John Rambo is back—again.
After four on-screen appearances by the one-man wrecking machine played by a musclebound Sylvester Stallone, Rambo is returning to theaters. The film series is getting a reboot from Nu Image/Millennium Films under the title of Rambo: New Blood, which likely will update the Vietnam War background of the character from the previous sequels, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The main difference? The red bandana will have to find a new wearer.
Stallone will not star as the titular character, who he played in Rambo: First Blood (1982), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988), and the first “reboot,” Rambo (2008). Stallone fully embodied the ultra-badass Rambo in each of the four films, taking on bad guys single-handedly and doing macho stuff like sealing a shrapnel wound with his bare hands by burning it shut.
That raises the question: Can it really be a Rambo film without Stallone?
The producers are looking at the new Rambo “as a character akin to James Bond” who can step into any situation and dominate, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The project is in the early stages, though Ariel Vromen (Criminal, The Ice Man) is set to direct, so it’s possible that Stallone still could appear in the film as an older Rambo or another character. But given what we now know about the PTSD that affects veterans, and the fact that the louder-bigger-better ’80s have given way to the action-plus-humor superhero flicks of the new millennium, it’s worth wondering if Rambo even translates to 2018.
But hey. Stallone has experience in extending the life of his most famous characters—he brought his Rocky series into the modern era with Creed, by centering a new story on a character related to the original films (Michael B. Jordan’s main character, in that case). That film was a smash success, earning over $170 million at the box-office and garnering strong reviews and accolades for both Jordan and Stallone, who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
As for the aspiring young actors who want to play him? Better hit the gym.
If you want to bulk up like Rambo to get ripped like Stallone—or former cover star Michael B. Jordan—Men’s Fitness has you covered too. Check out our related stories and emulate the Hollywood legend: