After a decade of progress, the female leadership Expendables has finally ended. The reason we haven’t heard any positive updates on ExpendaBelles in a while is that the project has been placed on hold. Several years ago, there were rumors that The Expendables might be granted a spinoff starring some of the action genre’s most prominent female actresses.
Robert Luketic was slated to helm the projected film in 2014, and there were reports that the cast would feature Milla Jovovich, Meryl Streep, and Cameron Diaz. In a recent interview, Millennium Films’ Jeffrey Greenstein explained why an all-female-led Expendables movie, ExpendaBelles, is no longer moving forward.
Why was the female-led Expendables canceled?
The synopsis for the female-led Expendables released for the film stated when America’s Navy SEALs are wiped out while attempting to infiltrate the island hideout of a lethal tyrant who has captured one of the world’s top nuclear scientists, it becomes evident that there is no such thing as the right person for the job and that this is a mission so inconceivable that only women can handle it.
The only way in is some of the world’s most lethal female spies must disguise themselves as high-class escorts flown in by private jet to appease a dictator—and instead, save the scientist and the day.
However, the project would continue to simmer in development purgatory with little actual progress made on its development. Years passed, and it appeared that ExpendaBelles had died. That has been verified by producer Jeffrey Greenstein, who recently detailed why the film’s ideas were scrapped in an interview. It ultimately boils down to his new method of including more women in the main series since he didn’t believe there was a compelling enough reason to purposely segregate the genders. He stated that,
“We’d been trying to develop The ExpendaBelles, a female version of The Expendables, but my problem with that project was always trying to find a way to justify why we’d have a woman team. Instead of trying to explain that, why not just have women on the regular team, and [they’re] badass? Instead of having to explain why a woman character got there and all that, you just do what you’d do with a man: show them kicking ass.”
The decision to discontinue The ExpendaBelles is guaranteed to elicit varied reactions from fans of the Expendables film franchise. Many will undoubtedly criticize the choice, as it does not enable some of Hollywood’s most recognized female action actresses to headline their own entry in the franchise.
Canceling the female-led Expendables film was a right decision
Many people, however, are likely to agree with Greenstein’s decision to cancel The ExpendaBelles because they want to see more female roles in mainstream films. The original Expendables generally viewed its female characters as damsels-in-distress or sex objects, but Yu Nan’s Maggie in The Expendables 2 was a step in the right direction.
The Expendables 3 almost got the franchise back on track by casting Ronda Rousey as former nightclub bouncer Luna, only to derail the effort by having her a hostage for the duration of the film. Given that no actors were ever signed to The ExpendaBelles, those considered for the project may feature in the primary Expendables film.
Megan Fox will be one of a handful of new cast members joining The Expendables 4 next year. Tony Jaa, Curtis Jackson, Andy Garcia, and Iku Uwais are among the newcomers. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture are among the returning franchise stars. Spenser Cohen and Max Adams wrote the script, which Scott Waugh directs.