[UPDATE: It seems that Stallone is NOT directing The Expendables 2 after all. Scroll down for more.]

Just a month ago, word had gotten out that Sylvester Stallone might pass on directing The Expendables 2 to let another talent call the shots on the action-star ensemble sequel. Things have apparently changed since then, as it now looks like Sly will in fact be the Expendables pack leader – both onscreen and behind the camera.

Stallone now appears to be set as the director on Expendables 2, which is scheduled to [insert violent verb(s) of preference here] its way into theaters at the end of Summer 2012.

Expendables Premiere was the source for this news about the Expendables sequel, and says more information about the film’s plot – along with which screen stars will be returning/joining Stallone in the new hard-hitting action pic – will be revealed in the near future.

What is known right now is that Stallone and his Expendables co-screenwriter Dave Callaham have passed-on scripting duties for the followup to a relative newcomer, David Agosto, and Ken Kaufman, whose resume includes the screenplays for Muppets from Space, Space Cowboys, and Curious George.

Space Cowboys aside, that’s an undeniably strange background for someone who’s been hired to pen a cinematic throwback to R-Rated action fests from the 1980s. On the other hand, the first Expendables was never credited with showcasing excellent writing – or great direction, truth be told, since Stallone’s work in that area actually earned him a Razzie nomination.

While there are many legitimate criticisms to make about Stallone’s direction in the first Expendables (including, among other things, the overuse of “shaky cam”) there’s the chance he’ll learn a bit from his mistakes and do a better job with Expendables 2. After all, you can always teach an old dog new tricks, right? Wait… ๐Ÿ˜›

On a more serious note: Expendables 2 could feature more significant roles for both Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and aims to include ever more brawny action stars of a certain age bracket than the first film. So that seems reason enough to be hopeful about how this sequel will turn out for now.

UPDATE: Deadline says that “Sylvester Stallone wants it known that despite reports to the contrary, he will not be directing the sequel to ‘The Expendables’.” Case closed, it seems.

The Expendables 2 arrives in U.S. theaters on August 17th, 2012.

Source: Expendables Premiere