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Sylvester Stallone’s ensemble action flick The Expendables pulled in just over $100 million in the States and even more internationally for a worldwide total of over $250 million. While Stallone’s name certainly helped, other action mainstays like Jason Statham and Jet Li came into the equation as well.
Given The Expendables’ huge success – theater grosses more than triple its $80 million budget – there was never a doubt that we’d see a sequel. However, questions arose about who’d be returning and who wouldn’t. Well, we now know of an original cast member who won’t be returning.
IGN confirms that Jet Li will sit this one out; at the moment, there’s no reason stated for his departure from the series. It’s also been revealed by Twitch that Donnie Yen, star of Ip Man, might star in a role “tailor-made” for him.
Avi Lerner, a producer for The Expendables 2, offered Yen the part over a recent dinner. However, he has quite a few projects under consideration right now and wants to check out the script before making a final decision, but he needs to make that decision soon. The sequel, which will be helmed by Simon West (The Mechanic), currently aims to hit theaters on August 17, 2012, and will begin filming sometime in October.
Since Yen is an action star on the rise, there isn’t a project more perfect for that career path than this sequel. How do you feel about Li’s departure and the potential casting of Yen? Do you think it’ll work, or is the choice of actors for this film expendable?