Stallone is Back to Planning The Expendables 4

Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone confirmed via Instagram that he's beginning work on The Expendables 4. Back in 2010, Stallone, hot off the success of 2006's Rocky Balboa and 2008's Rambo, decided to launch a new action franchise starring some of the most iconic testosterone-fueled actors of all time. Written, directed by, and starring Stallone himself, The Expendables was an R-rated barrage of non-stop violence buoyed by sincere dialogue and Stallone's signature screenwriting flair.

The first two entries in the series were strong performers at the box office, earning a combined $590 million. The Expendables 3, despite the addition of Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Antonio Banderas to the cast, was lambasted by fans for its reliance on unusually poor CGI effects, an ill-advised storyline which revolved around a "next generation" of mercenaries, and - most egregious of all - a PG-13 rating, cutting out all the gory kills and harsh language. The end result bombed at the North American box office, bringing in less than half of its predecessor's financial haul. While it made up some of the difference overseas, it wasn't enough to avoid putting the series on ice, at least for a little while.

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In a surprise Instagram post on July 4, series creator Stallone shared a photo of his character, Barney Ross, complete with the caption: "All of those July 4th Fireworks got my mind going! I am starting to cook up The next adventure!" The prospect of a fourth Expendables film has been floated for a while, but after a series of false starts, it looked as though the film may never get made, with Stallone officially dropping out in early 2017. Fast-forward to May 2018, however, and it seems the issues worked themselves out in time for a massive Chinese distribution deal with Dadi, a deal which also includes this September's Rambo: Last Blood.

Hopes are high The Expendables 4 can pick up right where The Expendables 2 left off, forgoing the PG-13 action of part three in exchange for bloody gun fights and righteous, bone-crunching beatdowns courtesy of Stallone's brass knuckles. Stallone himself even regarded the rating change as a mistake, promising that the forth movie would correct the unfortunate error.

While it's too early to even guess what the story of The Expendables 4 might be, one star who likely won't be returning for the sequel is Terry Crews, who played Hale Caesar. After accusing a Hollywood producer of sexual assault, Crews was distraught when Expendables producer Avi Lerner tried to force the actor to drop his accusations, and chose to cut ties with the producer, which meant dropping out of The Expendables franchise. It's unclear if Stallone is willing to take whatever steps are necessary to bring Crews back into the fold. The Expendables 4 is still a distant blip on the horizon. Audiences eager to catch up with Stallone can check out Rambo: Last Blood, which faces the difficult task of living up to the iconic character's previous swan song, 2008's grandiose war epic, Rambo.

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Source: Sylvester Stallone/Instagram

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