In an interview with the Italian website Best Movie, actor and filmmaker Sylvester Stallone has reportedly let slip a couple of ideas for directions the next Expendables movie could go--and those ideas take the franchise out of the arthritic hands of the '80s action heroes who have made it a household name and pass it along to a new generation of mercenaries that more closely reflects action movies of the last decade and a half or so.
"I got two great ideas," Stallone said in the interview. "I believe the Expendables ... they're broken up, they're shot, they've had it, they're done. We have to hire new 'us,' we have to find new Expendables, but there are none! They do not make people like us anymore, they are all like robots. I know I can go out and hire five young guys, but they're the new army, they got drones and technology, but they're not like us. Remember in Tropic Thunder? Just like Those Guys! Or, there's another combination, and it Involves girlfriends. Say I got divorced, say I am married to Sigourney Weaver, then she gets half the Expendables, she gets what I call the Expendabelles. I know I need help and I have to go to her. And I'd like to have like Michelle Rodriguez, Gina Carano. It'll be something like that, very different. The main thing is it can not be about us! We're done. We need to bring in new blood. And you bring in geeks and girls and women, people who are different."
While the first one certainly rings true--that's what made The Expendables such a success to begin with, right? The fact that the action star model of the '80s has largely given way to action movies headlined by the same actors who play in Good Will Hunting or Love Actually led to a sense that those larger-than-life, he-man style good guys could fill a niche that other movies just weren't at the time.
The second, meanwhile, is intriguing because it appears to be Stallone's attempt to put his own stamp on the all-female, Expendables-like film that Lionsgate (who distribute the Expendables movies) already has in progress with Gina Carano.
Chuck Norris, who starred in The Expendables 2, has already said he won't come back for the third installment, and it's entirely possible that Stallone and the studio believe they can replace some or most of the big-name cast (who likely come with schedule commitments and a steep price tag) with other actors in each installment, extending the life of the franchise and allowing it to evolve with the changing tastes and nostalgia of the audience. Stallone, who wrote and directed the first Expendables, is likely the only character in the film who's a virtual lock to appear in all of the installments.
Stallone can next be seen in the comic book adaptation Bullet to the Head, due in theaters in February of 2013.