After lengthy negotiations, Fox has closed a development deal for Rambo: New Blood, a TV series based on the hit feature franchise, with Sylvester Stallone executive producing. I hear conflicting information whether Stallone has a deal in place to act in the project, about Rambo and his son, though he certainly has the option to do so. Some sources indicate that the actor would reprise his role as the famous renegade soldier, which he has played in all four Rambo movies to date, while others say that he won’t appear in the series.
Written by feature writer Jeb Stuart (Die Hard, The Fugitive), the Rambo TV series, from Entertainment One and Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films, pays homage to the films, exploring the complex relationship between Rambo and his son, J.R., an ex-Navy SEAL. J.R. is a new character not been featured in the movies that has been added as a way into the series. As the logline suggests, Rambo would be a key character on the show unlike other TV series followups, like the proposed Beverly Hills Cop series for CBS, which centered on the son of Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley, with Murphy only slated to make occasional appearances.
Nu Image/Millenium Films, which has the rights to Rambo, and eOne originally teamed to develop a Rambo TV series in 2013 with the goal to shop it to broadcasters in the U.S. and internationally.
Based on the David Morrell novel First Blood, the Rambo films center on a troubled Vietnam War veteran and former Green Beret (Stallone) who is skilled in many aspects of survival, weaponry, hand-to-hand combat and guerrilla warfare. The franchise consists of the films First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III and Rambo. Lerner and Stallone worked together on the 2008 Rambo feature and had planned a fifth installment, Rambo: Last Blood, which had been put on hold. The duo’s other action feature collaboration, the Expendables franchise, also is getting a TV adaptation at Fox with them executive producing. The Expendables event series, now in development, has NCIS: LA‘s Shane Brennan serving as showrunner.
The Rambo TV series will be produced by eOne in partnership with Millenium Films, with Stuart, Stallone and Lerner executive producing and eOne handling worldwide rights in all media. At eOne, the project is being overseen by EVP Carrie Stein.
On TV, Rambo previously got animated treatment with the 1986 syndicated series Rambo: The Force of Freedom.
Stallone is coming off the strong debut of the latest installment in another signature feature franchise, Rocky. Offshoot Creed opened to impressive $42.6 million in the domestic boxoffice and overwhelmingly positive reviews, with Stallone tipped as a possible Oscar contender for reprising his role as the retired professional boxer. He is repped by WME.
Stuart recently wrote two miniseries projects for History, The Liberators and Boys of 67. He is repped by UTA, Kaplan Perrone and attorney John Meigs.
Rambo: New Blood joins a slew of other TV series based on features that are in the works at the broadcast networks. NBC gave a series order to Taken and also is developing new takes on Cruel Intentions, In The Line Of Fire and All of Me. Fox also has a Lethal Weapon, Think Like A Man and Behind Enemy Lines series in the works, ABC is rebooting My Big Friend’s Wedding, CBS is developing Training Day, and the CW has The Notebook.