The Expendables, an infamous group of ruthless mercenaries led by Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross, returned to the big screen last month for the fourth time.
In Les Weldon produced Expend4bles, they are sent to Libya to prevent mercenary Suarto Rahmat from stealing nuclear warheads for a mysterious terrorist.
The movie was as intense as the previous installments. However, the franchise which is known for carrying the mantle of keeping the classic action genre alive in the era of extraterrestrial powers laced Marvel and DC movies hit the theaters with some notable changes that left fans questioning its future.
The following part contains Spoilers!
What Expend4bles Producer Said About Sylvester Stallone’s Future in the Action Franchise
The much-publicized absence of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who portrayed Trench in the original trilogy, marked the first notable change in the new chapter. However, it was the reduced role of his former comrade turned friendly rival Barney (Sylvester Stallone) that really left fans stunned, with some taking it as a sign of makers moving away from the old guard. Interestingly, for the first time ever, Stallone was also not involved in the writing process.
His character has been the heart of the franchise since 2010, but in this installment, he spent most of his time faking his own death, leading to a drastic decrease in his screen time. The fake death was part of a plan to draw out Ocelot (Andy Garcia), the mysterious terrorist.
As far as the plotline is concerned, the move made sense, but his limited sequences also led to some fans assuming that it was the sign of torch-passing and opening a void for another star to step in, as it’s not a common theme to keep the most famous face of the franchise on the sidelines. However, while speaking to JoBlo, producer Les Weldon clarified:
“Look, it wasn’t so much that we said, oh, we got to pass the torch here, because, you know, we were thinking what is a good story for here? And we say passing of the torch, but that doesn’t mean, you know, that that’s forever the direction we’re going. It just happened to be the best story we had all put together that we had all thought about, and even though there is that element in there, it was a function of the script and the story.”
By insisting it’s not the direction the decision makers will be necessarily taking going forward, Weldon has also given fans hopes of Stallone reprising his role in Expendables 5.
Sylvester Stallone Explains Why He Returned as Rambo Despite Being in His 70s
Stallone is now 77, as such, expecting him to throw punches like Rocky Balboa the Italian Stallion or asking him to pick up the most dangerous weapons like young Barney might prove to be too much. However, Expend4bles’ frustrating worldwide collection of just $42.7 million at the box office so far underlines just how important it is to give the popular characters as much screen time as possible.
Considering past trends, Stallone is unlikely to shy away from the potential challenges of starring in another Expendables movie even in his twilight years. In 2019, he returned as Rambo in Rambo: Last Blood.
When asked the reason behind bringing back his iconic character 37 years after First Blood, Stallone poetically told Variety: “The warrior can never find peace. He just can’t.”
The movie wasn’t a blockbuster but did reasonably well by managing $91.5 million at the box office globally. Most importantly, his dedicated fans absolutely loved the sight of the muscled Vietnam veteran for one more time.