With his upcoming exit from The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone is free of all classic franchise ties – which might be a very good thing. More than maybe any other movie star, Stallone recognized the value of building recurring roles for himself. After his follow-ups to Rocky all underperformed, he set his career back on track with Rocky II. In the years that followed he returned to the Rambo franchise periodically, and in 2010 launched a new series with The Expendables movies. There were some failed attempts at building IP too, including Cobra and Judge Dredd.
Stallone’s career went through a fallow period in the mid-1990s that was only broken when he returned with 2006’s Rocky Balboa. In the later years of his career, Stallone’s three big franchises not only provided him with comfortable box-office hits but also allowed him to front other projects like Grudge Match. With 2019’s Rambo: Last Blood, he provided the titular character with a melancholy finale while his ongoing feud with the producers behind the Rocky/Creed series makes him increasingly unlikely to return to that franchise either.
Stallone’s Expendables Exit Frees Him Of His Franchise Ties
The Expendables 4 will finally arrive in 2023 but will bring some sweeping changes to the action series. Instead of writing or directing like with past entries, Stallone and his character Barney will play a smaller role while Jason Statham’s Christmas will take over as group leader. While the sequel may leave the door open for a future return, Stallone appears to be severing ties to the series too. That means that – outside of a returning cameo in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3 as Stakar Ogord – the star has no more franchise commitments in the near future.
Since the 2000s, much of the actor’s work has involved sequels, but he’s shown with the likes of Tulsa King or Samaritan he’s more than capable of delivering great work outside his established IPs. Stallone has spoken in the past of how he’s been typecast in the action genre, but now that he’s stepping back from more physically demanding parts, he has a chance to let his inner-character actor out. He’s explored pretty much every facet of Ross, Rocky and Rambo in their respective franchises, and it would be great to see him stretch out to other roles.
Every Upcoming Stallone Project
Moving on from Expendables, Stallone is working harder than ever. He will return for Tulsa King’s second season and has two movies in development. The first is Hunter, his long-brewing adaptation of the horror-action novel where the title character hunts down a bio-engineered monster. He’s also set to star in Little America, an action thriller set in a dystopian future where Stallone’s character is sent to rescue a billionaire’s kidnapped daughter from “Little America,” a walled-off city in Hong Kong. He even has a reality show dubbed The Family Stallone on the way, starring himself, his wife Jennifer and daughters Sophia, Sistine and Scarlet.