It is almost impossible to imagine an Expendables title that doesn't have Sylvester Stallone as it's lead. But this is the new reality the franchise faces. Nu Image/Millennium chief Avi Lerner is reported to be the man responsible for the breakdown between the icon and the studio. As the Rocky star walks away from both writing and starring roles in The Expendables 4.
How the series transitions from here will be anyone's guess, as the 70-year old wrote all three movies and directed the 2010 original The Expendables. Despite the critical reactions ranging from lukewarm to disparaging, the opening feature that spawned 2012's The Expendables 2 and 2014's The Expendables 3 have all been big moneymakers for Nu Image, Millennium and Lionsgate respectively.
Taste of Critical Praise A Change In Sly's Objectives?
Nominated for an Oscar with his supporting role in the 2015 drama Creed, some believed that Stallone wanted to transition his work from a no holds barred action buff back to a time where people took him seriously as a performer. Reprising his role as Rocky Balboa for the spinoff, Stallone won widespread acclaim. And this could have be the catalyst for the veteran to instigate change four movies into The Expendables.
The franchise personified what a reboot was. Bringing back icons of the 1980s and 90s that had either been forgotten or much maligned since their golden years. From Jet Li to Doplh Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Chuck Norris, Kelsey Grammar, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steve Austin. The title of the films was true to form.
It always appeared to be something of a self parody from Stallone, so this is a very unusual step on his part to walk away at this juncture. The studio has plenty of contenders to be the new face, as Stallone helped to bring all of these stars back into limelight to begin with.
PG-13 Experience Leaves Stallone Feeling Expendable
If movies like Deadpool and Logan have taught Hollywood anything, it is that you can no longer creative half-assed action movies anymore. Resurfacing a lot of his old comrades for The Expendables 3 in 2014, the PG-13 rating not only left a bitter taste for the fans, but for Stallone himself.
Watering down the action scenes offered no satisfaction and ran against the whole concept and spirit of the franchise. Each title brings out a surprising name with Ronda Rousey the latest to be introduced, so stay tuned to see where they go next.