Sylvester Stallone will headline the long-gestating adaptation of horror/action novel Hunter, which was almost adapted as Rambo 5 at one point. Stallone has spent years trying to get Hunter made, which follows the world’s greatest tracker being tasked by the government with hunting down a vicious, man-made monster. Hunter takes his trusty wolf and a group of mercenaries after this creature, which has superhuman speed and strength, in addition to being seemingly unkillable.
Hunter is a pulpy novel by James Byron Huggins that can basically be summed up as Rambo vs Predator. This must be why Stallone felt the book was a good fit as a potential story for Rambo 5. The main character in the book is Rambo in all but name, but while Stallone was enthusiastic about the concept back in 2009, fans revolted against the idea of the Rambo series taking a hard right into creature feature territory, so he abandoned that version.
Related: Rambo 5 Officially Titled Last Blood
Rambo 5: Last Blood is currently filming, with the lead character being tasked by a friend with rescuing his daughter from human traffickers in Mexico. Stallone has been trying to get Hunter off the ground as a standalone project ever since deciding against it for the fifth Rambo, and now it looks like it’s finally moving forward. Deadline reports Stallone’s Balboa Productions has just solidified a project lineup for starring vehicles for the veteran actor, including dark superhero project Samaritan and an adaptation of Hunter. Stallone has had the film rights for Hunter secured since 2009.
While the prospect of watching Rambo fighting a monster on the big screen might have been fun, it probably would have been too much of a leap for audiences to make. Sure, the tone of the Rambo series varies widely from movie to movie, but a complete genre switch might have confused longtime fans. Stallone is clearly passionate about the Hunter book since he's spent well over a decade developing an adaptation in one manner or another, and the character is a natural fit for him.
Aside from Rambo 5, Stallone has been on something of a relentless sequel kick lately. This year alone he’s returned for both Escape Plan 2 and Creed 2, and in addition to filming Last Blood, he’s due to start shooting The Expendables 4 sometime next year for a 2020 release. If Hunter finally goes ahead it will be nice to see him outside of a familiar franchise for a change, in addition to working in a genre he rarely visits.