‘Expendables 4’ Cast Update: Sylvester Stallone Out, Hulk Hogan, Jack Nicholson And More In?

Expendables 4 is finally in the works, and we’ve just been given a lot of casting information about the upcoming flick. While some of the news is unfortunate – the franchise will be losing one of its major stars – some of it, such as new and interesting additions to the cast, will undoubtedly please Expendables fans.

First, a little context. The Expendables franchise is, without a doubt, one of the great powerhouses of the action genre. A huge budget is spent on each movie – close to $100 million, according to box office info site The Numbers – and the films have raked in an average of $263 million each worldwide.

The nearly all-male cast of main characters changes and grows a bit in each Expendables installment, but it is consistently chock-full of A-list action stars that can help the movies achieve the signature Expendables style of packing every scene with high-intensity, explosion-filled, testosterone-fueled tension and ferocity.

Expendables 3 Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Justin Statham, Antonio Banderas, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Ronda Rousey... and many more.

Perhaps the center of the Expendables film casts, though, has always been star Sylvester Stallone. Stallone’s name has always been listed first on Expendables movie posters, and his persona embodies the beefcake essence the Expendables franchise is about. I mean, his two most famous characters are a started-from-the-bottom-now-we-here boxer (Rocky Balboa) and a musclebound, show-no-mercy, survivalist commando (John Rambo). How much more manly can you get?

That’s why it will undoubtedly sadden countless Expendables fans to learn Stallone will most likely not be returning for Expendables 4.

This is, in part, because Stallone wants to branch out into more dramatic roles than The Expendables 4 can offer him, like the one he took on recently in action-drama Creed.

“Stallone wants to slow down and set his focus on dramatic roles. His role in action movies as actor and producer made good in the tilts. He has nothing to prove in the action genre films,” writes Movie News Guide.

Stallone’s ‘Expendables’ franchise costar, Terry Crews, elaborates.

“I’m just thinking he’s got options now, as well he should,” Crews told /Film. “He should think about what his next move is going to be, what he’s going to do. Creed was amazing, amazing. It showed his depth and he’s a lot deeper than people always give him credit for.”

Crews went on to say that Stallone leaving the cast of Expendables 4 is not a sure thing yet, but it will become a lot more likely if he wins an Oscar for his role in Creed at the ceremony on February 28 [UPDATE: He didn’t. Stallone lost out to Mark Rylance for Rylance’s work in Bridge of Spies].

'Expendables 4' Cast Update: Sylvester Stallone Out, Hulk Hogan, Jack Nicholson And More In?

Crews also says that if Stallone is not doing Expendables 4, he might pull out too.

“Whatever Sly says I’m doing. He’s like my dad. He’s literally my dad in the business. If Sly’s like, ‘I’m out of this thing,’ I don’t see myself doing it.”

Losing both Stallone and Crews would be a blow to Expendables 4, but fret not! The replacement star slated to take over Stallone’s role if he leaves is a pretty amazing choice: former WWE superstar Hulk Hogan, reports say.

The same reports also divulge that another retired WWE fighter, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is very interested in Joining the Expendables 4 crew.

“If you’re asking if I would consider being in the ‘Expendables’ franchise – then the answer is yes. But I don’t want to be on their team and be buddies with them. I want to hunt every single one of them down and tell them to ‘send your soul to heaven ’cause your a** is mine,” Johnson wrote in a Q&A on Reddit last year.

'Expendables 4': Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson a possible villain?

If Stallone has anything to say about it, which he very well may if he decides to stay with the Expendables franchise, The Rock will not play the villain; Jack Nicholson will.

“I was going to go [call] up Jack Nicholson and we just got there a little too late, because actually he had said he might be interested in it,” Sylvester told IGN.

“So there are still interesting avenues out there. I want to get, if possible, the most unique actors from the past and just put ’em out there once and for all, you know?”

Stallone went on that Expendables 4 wants to cast the biggest stars possible – and they don’t have to be known for action films.

Incidentally, though, Pierce Brosnan has also been recently confirmed to join the Expendables 4 cast, reports IrishCentral.

Expendables 4 is anticipated to be released in 2017.

Do you want Stallone to stick around for Expendables 4, or are you hoping for Hulk Hogan to step in in his place? And who would you like to see in the film if you had your choice? Remember, you don’t necessarily need to be an action movie specialist to be cast in Expendables 4! Leave your dream cast in the comments below.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]