Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Rambo: Last Blood.
Rambo: Last Blood is poised to be the end of an era, the final adventure starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, but it's possible a Rambo 6 could happen in the future. After debuting in 1982's First Blood (based on the 1972 novel by David Morrell), the character Rambo became one of the biggest action heroes of the 1980s. In 2008, Stallone revived Rambo for another film, and now Last Blood sees the character embark on one final mission.
But is this really the end? Nobody thought Rambo would come back after 1988's Rambo III ended the trilogy, and then Rambo 2008 seemed to provide a definitive ending for the iconic Vietnam veteran, but that didn't stop him from returning for Last Blood. Old legends never really die, so is it's hard to believe Sylvester Stallone is truly retiring the character for good.
For his part, Sylvester Stallone has put out mixed messages regarding the prospect of another Rambo movie. He's stated that Rambo: Last Blood is the final entry in the series, but the 2008 Rambo movie was supposed to be the end as well. He's also expressed interest in a prequel about Rambo's first days in Vietnam, and there's potential for a Rambo 6 film set after the events of Rambo: Last Blood. All told, there's still a decent chance audiences haven't seen the end of John Rambo, especially if Rambo: Last Blood succeeds at the box office.
Rambo 6 Could Happen If Last Blood Is A Success
Sylvester Stallone stopped making Rambo movies in the 1980s after Rambo III grossed more than $100 million less than its predecessor at the global box office. While the third installment was still a strong financial performer, Stallone was ready to move on to other projects. Following the surprise success of Rocky Balboa in 2006, Stallone decided Rambo deserved a proper send-off, thus production began on 2008's Rambo.
Despite the seemingly definitive conclusion of that Burma-set war film, Stallone always intended to make a Rambo 5, though he put the project on hold to make The Expendables and its two sequels. Now that Rambo: Last Blood is out, there's no reason to suspect Stallone won't proceed with more films if he can justify the cost. Remember, this is Sylvester Stallone; even after retiring Rocky Balboa, he still brought the character back for two Creed films. There's a strong chance Rambo could make a similar comeback in a Rambo 6, if Rambo: Last Blood does well enough.
What Story Could Rambo 6 Tell?
There are two directions Rambo 6 could take. It could be set after Rambo: Last Blood and see Rambo drift into a new situation, echoing the story of the original First Blood, or it could be a prequel focusing on Rambo's time in Vietnam. In fact, Stallone himself expressed interest in a Rambo prequel before, showcasing the transformation of the character from an all-American golden boy to a broken warrior.
The prospective downside of the prequel route would be the obvious need to recast John Rambo with another actor. Stallone is so iconic as the character, it's hard to imagine anyone else could fill his shoes, even for a younger and vastly different take on the legendary soldier. Perhaps Rambo 6 could combine both ideas, using Stallone in the present day while intermittently flashing back to his younger days with a more youthful actor playing the role. It's possible he could then meet with the children or grandchildren of one of his old Baker Team squadmates and relay stories of hell and heroism to a new generation. Another route Rambo 6 could take is reviving the cancelled version of Rambo 5 developed by Stallone and First Blood author David Morrell.
Rambo is more than just a 1980s action hero; he's the personification of post-Vietnam sentiment, good and bad. Even nearly 50 years later, Vietnam is still fresh in the minds of many Americans, and a Rambo 6 could continue that narrative on the big screen. But it all depends on the success or failure of Rambo: Last Blood.