Sylvester Stallone is departing The Expendables, the action movie franchise he helped create, according to a representative for Stallone.
Stallone stars as Barney Ross, team leader to a group of mercenaries, in the testosterone-fueled franchise that has featured such heavy-hitters as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Jet Li, and more muscled stars. Stallone directed the first film in the series, co-writing the screenplay with creator Dave Callaham, and has co-written every script since.
Plans for a fourth film in the blockbuster series have been underway since The Expendables 3 was released in 2014, earning more than $214 million worldwide. But Stallone and Avi Lerner, Nu Image and Millennium Films chief, have been unable to agree on certain elements for the fourth film, including a director, according to Deadline, which first reported Stallone’s exit.
Lerner did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment, but told Deadline, “We’ve got disagreements with Sly, but we’ve had them for over a year and a half. Right now, each one has an opinion. We agreed on 95 percent of things, but there are certain things in production we don’t agree on. I don’t think it’s over, but write whatever you want. In my opinion, it’s not dead.”
Stallone previously teased The Expendables 4 during a Facebook Live chat back in December. “We’re going to do our best, but I think we’ve got some really great attitude going,” the actor said. “We’ve got great ideas. I think everyone is expecting something different, and we’re going to give it to them.”