Sylvester Stallone has said he was quitting things before. Back in 1996, he claimed Daylight — the instantly forgotten tunnel thriller — would be his farewell to action movies. It wasn’t. He’s said he was retiring Rocky Balboa before. He came back, multiple times. (Although it sounds like Rocky may be retired for real this time.) Sly usually comes back for more, and even at 75 years old, he could always do another Rambo.
So take this with a quarry of salt: Stallone says that he’s done with the Expendables franchise. He did recently wrap on the fourth one, the first in the all-star action star series since 2014 (the one where Mel Gibson is the baddie, and Harrison Ford is also there). He reunites with longtime costars Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture. It adds Megan Fox, Andy Garcia, 50 Cent, and more. But if there’s an Expendables 5, Stallone won’t be there.
Stallone broke the news on Instagram. “The greatest thing is being able to provide films [and] entertainment [where] maybe there’s a little message in there, because what I try to convey in my successful films is the human touch,” he said. “Not so much the action; the action is self-evident. But it’s just relating to the audience in a way that they can identify with whatever the mission is, with the characters at hand.”
He added that he’s “getting ready to accept the next challenge,” whatever that may mean.
Again, Stallone has retired characters before only to resurrect them anyway. And again, he’s 75, but that doesn’t appear to be slowing him down. But if it’s true and Expendables 4 is the last time we see Sly’s Barney Ross, the plus side is that Jason Statham — one of the only actors to be in all four movies — may lead his first franchise since the Transporters.