Here’s How A ‘Rambo’ Reboot Could Work Without Sylvester Stallone

There have been many twists and turns for Rambo since he returned to theaters in January 2008. The reboot for Rambo followed Rocky Balboa as a return to form for Sylvester Stallone and there were rumored plans for another Rambo film set on some different turf than we’ve seen in the other films and even a possible TV show with Rambo and son taking out America’s enemies together.

All of that is in the garbage now it is seems according to a new exclusive over at The Hollywood Reporter and Stallone will not be returning as Rambo. But that doesn’t mean Rambo isn’t going to make a comeback without him. A new reboot is reportedly in the works that will feature a younger Rambo:

Titled Rambo: New Blood, the new reboot would not see Stallone return as the action hero, like he did in Millennium’s 2008 outting, but would see a younger actor inhabit the role. The company is looking at Rambo as a character akin to James Bond.

Rambo was the lead character in a 1972 novel by David Morrell titled First Blood. Hollywood adapted the book into the hit 1982 movie that starred Stallone in a story that despite its action trappings looked at issues facing disaffected Vietnam War vets. (It also veered from the book by having its protagonist live at the end of the story.)

No plot details were given for the new film as the project is still in early development.

McLaren has been working steadily in the action sphere since writing How It Ends, a post-apocalyptic survival tale which was on the 2010 Black List.

The idea that a certain character is able to exist like James Bond is not a new topic of discussion. Mad Max faced similar discussions when Fury Road was released and Mel Gibson was replaced by Tom Hardy. It’s possible to replace any actor to keep a character alive, but will it always work? Some people still don’t see anybody by Sean Connery as James Bond and we’re always faced with the “who was the best Bond” types of lists. Sometimes it even matters more than the actual story within the film, leading to some horrible movies throughout the years.

But that’s James Bond. How do you remove an actor that is so deeply connected to his or her character? There was talk of bringing Chris Pratt in to play Indiana Jones and replace Harrison Ford, but that was nixed. And it would be hard to see anybody by Harrison Ford play the role. The same can be said about Stallone and Rambo, perhaps even more so given how synonomous the actor is with the character at this point.

While Stallone didn’t originate the character, First Blood getting its start as a novel by David Morrell, he did become the media face of Rambo and transfered the character far away from its literary counterpart. The headband, the bow and arrow, the machine gun, the a look are all Stallone and they’ve all entered pop culture at that same level as James Bond or Indiana Jones. You could easily tear away Lincoln Hawk (Hawks) or Cobra from Stallone, but he IS Rambo the same way he IS Rocky Balboa.

There are no rules saying you can’t do this obviously, but it seems to be a recipe for disaster. Look at the results from this past summer’s Ghostbusters reboot — away from the controversy surrounding the all woman cast. Some of the complaints about the film are that it is a reboot, but it’s not a reboot and the story is muddled with cameos from the original cast in other roles. It seemed like a slam dunk that they bounced off the rim. That’s the gamble involved with this time of remake and New Blood is missing the safety net that is Stallone. There is one possible route for success, though.

If the new story returns to the tone set by Morrell’s original novel, it gives the film a chance to address some sensitive issues regarding modern day veterans and PTSD. While the times have changed quite a bit from the Vietnam War, we could see a take on a modern veteran dealing with a return from combat and how the nation reacts to him or her in the current climate. Roles have changed, the treatment of soldiers is far different, but there’s an interesting story to be told in there. Will this happen? Doubtful. It is far easier to create a blind action romp with the Rambo name attached as opposed to stripping back the iconic portions of the character and returning to the roots away from Stallone.

If they do the obvious with this reboot, you can expect it to forced to live in the shadow of the Stallone films — the good and the bad.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)