See Sylvester Stallone Hint At Character’s Death On The Last Day Of Expendables 4 Filming

By Dylan Balde | 4 weeks ago

sylvester stallone

Barney Ross is ready to retire from the Expendables, a recent IGTV update from actor Sylvester Stallone confirms. The man who led cinema’s most experienced black ops team shared an on-set video on his last day shooting The Expendables 4 in Thessaloniki, Greece. And the deets are out: Stallone’s Ross is officially passing the leadership baton to Jason Statham’s knife-wielding Lee Christmas after almost 12 years of shepherding an elite unit to career-defining repute. The star of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad specifically mentions Statham as his actual successor in the franchise, leading fans to raise the question of Ross’s fate: is Sylvester Stallone dying in The Expendables 4 or simply leaving the team?

There’s no question Jason Statham is the star of The Expendables 4. Writers Spenser Cohen, Max Adams, and John Joseph Connolly have previously told The Hollywood Reporter in August that Statham’s Christmas is the “biggest gun” of the film. While the last three installments were built on the shoulders of Sylvester Stallone’s Ross, with the gruff, no-nonsense former United States Marine being the heart and soul of the series, The Expendables 4 is the first Expendables to feature a storyline without any of Ross’s choices driving the script. As far as the writers are concerned, the character’s arc ended with the original trilogy. Much like The Flash for Ben Affleck’s Snyder-era Batman, The Expendables 4 is Stallone’s long-overdue swan song from the franchise. Developments on the movie seem to imply The Expendables 4 will end with Statham’s Christmas formally taking over from Ross, by hook or by crook, and Sylvester Stallone’s Ross receiving his much-deserved Tony Stark moment.

For his part, Sylvester Stallone is having a ball passing on stewardship of the series to fellow action veteran Jason Statham, who was not present in the Rocky actor’s farewell video. Try to hold back your tears as you watch the segment right here:

Sylvester Stallone gives a fitting goodbye here, saying in part, “Well, they just finished their very successful stunt and it’s time to be moving on. This will be my last day,” he explains. “So I’m enjoying it, but it’s always bittersweet, you know, when something you’ve been so attached to, I guess, since… Well, now it’s been about 12 years? And ready to pass the baton on to Jason [Statham]. In his capable hands….” Sylvester Stallone bids the audience goodbye with a wink and an earnest fist up.

Plot details for The Expendables 4 remain shrouded in fog, but what’s clear is Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) isn’t surviving this fight long enough to make it to the next installment. This is a prequel film created to set up Lee Christmas’s journey through the ranks. This jerk with a heart of gold spent three movies cultivating his professional and personal relationship with the original big gun of the franchise, proving his loyalty time and again with every dictatorship torn down, rival mercenary gang destroyed, and rogue arms dealer apprehended.

Theirs was a character arc worthy of comparison to George Clooney and Brad Pitt’s Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan (Ocean’s) or Mel Gibson and Danny Glover’s Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh (Lethal Weapon), and yet it was never fated to end on simply a partnership. Ross is more than just a friend or a colleague; he’s Christmas’s mentor. And the student would eventually have to overtake the master. Sylvester Stallone couldn’t be happier stepping back to let Jason Statham’s Christmas finally have his hero-defining moment. The man certainly earned his place at the top.

The Expendables 4 wasn’t originally going to herald a new trilogy of Statham-led films. Sylvester Stallone, who co-wrote the first three movies, started working on the screenplay in the hopes of capping the series. The Rambo actor eventually left the project, pointing the blame at creative differences and the studio’s general preference on where the franchise should go. By the time Stallone was convinced to return in 2018 by castmates, The Expendables 4 had been circling development hell for a little over four years. Pierce Brosnan and Jean-Claude Van Damme had previously expressed interest in the film, though neither panned out. Production came to a head last year after returning director Patrick Hughes bowed out and made way for Scott Waugh (Need for Speed) in August. The Expendables 4 is the first Expendables not written by Stallone.

Expendables 4 started filming at the tail end of September. It stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, 50 Cent, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, and Andy Garcia. The movie comes out next year.