If you are an action movie aficionado, then The Expendables 4 has been on your radar for the past six years. Six years is how long talk of a number 4 has been going on and while we may be slowly inching toward it actually happening, so far we haven’t been able to scratch our Expendables itch, What gives?
No Expendables 4?
The on-again, off-again saga of The Expendables 4 rolls along. At the time of its announcement back in 2014, Sylvester Stallone said there was enough story in him to have two more Expendables movies. Stallone also stated that his first choice for the series’ next villain would be Jack Nicholson. Around that time, former James Bond Pierce Brosnan revealed that he had just agreed with producer Avi Lerner to star in an upcoming Expendables film, but maybe not the fourth one. “I have no idea which one it would be, I just said yes,” said the ex-Bond.
Instead of continuing the franchise with multiple future installments, Sylvester Stallone said in an interview that The Expendables 4 would be the last in the series. After making this statement, Stallone soon walked away from the franchise after he failed to find common ground on a story, budget, or even a director with Avi Lerner.
According to Terry Crews, Avi Lerner was the reason he decided he wasn’t returning to the franchise. Crews had been involved in a civil suit against a Hollywood agent, whom Crews claimed groped him at a party in 2016. Lerner himself was under investigation for sexual abuse, so Crews decided that if Lerner was to be involved with The Expendables 4, he would leave the project as well.
Terry Crews said via Cinemablend, “No. Simply because this same producer is under his own … investigation. Abusers protect abusers — and this is one thing I had to decide, whether I was going to draw the line on. Am I going to be a part of this or am I gonna take a stand, and there are projects I had to turn down.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger also said he would not return to the franchise without Sylvester Stallone guiding the series. The Expendables 4 looked as though it might never see the light of day.
Expendables 4 Happening?
In 2018, Sylvester Stallone teased that The Expendables 4 was back on track, claiming that it was in the works and would be R-rated like the first two installments in the franchise. Stallone fueled the fire even more by posting a throwback photo with himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis, leading to speculation that all three would be returning to the project.
Randy Couture also recently told The Action Elite that he had read The Expendables 4 script and that he is on board. “It is a thing! I got a script last year and really enjoyed reading it. It was very well done, but where we are on the production scale and getting it moving, I’m not sure. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes with the producer to make a film that big, so I’m hoping this spring we get the green light, but I’m not hearing anything definitive right now.”
In another possible development, Jean-Claude Van Damme supposedly gave Sly Stallone a fresh story idea that would see the brother of Van Damme’s Jean Vilain from Expendables 2 show up to wreak havoc. The brother’s name? Claude Vilain. He would also suggested he would be bringing along his real-life kids and actors, Kris and Bianca Van Damme, to be part of a team Claude Vilain trains to go after Stallone and the crew. Word also came out recently that Patrick Hughes, who directed The Expendables 3 would return to direct The Expendables 4.
As of right now, that’s all the information we currently have on The Expendables 4. Some of the cast seems excited to return, but there’s no word who else might come back for this fourth installment. It’s also unclear what Avi Lerner’s role in a fourth film would be, which leaves Terry Crews’ future with The Expendables undetermined as well.
The Original Expendables Trilogy
The first Expendables, bowing in 2010, was an ‘80s action movie lovers’ delight. It was a throwback to those big, mindless Sylvester Stallone/Arnold Schwarzenegger action flicks that brought with it casts a fan could die for. It was Stallone’s brainchild, a story he co-wrote that would bring in many former and current action stars, give them their own stories that would showcase their action talents, blow up a lot of shit, and let the heroes ride off into the sunset (well, most of them) to live another day. Or in this case, for a sequel, and now, The Expendables 4.
Sylvester Stallone brought together some big guns for his first Expendables. On top of having Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, and Steve Austin, he also brought back classic action stars such as Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren. Stallone also brought in action legends like Bruce Willis, and of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger. With star-power like that, of course, there would be a sequel, and hopefully soon, an Expendables 4.
The Expendables 2 arrived two years later to great anticipation. Who else could Sly Stallone convince to appear? (A question we’re still asking with Expendables 4) He brought back his “regulars”: Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Jet Li, and Dolph Lundgren. He also got Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger to return to their respective roles, this time giving them bigger parts, and brought back Charisma Carpenter as Statham’s girlfriend.
But now, Sylvester Stallone was able to talk other classic action stars to join the fun. He brought in Jean-Claude Van Damme to appear as the villain, Jean Vilain, and then in a coup that fans relished, he brought in Chuck Norris (along with a few classic Norris jokes) to round out his amazing cast. Does it truly matter, at this point, what the story was about? Just give us tons of action, great fights, loud explosions, tender “manly” moments, and call it a day. That’s all we truly need from Expendables 4 too.
The Expendables 3 also came two years after the previous installment, a tradition which would be broken in the buildup to Expendables 4. Once again, story be damned, the real story was who would appear in this latest Expendables. Stallone and his regular crew returned, but this time Stallone added some new blood with former UFC champion Ronda Rousey and former welterweight boxing champ Victor Ortiz.
As for the legends, the original Blade, Wesley Snipes made his series debut. While not necessarily known for his action films, Kelsey Grammar was a nice addition, and Antonio Banderas joined the ever-expanding cast. Finally, Expendables 3 added two big names: Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson, the latter of which gleefully played the film’s villain. Certainly, with all the success from the first three – and many of these action stars aging quickly – Expendables 4 was surely in the works to follow the same two-year release pattern of its predecessors, right? Not so fast.
It’s been six years since The Expendables 3 and still no word on The Expendables 4. None of us are getting any younger, let’s go back for one last hurrah.