgt Slaughter’s Classified action figure, so this is all just to tell you ”he’s coming.” And Hasbro provided a digital mockup of what the figure will eventually look like that you can look at right now:
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.