Rambo: Last Blood star Sylvester Stallone wants a Rambo prequel that explores the iconic character before he became a killing machine. Released in 1982, the action film First Blood first introduced the world to John Rambo, a former special forces soldier scarred by his experiences in Vietnam who has now become a drifter, who winds up waging a one-man war against the callous authorities in a small town in the Pacific Northwest.
Rambo’s introductory film would prove to be a box office success, grossing $125 million and leading to a 1985 sequel, Rambo: First Blood Part II. Co-written by James Cameron, the second film took Rambo back to Vietnam on a mission to locate missing POWs, while upping the ante on both the action and the iconic depiction of Rambo. The film was a blockbuster with $300 million in worldwide grosses, leading to another sequel in 1988’s Rambo III. Sadly, three Rambo movies was perhaps one too many for audiences at the time, and the character would go on the shelf until being resurrected for 2008’s revival Rambo. Now, Rambo is coming back for one last ride in Rambo: Last Blood, which features Stallone’s character taking on the Mexican cartels after the kidnapping of his adopted daughter.
Though Last Blood is intended as the final Rambo movie (hence the title), there is a way the character could return according to Stallone. As the actor told Screen Rant during a recent appearance, he has an idea for a prequel that would keep Rambo alive even without Stallone himself in the role:
I always thought of Rambo when he was 16 or 17 – I hope they can do the prequel – he was the best person you could find. He was the captain of the team; he was the most popular kid in school; super athlete. He was like Jim Thorpe, and the war is what changed him. If you saw him before, he was like the perfect guy.
As established in the original First Blood, a young Rambo was chosen by his mentor Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna) to join an elite special forces unit, and was honed into a highly skilled killing machine and dispatched into the jungles of Vietnam to handle the most dangerous missions. Of course, there must have been a time before Rambo was the perfect warrior he would later become, and Stallone believes there’s an opportunity to go back before Rambo's established backstory and depict the character when he was just a regular teenager who may have possessed certain innate skills, but had not yet been warped by his war experiences into the super-violent character he would later be.
Of course, even the scarred post-War Rambo still possesses an unbreakable moral code, which shows up in his battles on behalf of POWs and, in 2008’s Rambo, kidnapped missionaries. It might indeed be interesting to go back in time and meet Rambo as a high school kid and then see how his training and war experiences caused him to lose his innocence and become the one-man army capable of taking on the cartels in Rambo: Last Blood. Then again, it's possible there truly is no Rambo without Stallone, in which case a prequel might actually be a bad idea.
- Rambo 5: Last Blood (2019) release date: Sep 20, 2019