After largely being the right-hand man for the first three films, Sylvester Stallone teases a much bigger role for Jason Statham in The Expendables 4. Statham stars in the action franchise as Lee Christmas, the second-in-command for the titular team of mercenaries behind Stallone’s Barney Ross, and the group’s knife expert. Though receiving a wide range of reviews across their three films, The Expendables franchise has largely proven to be a consistent performer at the box office, having grossed a combined $804 million against its combined $282 million budget.
In a recent career-spanning interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sylvester Stallone looked to the future of The Expendables franchise. While discussing the upcoming sequel, The Expendables 4, the star/co-creator teased that his co-star Jason Statham will have a much bigger role in the next film. See what Stallone shared below:
What Statham’s Bigger Role Means For The Expendables’ Future
This isn’t the first time Stallone has hinted that Statham would be getting a bigger role in The Expendables 4. A set video released by the franchise co-creator this past May saw Stallone indicate he would be leaving the action series following the fourth film, with The Expendables 4 acting as a proper passing of the torch between him and Statham. Though initially seen as more of a joke at the time it was released, Stallone’s latest comments could be proof that he is indeed taking a step back in his involvement with the property, which would make sense given his current ties to the Paramount+ drama Tulsa King from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan, as well as his upcoming return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Stallone has also teased plans for a Demolition Man sequel, though word on that has gone quiet in the past few years, while more recently indicating that his planned Rambo prequel movie is gaining ground behind-the-scenes. Though the latter project wouldn’t require his onscreen presence, per se, his close involvement with the action franchise over the years would likely necessitate his taking a step back from The Expendables series. This would, in turn, open the door for Statham’s Christmas to take on the leadership role left vacant by Barney for any future Expendables movies.
While the franchise may be better known for their action-focused nature, Statham getting a bigger role in The Expendables 4 could actually prove to be an interesting story direction for the series, given Christmas is generally considered to be a hot head who often doesn’t work well with others, outside of Stallone’s Barney. Pushing his character into a leadership position for future sequels could actually lead to some proper character development for Statham’s action hero as he becomes responsible for lives other than his own. Only time will tell if this proves to be the case when The Expendables 4 hits theaters on September 22, 2023.