The proposed Rambo: New Blood TV series for Fox will not include the actor who originated the role and has played it in every movie in the franchise. Despite being listed as an executive producer in the credits for the projects by the entities involved, Stallone and his reps told Deadline that will not be the case. “Contrary to reports, Sylvester Stallone has opted not to participate in the planned Rambo television series in any way at all,” a spokesperson for Stallone said. Added Stallone, “I wish the others well with the project.”
The production companies behind the Rambo TV series, Entertainment One and Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films, had been looking to get Stallone on board. In 2013, when the project was first announced, the two companies said that they were in negotiations with the actor “to be involved with the project on a creative level as well as potentially reprise his iconic role as the original Rambo.”
When Rambo: New Blood — about Rambo’s relationship with his son — was recently bought by Fox for development, it was done so with Stallone presumably executive producing and entertaining an option to play the famous renegade soldier. However, the extent of Stallone’s involvement in the project always had been a subject of debate, depending who you talk to, with sources close to the actor indicating that he might not have had a formal deal for the series. One is clear — he does not plan to be part of it in any capacity. Without Stallone, the project is unlikely to go forward at Fox.
Stallone is an executive producer alongside Lerner on another Fox series project based on an action feature franchise, The Expendables. An Expendables event series, now in development, has NCIS: LA‘s Shane Brennan serving as showrunner.
Written by feature writer Jeb Stuart (Die Hard, The Fugitive), Rambo: New Blood pays homage to the films, exploring the complex relationship between John Rambo and his son, J.R., an ex-Navy SEAL. J.R. is a new character that has been added as a way into the series.
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 on hold.
Stallone is coming off the strong debut of the latest installment in another signature feature franchise. The Rocky offshoot Creed opened to an impressive $42.6 million in the domestic boxoffice and overwhelmingly positive reviews, with Stallone tipped as a possible Oscar contender for reprising his signature role as retired prizefighter Rocky Balboa.