With The Expendables 4 officially greenlit, and with filming set to begin in fall 2021, many players from the initial trilogy could make a return. The gimmick of The Expendables from the beginning was a packed ensemble of action heroes, with the series as a loving throwback to ’80s and ’90s action movies. This meant that each new chapter of The Expendables series brought new members to the roster along with the returning core team.
For The Expendables 4, Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas is said to be the central character, while Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture are also set to return. The newbies for the fourth installment of the series include Megan Fox, 50 Cent, and Thai action movie legend Tony Jaa. Whether the incoming players are joining the team, will appear as antagonists, or anything in between isn’t known, but in any case, the titular “Expendables” are on their way back to cinema screens.
With the ensemble gimmick being central to the franchise from the start, it’s a good bet that some of the series’ earlier cast will also return, though Terry Crews has stated he won’t be back as Hale Caesar, and Chuck Norris also made clear that his appearance as Booker in The Expendables 2 was a one-and-done. The Expendables 4, reportedly bearing the working title of A Christmas Story, could even take the form of the leadership passing from Stallone to Statham, while other cast members of the series may drop in for the fun of Barney Ross’ possible last mission. Here are the characters from The Expendables series who could return in The Expendables 4.
Jet Li was part of the original Expendables crew as the Chinese mercenary and martial arts expert Yin Yang. Li was in The Expendables movies progressively less as the series went on, which was probably partially related to health problems Li’s dealt with in recent years stemming from hyperthyroidism, though his condition has reportedly subsided. Li’s primarily focused on philanthropic work these days and only occasionally makes film appearances, such as 2020’s Mulan, but the return of Yin Yang could still happen in The Expendables 4.
An associate and former mercenary in The Expendables, Mickey Rourke hasn’t returned to the series since first playing Tool in the original. Though Tool was planned to return in The Expendables 2, Rourke ultimately backed out of the project. While Tool’s been AWOL from The Expendables since the first one, Rourke could still pop into The Expendables 4 as Tool again.
First appearing in The Expendables as the shadowy CIA string-puller Mr. Church, Bruce Willis took a more active role in The Expendables 2 from his initial cameo, joining the Expendables in the movie’s climactic airport battle. Willis was meant to return for The Expendables 3, but ultimately sat the third installment out, with Harrison Ford’s Max Drummer taking Church’s place in the story. Stallone and Willis have reportedly mended the fence that led to the latter dropping out the third Expendables, so Mr. Church appearing in The Expendables 4 could be on the cards.
The Governator’s been an increasingly key player in The Expendables franchise as Barney Ross’ friendly rival Trench Mauser, similar to his and Stallone’s own one-time rivalry, filming a cameo in The Expendables in 2009 while he was still Governor of California. After leaving office, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned as Trench in a larger role in The Expendables 2, before becoming a significant supporting character in The Expendables 3. Considering how much Trench’s role in the series has grown with each installment, and Schwarzenegger and Stallone working together fairly frequently now, it would hardly be surprising for Arnold to be back in The Expendables 4.
An associate of the Expendables who assists the team during their mission in The Expendables 2, Yu Nan’s Maggie Chan was the computer-savvy brains of the team in the mission of the second film. Outside of The Expendables 2, Yu Nan is best-known in the West for the 2015 Chinese action movie, Wolf Warrior, led and directed by Wu Jing and co-starring The Expendables 2 heavy Scott Adkins. Though not an official Expendable, Maggie was a valuable ally to the team in The Expendables 2, so Barney could possibly call her up for more help in The Expendables 4.
Though the Muscle from Brussels turned down the first installment of the series, Jean-Claude Van Damme boarded The Expendables 2 as possibly the villain with the most on-the-nose name in action movie history, Jean Vilain. While Vilain’s defeat and death by decapitation rules him out for The Expendables 4, Van Damme had previously proposed returning as the antagonist’s identical twin brother, Claude Vilain. That could set up quite a legacy conflict in The Expendables 4, akin to Simon Gruber’s Die Hard with a Vengeance vendetta with John McClane over Hans’ death in the original. With Van Damme having put the idea out there, The Expendables 4‘s villain being another Vilain could be quite a pay-off.
The original consideration for the role of Hale Caesar in the first Expendables, Wesley Snipes finally joined the franchise in The Expendables 3 as Doc Death. While Snipes’ stoic Blade persona might’ve seemed like the most expected direction the character would take in a franchise like The Expendables, Doc Death was a true ode to Simon Phoenix of Stallone and Snipes’ 1993 action-comedy Demolition Man. With Doc Death now having rejoined the Expendables by the third film, Snipes returning for The Expendables 4 is another possibility on the table.
Star of the ’90s sitcom Frasier and forever remembered for bringing Sideshow Bob to life on The Simpsons, Kelsey Grammer joined The Expendables 3 as ex-mercenary Bonaparte, who helps Barney Ross assemble the new, younger team of the film. Bonaparte’s role was more in the vein of Church’s in the first film as an outside associate of the Expendables, but with Tony Jaa, 50 Cent, and Megan Fox possibly joining The Expendables 4 as new members of the titular mercenary unit, the movie could feature Barney calling in a favor from Grammer’s Bonaparte that brings the new recruits aboard.
Once renown as one of the most dominant MMA fighters in the industry, Ronda Rousey has since made the transition to pro-wrestling, but she’s also jumped into a few action movies along the way, including Furious 7 and Mile 22. Rousey’s biggest action movie role date was as the new Expendable Luna in The Expendables 3. By the end of the film, Luna and the other new recruits were officially inducted into the Expendables, so Rousey could possibly return as Luna in The Expendables 4.
When it came to assembling a new team in The Expendables 3, the energetic Galgo, played by Antonio Banderas, was by far the most eager to sign up, even as Bonaparte dismisses his petitioning to become an Expendable. The former contemporary Zorro was the arguable show-stealer of The Expendables 3, Galgo proclaiming “This is the happiest moment of my life!” in the climactic battle in the greatest show of zeal any Expendable has ever displayed. Now officially a member of the team by the end of the film, Banderas’ Galgo could also return for The Expendables 4 — it’s certainly hard to imagine anyone could talk Galgo into sitting on the bench.
Portraying the team’s CIA contact Max Drummer in The Expendables 3, Harrison Ford’s unique brand of rugged heroism was first seen in his portrayal of Han Solo in the Star Wars trilogy, and set in stone as the fearless archaeologist Indiana Jones in the eponymous adventure franchise. Ford is currently returning to that very role in the in-production Indiana Jones 5. Production on the film had to make some adjustments when Ford sustained an injury early on, and at his age, stunts are a far riskier prospect than before. Still, the tough guy that he is, Ford could bring the gruff Max Drummer back for one more ride in The Expendables 4.
Best known as Emmett Cullen in the Twilight movies, Kellan Lutz joined The Expendables 3 as one of the new recruits brought aboard by Bonaparte, John Smilee. Lutz has done his share of action movies in his career, including the ancient Greek adventures Immortals and The Legend of Hercules. With John a new Expendables inductee, The Expendables 4 could be on his bingo card too.
Boarding the team with the rest of the freshman class of The Expendables 3, Glen Powell portrayed the new Expendable, Thorn. Powell will also be seen in another ode to ’80s action in the role of Hangman in Tom Gun: Maverick, itself an assuredly stunt and action-packed blockbuster with the Expendables-worthy Tom Cruise. As a newly knighted Expendable by the conclusion of The Expendables 3, Powell’s Thorn could jump back into action in The Expendables 4 with his fellow mercenaries.
NEXT: Everything We Know About The Expendables 4
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