Simon West will begin shooting (appropriate verb) his sequel to Sylvester Stallone's macho man brawl, The Expendables 2, sometime over the next couple of months - and Millennium Films has begun the lengthy process of confirming which rumored stars will actually be showing up in the action-packed blockbuster.
An official cast list for the Expendables followup has made its way online, revealing that Stallone's mercenary crew from the first film (Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren) and Mickey Rourke are all set to reprise their respective roles in Part Deux.
Moviehole got ahold of said cast list and is reporting that familiar faces like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back (sorry) in Expendables 2, while the often-rumored Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Scott Adkins are all now officially onboard for the film.
Van Damme will be playing a villain (as was previously rumored) in Expendables 2 alongside fellow muscular martial arts master/actor Adkins (Undisputed II, The Bourne Ultimatum). Willis' Mr. Church made only a brief appearance in the first film, but he's long been all but confirmed to become the main antagonist in the sequel.
There's no word yet if Schwarzenegger's role in the second Expendables movie will likewise be larger (or, rather, more than a three minute cameo), but the 71-year-old Norris is only expected to show up briefly in the film.
UPDATE: Deadline has learned that Willis and Schwarzenegger are signed on for “substantial” roles in Expendables 2, which is slated to begin production in October 2011.
A rumored plot synopsis for Expendables 2 popped up online a few months ago, indicating the film would follow Stallone and Co. as they embark on a mission of personal revenge, after one of their own is slaughtered. That would have been a fitting homage to the iconic 1980s sequel format and its famous tagline ("And this time... it's personal!"), but Stallone ended up refuting said plot description. Bear in mind, that does not guarantee the film won't be heading in a similar direction.
One thing the new Expendables flick will definitely do is embrace the action movie franchise creed that became a tradition during the '80s (i.e. make the sequel bigger). With stars like Norris and Adkins onboard (both of whom were offered, but turned down roles, in the first film), along with Van Damme and the big surviving players from the first movie, Expendables 2 is certain to become even more of a testosterone-fueled throwback to now classic action-fests of the past few decades. If other wanted stars like Christopher Lambert and Christian Slater sign on too, it will just be icing on the cake for fans.
Look for additional cast confirmations in the upcoming weeks as The Expendables 2 heads into production, so as to make its scheduled August 17th, 2012 theatrical release date.