Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo franchise contains some of the most beloved action thrillers ever filmed. First Blood remains the highest point, but the sheer 80s excess of Part II still gives it an almost mythical quality to people of a certain age. Big John teaming up with the Taliban in Rambo III seems quaintly naive with the benefit of hindsight, and 2008’s fourth entry features the glorious moment that John Rambo completely lets go and wages a one-man war on the Burmese militia.
Over the years there have also been some near misses, most of them for the best.
Rambo 2 was, at one point, to feature John Travolta as a comedy sidekick. An idea was pitched for Rambo 5 in which the character hunts genetically engineered super-soldiers. Another Rambo 5 pitch involved John vs Aliens. An early version of Rambo 4 was John Rambo retired in the Deep South and being forced to confront meth runners.
Sound familiar? It should, because that eventually saw the light of day, re-tooled, as Homefront, starring Jason Statham.
One idea that was nearly a movie, and then was the central idea for a Rambo TV show that came close to being made, was for Rambo: New Blood. According to MovieWeb (via Digital Spy) the show would have followed the son of John Rambo as the main character.
The source? None other than original First Blood author David Morrell who was attached as writer for the show for a while. Morrell explained that it would’ve featured Stallone in his early ’70s, as he is now. John’s child would return from fighting in the Gulf and take up the mantle. Morrell admits he just couldn’t get it to work:
“Never mind that the whole point is that Rambo has been so traumatized by war that he couldn’t bring himself to have a meaningful relationship, let alone have a child.
But we’ll just forget about that.
Basically John’s son was going to be someone in civilian life with military skills who did… what? Right wrongs? Was he going to be a version of The Equaliser?
I couldn’t figure it out, so to my knowledge that never went anywhere.”
However, John has had a son before, in the 80s cartoon Rambo: The Force of Freedom. Jesus, just the name of that cartoon makes me want to go out and get a pet eagle!