The Expendables franchise has become a staple of the modern action genre, but each of the film's original three movies has shared a common complaint (which is set to be rectified in Expend4bles). All three films were moderate box office successes, even if their critical receptions left something to be desired. The hype around Expend4bles is building in anticipation of its September 2023 release, especially given the franchise's return to an R rating after the ill-receive PG-13 of The Expendables 3. The calling card of the franchise has always been its over-stuffed cast, and Expend4bles is no exception.

Like each of the preceding films, the Expend4bles cast will feature an updated team led by franchise staples Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren. While the addition of stars like 50 Cent, Andy Garcia and Iko Uwais have genre fans excited, they are not the most noteworthy newcomers. The cast list for Expend4bles revealed a significant break in a casting trend from the first three movies, and will rectify one of the most common criticisms the franchise has faced.

The first three Expendables movies featured an Expendables team comprised mainly, if not entirely, of male action stars. While there are female characters and allies in the first two films, The Expendables 3 featured the first true female member of The Expendables--Rondy Rousey as Luna (although many count Yu Nan's character Maggie who helped the team in The Expendables 2). Expend4bles is set to introduce two new female members in Megan Fox and Levy Tran, both of whom are prominently featured in the film's official trailer.

The Expendables Needs To Cast Female Action Icons (It's Ridiculous Now)

Fox definitely has the action chops to fit in Expend4bles, having starred as Mikaela Banes in the Transformers franchise, April O'Neil in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise and as Lilah in Jonah Hex. Tran also has some experience in action, as she had a prominent role in The First Purge and, more recently, had a recurring role in the MacGyver TV reboot. In addition to Fox and Tran, Sheila Shah will join the cast after previously appearing alongside Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood.

Why The Expendabelles Spinoff Was Canceled

Angelina Jolie pointing a gun in Salt

Well before the production of Expend4bles, Sylvester Stallone ideated an all-female spinoff of the Expendables dubbed "The Expendabelles", which would have theoretically assembled a similar team of female action heroes. While its development began in 2012, its prospects took a nosedive in 2014 following the release of a disastrous logline from the film's producers Millennium Films. The original concept pitched was that the all-female team would pose as sex workers to infiltrate the island of the film's villain. Understandably this concept was mocked, and despite Millennium Films' attempts to claim that was not the real logline, the spinoff was all but dead.

Millennium Films exec Jeffrey Greenstein admitted to The Hollywood Reporter in 2022 that the film had officially been scrapped. Greenstein stated " problem with that project was always trying to find a way to justify why we'd have a woman team. Instead of trying to explain that, why not just have women on the regular team and [they're] badass?" The cast list for Expend4bles is a step in the right direction, but the franchise is still missing a major opportunity--casting noteworthy female action icons. Action stars like Milla Jovovich, Michelle Yeoh, Ming-Na Wen, Lucy Liu, Linda Hamilton, Michelle Rodriguez and Angelina Jolie would get just as big a pop in the theaters as Stallone, Statham, Lundgren and Schwarzenegger.