Sylvester Stallone’s action-packed The Expendables franchise has established itself as a staple thanks to its ensemble star cast of Hollywood legends.
While keeping its two leading stars, Stallone and Jason Statham, the franchise has previously featured a rotating cast of powerful action figures, including Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, and a ton of others. Although the cast of the upcoming Expend4bles is not quite as strong, it does feature a number of well-known performers, including Megan Fox, Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson, Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jaa, and Andy Garcia.
In light of the buzz surrounding the fourth installment, aptly titled Expend4bles, it is intriguing to look into the various celebrities who may have appeared in the film. But they unfortunately turned down Stallone’s offer to join the film.
Let us take a closer look at some of these actors.
1. Bruce Willis
Following The Expendables 3 (2014), Expend4bles is finally returning to the series after a nine-year hiatus, but the follow-up was apparently still in the works during that time. In the first two The Expendables films, Bruce Willis played Mr. Church, a mysterious CIA agent who has an ambivalent relationship with Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone).
The series was likely going to focus on Mr. Church’s true motivations and his ties to enemies, but that was derailed when Willis reportedly turned down The Expendables 3.
Producers, Kevin King-Templeton and Les Weldon recently spoke to the Daily Express about Willis’ absence in the latest installment:
“You have to work with what and who you have available. We bring back as much of the core characters as you can. Bruce had a cameo in the first, a bit more of a part in the second one. The fourth was kind of…you have to evolve.”
2. Dwayne Johnson
“I don’t want to be on their team and be buddies with them. F*** that noise. I want to hunt every single one of them down and tell them to ‘send your soul to heaven cause your ass is mine.’”
It is unclear, though, whether Johnson was genuinely a contender when Sylvester Stallone and Lionsgate were deciding who would play the villain or if he was just wishing the casting into existence.
Anyway, the combination of Stallone and Johnson’s on-screen presence would have been a sight to behold.
3. Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan was also a candidate to play the villain in Expend4bles. The former wrestler, who also starred in Rocky III, admitted that he and Sylvester Stallone had serious discussions about him playing the antagonist.
It is possible that the legendary wrestler would have ended up being the movie’s antagonist, claimed Wrestling Inc. (via Uproxx). Hogan stated the following:
“Was talking on the phone with Sly [Stallone] about doing The Expendables 4. We’re trying to figure out a way to maybe turn me into the most evil man in the world. Y’know, Stallone gave me my first break and he’s been a great friend for all these years … We had a great conversation, talking about the possibilities. Can I still run, can I still jump? Well, not as fast or not as high, but I think Hollywood could find a good stunt man to help me out.”
4. Jean-Claude Van Damme
The best villain in the Expendables series has already been played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, who played Jean Vilain in The Expendables 2 and completely ruled with his exceptional performance.
In a conversation with DuJour, Sylvester Stallone recalled the occasion when he approached Van Damme about reprising the role again. However, the latter was adamant about passing up the chance and suggested Stallone a career advice:
“He goes, ‘I believe you are at the point in your life where you should play a priest in East L.A. helping young people.’”
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one significant icon who will not be appearing in the fourth film. The former Governor of California announced in May 2023 that his character (Trench) would not be appearing in Expend4bles again.
The actor put an end to all hopes of his return in a recent interview with Parade.
“It’s done and I’m not in it.”
Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture will all make a comeback in Expend4bles to reprise their respective roles from the previous three films. Suarto Rahmat, the film’s villain, will be played by Iko Uwais (The Raid), who will, of course, confront our Expendables heroes.
Additionally, some fresh yet well-known faces have joined the team, including Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson, Megan Fox, Andy Garcia, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Randy Couture. Eddie Hall and Sheila Shah have also been cast in unspecified roles.
Expend4bles will be released on September 22, 2023.
The last three The Expendables movies are currently streaming on Netflix and FuboTV.