Eighteen months ago, in the run up to The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone told Empire that John Rambo's adventures were over. "It's pretty well done; I'm about 99% sure there won't be any more," he said. "I'm very happy with the last Burmese episode, and another film might be misinterpreted as an unnecessary and mercenary gesture. I don't want that to happen."
And yet, and yet... Conan the Barbarian writer Sean Hood has just submitted his screenplay for Rambo: Last Stand to Millennium. FEARnet slipped a casual mention into an interview with Hood about Conan (there's also a line about a potential film based on another Robert E Howard character: that'd be Kull, folks!), and the writer was happy to expand on that info a little, after a request from Empire for clarifiication.
Firstly, this isn't just preemptive wishful thinking on the part of Millennium: Stallone was involved in getting the ball rolling. "I met with Mr Stallone twice last year," Sean tells us. "He gave me a book, an older screenplay, and about twenty pages he'd written himself to use as inspiration for the last chapter of the Rambo saga."
What's the book? Sean won't say, but does reveal that this Rambo 5 isn't based on any of the ideas that have been bubbling under in the recent past. It isn't the south-of-the-border action-fest that would have seen Rambo rescuing a young girl from a deadly drugs cartel. Nor is it the the sci-fi tinged Savage Hunt (which always seemed like a bizarre idea anyway). And it isn't the prequel that Stallone was pondering last summer. "It's more in line with the small-town thriller of First Blood," says Sean.
Rambo: Last Stand is a long way from a done deal or a green light though. One screenplay doth not a movie make, and Sean is careful to stress that "As of now, I don't know whether Mr Stallone will actually do it. Right now, as I understand it, he has his hands full with Bullet to the Head and Expendables 2. But Millennium films did hire me to complete the screenplay and realise his story, and my hope is that he'll eventually be inspired to do one more Rambo film, with the tone of Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven."
What say you, readers? Did John come full circle when he came home at the end of Rambo, or is there room for one more mission? Give us your thoughts in the comments below, and watch this space for further updates.