He's been rumored for months now, but today we have official confirmation that Mel Gibson - who plays a cartoonish megalomaniacal villain in the upcoming Robert Rodriguez feature Machete Kills - will also portray the antagonist in next year's The Expendables 3.
Moreover, the third entry in the action throwback franchise that is Expendables - once again starring and written by Sylvester Stallone - has added yet another 1990s icon of the machismo sub-genre to its cast - in the shape of the El Mariachi and (former) Zorro himself, Antonio Banderas.
Gibson's name entered the Expendables 3 conversation when Stallone asked his Twitter followers if they wanted the Oscar-winner to direct (i.e. before Patrick Hughes landed the job). Most everyone knows about Gibson's personal life issues over the past decade - in terms of how the public backlash affected his Hollywood career - but he could be positioned for a professional comeback. That may start with Machete Kills, based on how the most recent trailer suggests that Mel will serve up a thick slice of hammy fun in the Grindhouse-spinoff sequel.
Thanks to EW, we now have official confirmation from Stallone that he's recruited the original Mad Max to appear in Expendables 3 - after Sly not-so-ambiguously teased the possibility about a month back; EW also has the exclusive on Banderas signing up as a cast member. Appropriately, Banderas' next onscreen appearance will be alongside Gibson in Machete Kills, where the former plays "Gregorio Cortez." (Readers with good memories: you may recall when Banderas admitted to having been approached by Stallone about starring in Expendables 2.)
Banderas isn't the only longtime name on Stallone's Expendables cast wish list that have joined the party for round three. Earlier this week, Sly revealed that Harrison Ford will make an appearance; in addition, it seems that Jackie Chan and Wesley Snipes have been secured as cast members for the movie. However, we are currently awaiting for confirmation either way, with regard to the rumor about Steven Seagal saying yes to an Expendables role - though, Nicolas Cage himself said that he probably won't be working on the project (assuming he's telling the truth...).
With all the new cast additions - plus returning players like Arnold Schwarzenegger and
Bruce Willis (read: the story behind him being replaced) - there is more than a fair chance that some of them will be used in a rather limited capacity in the third Expendables installment (a la Chuck Norris' glorified cameo in Expendables 2). Having said that: so long as the third movie continues to embrace the cheeky fun and self-aware ludicrous tone of the sequel, then it seems fair to assume that fans and moviegoers in general will be getting their money's worth.
Are you excited to see Mel Gibson play the baddie in The Expendables 3? How do you like the other recent casting announcements?
The Expendables 3 opens in U.S. theaters on August 15th, 2014.