Lionsgate has revealed the first official photo of Sylvester Stallone in upcoming sequel Rambo 5: Last Blood. Rambo 5 was announced shortly after the success of the fourth entry in 2008, but the project has dipped in and out of development hell over the years. Stallone’s first concept was to adapt horror/action novel Hunter for the fifth movie, which would have found Rambo hunting an unstoppable government-created creature with help from a team of soldiers. However, fan backlash over the idea of Rambo fighting a monster put the brakes on that version.
Stallone instead pivoted to the idea of Rambo rescuing a friend’s kidnapped daughter from a cartel, but his commitment to the Expendables series found the project constantly being delayed. First Blood author David Morrell recently revealed that he and Stallone collaborated on a concept for Rambo 5 in 2015, but despite being passionate about this idea, the producers ultimately rejected it. Stallone then announced his retirement from the character, leading to a TV show and movie reboot being planned without his involvement instead.
The veteran actor has since come around to a fifth and final movie, with Rambo 5: Last Blood currently filming. Though there isn't much in the way of a detailed synopsis, the fifth entry returns to the concept of Rambo facing off against a Mexican cartel. And, while Stallone has been posting photos from the shoot on his social media accounts, Lionsgate's Twitter profile has just revealed the first official still from the movie.
Rambo's ending found the title character returning to the United States after spending decades in self-imposed exile and arriving at his father’s farm. Rambo 5 will find the character living a peaceful life as a horse rancher when he’s called upon for one last mission. Given the subtitle of the movie, it’s not a stretch to imagine this will be Stallone’s final outing in the role, and in past interviews about the movie, he’s teased that Rambo probably won’t make it out of the story alive.
Stallone’s upcoming schedule is heavy with sequels, with this month seeing the release of Creed 2, which he co-wrote. When he’s finished with Rambo 5: Last Blood, Stallone is due to jump straight into filming The Expendables 4, and Escape Plan 3: Devil’s Station will likely appear in theaters sometime next year. After that, he’s set to finally tackle a direct adaptation of James Byron Huggins' Hunter, which reportedly inspired an earlier draft of Rambo 5: The Last Blood, but will have no ties to the Rambo franchise, Rounding out his packed schedule is a dark superhero project called Samaritan from screenwriter Bragi Schut (Season of the Witch).