Even though David Morrell was the original author of “First Blood,” star Sylvester Stallone has co-opted the popular character of John Rambo to the point where 2008’s “Rambo,” co-written and directed by Stallone, was near-autobiographical. Retiring the violent soldier hero made sense, as Stallone is now 65 years old. But legally speaking, the onscreen John Rambo doesn’t belong to Morrell or Stallone, but rather Lionsgate, who released the last ‘Rambo’ film to a $113 million worldwide gross. In other words, a new ‘Rambo’ movie will happen with or without Stallone.
Writer Sean Hood (“Conan the Barbarian“) is currently working on the script for a fifth installment, and he tweeted to fans (via Collider) that Sly is still very much involved in the next installment. ” ‘Rambo 5′ on hold as Sly finishes ‘Expendables 2,’ ” he tweets. “He hasn’t decided if R5 will be an ‘Unforgiven‘ or a ‘passing of the torch.’ ” Of course, this timetable doesn’t take into account filming on “The Tomb,” which should get started in the second half of 2012 with Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Best case scenario, Stallone is ready to go on another ‘Rambo’ at the beginning of 2013.
Stallone, who brutalized his now-elderly body for “Rambo” and “The Expendables,” may be having second thoughts about the monumental undertaking of another ‘Rambo’ movie. But at the same time, an “Unforgiven” idea could find him giving the series a natural close, putting the blood-soaked PTSD sufferer out of his lifelong misery with his customary meatheaded poetry. A passing of the torch, however? This could mean Rambo teaming up with his son, or maybe a younger soldier with the same sense of killing, adding the same cross-generational heat Lionsgate is banking on with the casting of Liam Hemsworth and the dubious PG-13 rating for “The Expendables 2.” Or it could mean a straight-up “First Blood” remake with a hot young Channing Tatum-alike stepping in Stallone’s boots. Given that the “Unforgiven” ending allows Stallone to finish this series on his terms, and because some batons don’t need to be passed, we are hoping for that first option if it must indeed happen at all.