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Monday, October 2, 2023

Expend4bles Producers Want You to Know It’s Not a Superhero Movie, ‘We’re Not Marvel’


  • Expend4bles is not a superhero movie, but rather an old-fashioned action film without cape-wearing heroes flying through the air.
  • Jason Statham’s character, Lee Christmas, will be the primary focus and makes up 80% of the movie. Sylvester Stallone plays a lesser part in the fourth installment.
  • Unlike the previous film, Expend4bles returns to its R-rated roots and focuses on the story, with producers guiding the project to ensure important elements are included. The franchise is facing challenges with this installment, including the absence of key characters and a potentially weak opening weekend.

Expend4bles isn’t a superhero movie. Producers of the fourth film in The Expendables franchise, Kevin King Templeton and Les Weldon, want the fans to understand that fact before they see the upcoming sequel. Templeton and Weldon sat down for an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, and Templeton addressed the issue. He tells SR:

“The movies are — we’re not superheroes. We’re not Marvel; no one throws a cape on and flies through the air. It’s old-fashioned action, and that was the main thing, when we were developing, everyone agreed that we needed to stick to. That’s what started it. That’s the bread and butter of this franchise. That’s the lifeblood of it, so we knew what we were getting into. It wasn’t a question of, ‘We have to stay true to it.’ We always had that philosophy for this. It never changed, and I don’t think it will.”

Templeton also confirmed that Jason Statham was “very involved” in the development of Expend4bles. Sylvester Stallone went on record back in November of 2022 and revealed that Statham’s character Lee Christmas makes up about 80% of the movie, which means he will be the primary focus went it comes to The Expendables’ team in the new sequel.

Related: EXPEND4BLES: Where You’ve Seen the Cast Before

Expend4bles is NOT a Superhero Film

Jason Statham and Silvester Stallone
Lionsgate Films

Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas and Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross have served as the face of The Expendables since the first film hit theaters back in 2010. Those characters share a true, larger-than-life bromance that is at the heart of the franchise, but Stallone made it clear that he plays a much lesser part in the fourth installment than he did in the previous films. Stallone told The Hollywood Reporter when he was asked about the progress of Expend4bles:

I heard it turned out pretty good. Jason Statham is 80 percent of it. He’s happy with it.

On the plus side, producers Kevin King Templeton and Les Weldon focused on the story for Expend4bles rather than being bogged down by things that weren’t within their control. And this time around, unlike The Expendables 3, which was rated PG-13, the fourth installment returns to its R-rated roots. Weldon said in the same interview with Screen Rant:

“As producers, though, we’re here to help guide the whole project and make sure certain things were done, like the action… the R rating. ‘What is the story here? Who is up front and center?’ There are things that we need to help facilitate. Even if we’re not physically writing the script itself, we have to have that input and figure out, ‘What is important for this franchise and for this franchise to move forward?’ There are sometimes a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and you need a couple of guys like us to go, ‘Well, let’s steer this way.’”

Expend4bles is forecast to possibly set the record for the franchise’s worst opening weekend. The fourth installment will not only see Stallone’s Barney Ross take a back seat to some of the other characters, but this is the first Expendables film he isn’t credited as having a role as a writer. Plus, Terry Crews’ Hale Caesar won’t be returning, which will leave the team another man short — in terms of the original, core roster. Expend4bles opens in theaters on Friday, September 22.

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