This latest trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation wastes little time in explaining why Joe star Channing Tatum was so absent from the last trailer for the film. As the preview--and presumably the actual film--opens, the entire G.I. Joe action figure line is attacked by the U.S.'s own forces, taking out the majority of the team, Tatum included. More likely it will turn out Tatum is alive in the hospital or something, leaving the team in the hands of a new leader for but one movie, because that formula worked well enough for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. But as far as why The Rock is now seemingly leader of a Wayans-free Joe team, that's why.
As for why the Joes were attacked, it's because Cobra has wrested control of the White House, and not even in the polite way lobbyists do it. Thanks to the shape-shifting powers of Arnold Vosloo, Cobra has literally taken over the presidency, placing themselves in power and turning the surviving G.I. Joe figures into criminals. Finding it tough to hide out when half their team is composed of an enormous, shorn man and the personification of a black dildo, the Joes turn to the only man they can trust: G.I. Joe himself, Bruce Willis, who seems to have contributed a few wisecracks on the condition that he be allowed to shoot them all in sequence in front of a green screen. Willis grants the Joes use of that super awesome tank vehicle your parents refused to buy you because they already bought you the Turtle Blimp for your birthday, and, well, now The Rock has one less pithy quip he can use in Fast Six:
Now, I'm fuzzy on some of my G.I. Joe canon, but did Firefly always take his name to such a literal extreme, or is this something new since the advent of Michael Bay's invention of little CGI robot bugs?
Also, if it turns out Tatum just got his head clonked and now he's working for Cobra because of brain damage, eff off, because that's just The Vow again but with the roles switched and with larger political implications.