Sylvester Stallone Exits 'The Expendables' Franchise

An Expendables 4 was scheduled to close out the series next year, but it might have to move forward without its star, Sylvester Stallone. The actor, who directed the first film in the series, has left the franchise over creative differences. Stallone may have been offered more than $20 million to play Barney Ross again – his upfront biggest paycheck to date – but disagreements with Nu Image/Millennium chief Avi Lerner led to his departure.

Below, learn more about why Stallone is finished with the series.

According to Deadline, Stallone and Lerner didn't even come to terms on what VFX house to use for Expendables 4. They also couldn't agree on a script or director either. Stallone, coming off a Golden Globe win, an Oscar nom, and his powerful performance in Creed, wasn't interested in making another disappointing sequel.

Terry Crews said it after Creed, Stallone has a lot of options, including another directorial effort, Tough as They Come. He doesn't have to make a movie he doesn' want to. Crews, by the way, said he wouldn't return to the franchise without Stallone, so this series may have just lost two of its most charismatic actors.

This isn't the first time Lerner and Stallone disagreed about the Expendables franchise, but it might be the last. According to Deadline, they'd usually hash out disagreements over cigars, which Lerner, in a statement to the outlet, believes they could do:

We've got disagreements with Sly, but we've had them for over a year and a half. Right now, each one has an opinion. We agreed on 95% of things, but there are certain things in production we don't agree on. I don't think it's over, but write whatever you want. In my opinion, it's not dead

Where Stallone's departure leaves the rest of the Expendables cast is unclear. There's no word if Millenium will attempt to carry on without Stallone, which sounds a little tricky to do without the face of the franchise, the one who made it all happen in the first place.

Stallone has plenty of projects to keep him busy. Apparently, one movie he's considering would team him up with Jackie Chan, which sounds far more appetizing than another Expendables sequel, which Stallone wanted to make an R-rated, "fish out of water" story:

I have actually entertained the idea of putting the group into such an unnatural environment that it, in an of itself, creates extra suspense and tension: the "fish out of water" scenario. That environment might not be time travel, but nearly just as jarring.