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Say it ain't so! has just left the action-packed franchise he created as an ode and homage to the action movies of the 80's - a genre that Stallone and his fellow beefcakes defined decades ago.

Despite being the mastermind and star of , Stallone has reportedly left the upcoming fourth Expendables film.

The Expendables, Minus One

'The Expendables' [Credit: Lionsgate]
'The Expendables' [Credit: Lionsgate]

As reported by Deadline, Stallone left production of The Expendables 4 due to creative differences with Nu Image/Millennium chief Avi Lerner, one of the sequel's major producers.

Sources close to both parties told Deadline that there were disagreements on just about everything from the script's direction right down to which CGI house would take care of bringing the necessary visual effects to life.

Sources also said that a major factor in Stallone's decision to walk away from The Expendables was his fear of being tied to yet another underwhelming sequel, especially after his return as Rocky Balboa in the critically acclaimed Rocky spin-off .

'Creed' [Credit: Warner Brothers]
'Creed' [Credit: Warner Brothers]

The Expendables 3 had a drastic change in tone, which some blame for its downfall at the box office despite following two movies that performed well. Among the problems of the third Expendable film were: a watered down PG-13 rating, a new cast of characters who eclipsed the old-school action stars, and an online leak that could have potentially cost the movie millions on its opening week.

Stallone has since apologized for the many missteps of The Expendables 3, admitting that the hated PG-13 rating and a lot more were "horrible miscalculations."

I believe it was a horrible miscalculation on everyone’s part in trying to reach a wider audience, but in doing such, diminish the violence that the audience expects. I’m quite certain it won’t happen again.

'The Expendables 3' [Credit: Lionsgate]
'The Expendables 3' [Credit: Lionsgate]

Despite this discouraging development, Lerner remains optimistic about The Expendables 4 and future collaborations with Stallone. Lerner acknowledged that he and Stallone had major disagreements, but the producer still believes the fourth entry of the action movie throwback will still happen.

Right now, each one has an opinion. We agreed on 95% 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 [The Expendables 4] not dead.

See Also:

A Not-So Expendable Fourth Part

'The Expendables' [Credit: Lionsgate]
'The Expendables' [Credit: Lionsgate]

Prior to the fourth movie, Stallone starred as Barney Ross in all three Expendables movies, wrote the sequels (he co-wrote part one), and directed the first installment. Needless to say, The Expendables was something Stallone took seriously.

But by leaving what is said to be the finale of The Expendables, Stallone not only leaves a 20 million Dollar paycheck, but the chance to redeem the franchise on his own terms.

Following the abysmal performance and reception of The Expendables 3, Stallone was determined to get the franchise back on track, even saying that the potential fourth installment would "absolutely unequivocally" embrace the old-school R-Rating of the movies The Expendables pays its respects to.

'The Expendables 2' [Credit: Lionsgate]
'The Expendables 2' [Credit: Lionsgate]

It's unclear how Barney Ross' absence in the core line-up will be explained since Stallone's character is the leader of the team. It's possible that his position could be handed to a character of equal seniority, such as Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger), but Barney's absence will be a glaring mark that will be felt no matter what excuses the writers conjure up.

That, and Schwarzenegger just said that if Stallone won't be coming back for The Expendables 4, neither will he. As if it weren't any more obvious, the fate of The Expendables franchise is resting on Stallone's involvement or lack thereof.

While negotiations to bring Stallone back to the fold may currently be taking place, the actor is keeping himself busy with another sequel: his follow-up to his movie with Schwarzenegger, .


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