Rambo 5: Last Blood star Sylvester Stallone briefly retired from the series following the rejection of his original pitch. Rambo has had a very unique journey as a character. First Blood was based on the novel of the same name, and following failed attempts to make an adaption with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, Stallone signed on. The movie changed the character from an angry killer to more of a wounded, lonely war vet and the movie’s tone was relatively grounded.
That all changed with Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III, which saw the character become the ultimate unstoppable '80s action hero, who could dispatch entire armies all by himself. Stallone later expressed regret about the cartoonish direction the series went in, and attempted to return to the angry, anti-war tone of the novel with 2008’s Rambo, which finds a bitter, disillusioned Rambo recruited for a rescue mission into Burma.
After a decade in development hell, Rambo 5: Last Blood is finally shooting, and finds the title character heading to Mexico to rescue his friend’s daughter from a cartel. In an interview with Culture Creature, First Blood’s author David Morrell explains he collaborated with Stallone on a story for Rambo 5 that wasn’t used.
In 2015, when Sly was working on Creed, he called me and asked to collaborate on a fifth Rambo film. Every weekend through March and April, we had many conversations. They went on for like 90 minutes to two hours. He and I worked out a story, which we were thinking of in terms of film festivals - he wanted it to be a ‘soulful journey’ - that’s a word Sly likes to use. And it was. This was a really emotional, powerful story - which I can’t talk about. He took it to the producers and they said, ‘No, we wanna do a movie about human trafficking.’ That was the end of that story so far as I know.
Morrell goes on to explain the rejection of his concept led to Stallone briefly retiring from the Rambo series, and he was surprised when news of a fifth movie arrived.
Then Sly announced that he was retiring from the character. There was a big press announcement I believe in 2016, in which he said, ‘That’s it, I’m not playing Rambo anymore.’ So, alright, that’s fine. Then, to my great surprise, I learned that there’s this fifth Rambo film being shot. Which is not the story that Sylvester and I talked about. It is, in fact, a human trafficking story - or, at least, it has something to do with the Mexican cartel.
Sadly, Morrell couldn’t reveal details of the unused Rambo 5 idea, but it must have been something important to Stallone that he was willing to walk away. This isn’t the only alternate idea pitched for a fifth movie either. Stallone’s first idea back in 2009 was to adapt the horror/action novel Hunter as Rambo 5, which would have seen the character and a group of soldiers hunting a lab-created human/monster hybrid. It was ultimately decided a monster movie was too much of a genre leap for the series. He's now making that movie as a solo project unrelated to Rambo.
Following Stallone’s retirement, there was talk of a Rambo TV series dubbed New Blood and later a movie reboot, but neither project came to be. Rambo 5: Last Blood is set to be the final time Stallone plays the character, so hopefully the storyline does the iconic character justice.
Source: Culture Creature