'Expendables 3': Is Bruce Willis out and Harrison Ford in?

For 'The Expendables 3,' star Sylvester Stallone tweeted that Harrison Ford has joined the cast. Is Bruce Willis out of 'The Expendables 3'?

Fred Prouser/Reuters
Will 'The Expendables 3' star Harrison Ford?

At 71 years old, Harrison Ford is staying relevant as an actor – by working on a combination of more artistically-satisfying films (see: 42) and commercially-friendly titles (see: Anchorman: The Legend Continues). The fan-favorite actor has even used his longtime public image as a curmudgeon to his advantage, during his two Hall H appearances at the International Comic-Con (see: the Q&A segment of the Ender’s Game panel in 2013).

Ford is all-but-confirmed to reprise one of his iconic roles in 2015 with Star Wars: Episode VII, where he is expected to return as the 70-something year old version of the (not scruffy) hotshot Han Solo. The actor has admitted that he’s still open to picking up his fedora and whip to reprise his other iconic role, should Indiana Jones 5 ever come to fruition – before that happens, though, it appears as though Ford will participate in a different movie (as an age-appropriate action hero): The Expendables 3.

It’s been almost exactly a year since we first heard that Ford was being targeted to appear in Expendables 3. Of course, it’s possible that Sylvester Stallone has been pushing to get the actor to join the Expendables franchise cast for a much longer period of time than that; either way, it appears that Sly has finally won Ford over (or worn him down, whatever works):

Sylvester Stallone @TheSlyStallone

WILLIS OUT... HARRISON FORD IN !!!! GREAT NEWS !!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!

3:31 PM - 6 Aug 2013

Stallone quickly followed that Twitter announcement with another Tweet comment, saying that “GREEDY AND LAZY …… A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE.” To be fair, we can’t be 100% certain that Sly was referring to Willis – though, if we’re being honest, chances are good that he was, considering just how close together he posted the comments. Not to mention, Willis hasn’t exactly been impressive of late, be it with his off-screen behavior or his most recent movie performances (see: A Good Day to Die Hard, G.I. Joe: RetaliationRed 2).

Anyway, moving on…

Ford recently made the following comments about reprising as Dr. Henry Jones (Jr.) in Indiana Jones 5 (via The Telegraph):

“We’ve seen the character develop and grow over a period of time and it’s perfectly appropriate and okay for him to come back again with a great movie around him where he doesn’t necessarily have to kick as much ass. To me, what was interesting about the character was that he prevailed, that he had courage, that he had wit, that he had intelligence, that he was frightened and that he still managed to survive. That I can do.”

Despite the mixed general reception – and harsher reactions from hardcore fans – to Indiana Jones the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Ford’s solid performance as an older, yet also wiser, more experienced, and even appropriately world-weary Indy Jones, is usually acknowledged to be one of the film’s strengths. It’s not so much Ford’s ability to play the character that has been questioned – rather, it’s whether or not George Lucas can devise a more focused story – in terms of narrative, interesting characters and themes – than the one that was realized on the screen with Crystal Skull.

Having said that: now that George Lucas claims he is done with blockbuster filmmaking – in combination with Disney having acquired some of the Indiana Jones rights back when it purchased Lucasfilm – is it possible that Lucas would be more willing to allow someone else to chronicle the continuing adventures of Ford’s globe-trotting archaeologist (similar to how Lucas is simply consulting on the next era in the Star Wars universe)?

Crystal Skull concludes on a note that – while not as satisfying for many a fan of the Indy character (no pun) as the ride-off into the sunset from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – doesn’t necessarily demand another installment, but it does leave the door open for a fifth movie (one without Shia LaBeouf as Indy’s son, no less). Nonetheless, the situation is more complicated now, as Paramount still owns some of the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise – meaning, Lucasfilm cannot plow full speed ahead ahead with new movies (even if the studio wanted to).

Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

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