Sylvester Stallone Exits ‘The Expendables’ Franchise
They might be called The Expendables, but the team is losing one of its key members as Sylvester Stallone is officially parting ways with the franchise he helped create. Following a crucial dispute over the creative direction for the fourth chapter in the ensemble action series, Stallone has walked away from the project — and from what would be his biggest paycheck yet, which says something substantial about his stake in the franchise.
Deadline reports on Stallone’s exit from The Expendables in the midst of development on the fourth installment in the series. The actor, who recently reprised the iconic role of Rocky Balboa in the critically-acclaimed Creed, will not return for The Expendables 4. Stallone was reportedly unhappy with the direction the franchise was heading under Nu Image and Millennium Films chief Avi Lerner, and the two were unable to agree on the director, script, or even the basic “qualitative elements of the film.” Per Deadline’s report, “That went right down to the selection of the CGI house to handle visual effects,” as the franchise has previously relied on Lerner’s own VFX company in Bulgaria.
It seems that Stallone, coming off of a career resurgence, is understandably interested in making a higher quality product. Although the previous Expendables films have been profitable, they haven’t exactly been consistently successful with critics — especially compared to other action franchises.
(And hey, maybe Stallone recently took in a matinee of John Wick: Chapter 2. That’s enough to make almost anyone question their life choices.)
It’s not immediately clear how Lerner & Co. will proceed without Stallone. The previous Expendables film co-starred Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford (I honestly barely have any memory of his involvement, and I know I saw this movie), Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Antonio Banderas, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, and Ronda Rousey. An all-female film, titled Expendabelles, has been in the works for a few years, as well.