Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Planned Sylvester Stallone Sequels That Never Happened

One of the most iconic movie stars and filmmakers in the world is Sylvester Stallone, who has been thrilling millions of fans worldwide as an actor, screenwriter, and director on scores of projects for decades. And while many of Stallone's most beloved roles, including action hero John Rambo and Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa, have appeared in numerous sequels, several movies never got the repeat appearances that the filmmakers initially expected. From underperforming at the box office to financial and creative shakeups behind the scenes, many planned sequels to fan-favorite Stallone films were ultimately shelved for the foreseeable future. However, just like many of his memorable characters, Stallone isn't one to throw in the towel, with several sequel projects refusing to stall out for good.

Here are all the biggest Stallone film projects that did not receive a sequel and, whenever possible, why each of these potential cinematic franchises didn't take off in the way that the studios behind them may have hoped.

Cobra (1986)

Borne from Stallone's extensive rewrite of the "Beverly Hills Cop" script when he was initially attached to star, 1986's "Cobra" has the actor portray a very different kind of Los Angeles Police detective. With Stallone starring as Marion "Cobra" Cobretti, the movie has the reckless cop take on a group known as the New World and their serial killer leader, the Night Slasher (Brian Thompson). Tasked with protecting a key witness (Brigitte Nielsen) against the Night Slasher, Cobra finds himself targeted by the full might of the New World while seeking refuge in a nearby small town.

The Cannon Group, one of the studios behind "Cobra," planned to proceed with a sequel but, in the wake of financial issues that began with a string of box office disappointments and mounting debt, the project was shelved. While Stallone has shared his hopes to reprise his role as Cobretti in a sequel project on multiple occasions, this would ultimately never come to pass. Instead, Stallone announced in 2019 that filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is developing a remake of "Cobra" for television, telling Fandango that the project is "[Rodriguez's] project now."

Tango & Cash (1989)

Stallone's last 1980s movie was the buddy-cop action movie "Tango & Cash," directed by Andrei Konchalovsky and pairing him with co-star Kurt Russell. The movie follows two narcotics detectives in the Los Angeles Police Department who are forced to work together to take on a deadly crime lord (Jack Palance) after he frames them for murder. Despite the wild differences in their personalities, the two detectives prove to be an effective team as they work together to clear their names and save the day.

Stallone has expressed an interest in reprising his role as Raymond Tango in the years since the 1989 film premiered, pitching a sequel idea to Russell. As Stallone told Fandango, Russell is reluctant to revisit his past role as Gabriel Cash alongside his co-star due to their advancing age. With no update on if Stallone has successfully convinced Russell to rejoin him on the big screen, Raymond Tango and Gabriel Cash may have gone through an off-screen retirement.

Cliffhanger (1993)

One of Stallone's biggest commercial successes of the 1990s was the 1993 film "Cliffhanger," which he co-wrote with screenwriter Michael France and was directed by Renny Harlin. Earning over $250 million at the worldwide box office, the movie starred Stallone as expert mountain climber Gabe Walker, who takes on crooks targeting a U.S. Treasury plane that has crashed in the Rocky Mountains. Stallone has since been interested in returning for a "Cliffhanger" sequel for years, reportedly discussing the planned project with Sony in 2008 though nothing further visibly developed from these negotiations.

While the reported sequel plans were shelved, Stallone has continued to publicly voice his hopes to reprise his role as Walker in a follow-up. Deadline reported that a "Cliffhanger" reboot was reportedly moving forward in 2019, with Stallone expressing his support for the project from the apparent sidelines. Whether the planned remake makes it the big screen, with or without any involvement from Stallone himself including in the form of a potential cameo, remains to be seen.

Demolition Man (1993)

Stallone found further success in the '90s in the hard science fiction movie "Demolition Man," where he portrays elite Los Angeles police officer John Spartan. After being framed by the mass-murdering terrorist Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes), both Spartan and Phoenix are cryogenically preserved until 2032, when Phoenix escapes and Spartan is revived to stop his old nemesis. As Spartan acclimates to his brave, new world, he finds that Phoenix is poised to take advantage of societal division for his own fiendish ends.

The 1993 film earned over $150 million at the worldwide box office and spawned an entire line of tie-in merchandising while garnering a middling wave of critical reviews. A sequel was planned for a 1995 release. Screenwriter Daniel Walters revealed on the "Projection Booth" podcast (via MovieWeb) that producer Joel Silver envisioned Meryl Streep as Spartan's adult daughter. This sequel would ultimately be shelved, with Stallone reiterating his personal interest in reprising his role as Spartan 2006 but believing the project to be dead at the time. In 2020, Stallone announced that a "Demolition Man" sequel is currently in development, though details remain under wraps.

Judge Dredd (1995)

The first comic book adaptation Stallone starred in, years before his supporting role in "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2," was 1995's "Judge Dredd" starring as the iconic 2000 A.D. comic character. Taking place in the dystopian Mega-City One in the year 2139, Dredd is one of the most prolific judges in the city, dispensing justice on the scene as judge, jury, and executioner. After he is framed for murder by his genetic clone Rico (Armand Assante), Dredd is exiled, but returns to Mega-City One to clear his name and prevent Rico's deadly plot to plunge the city in chaos.

With such an ambitious production and a $90 million production budget, "Judge Dredd" was perfectly poised to become a major cinematic franchise, with Stallone commenting offhandedly on the possibility during a making-of documentary, but the movie ran into complications over its content and tone. While originally intended to be a PG-13 movie, complete with a Burger King promotional tie-in campaign, director Danny Cannon delivered an ultraviolent film that was edited down to an R rating from its initial NC-17 rating. Lambasted by critics and earning less than $35 million domestically, "Judge Dredd" torpedoed any sequel aspirations that the studio may have had, with its legacy haunting the 2012 reboot "Dredd."

Antz (1988)

Stallone's first voice acting role was in the 1998 animated movie "Antz," with Stallone portraying a soldier ant named Corporal Weaver who switches places with a worker ant named Z (Woody Allen). This swap occurs as the ant colony faces an onslaught of encroaching termites while the leader of the soldier ants, General Mandible (Gene Hackman), plots to overthrow the colony's queen ant (Sharon Stone). Z and Weaver must learn how to work together and expose Mandible's plot, saving the entire colony from the planned coup.

Following its successful wide opening in October 1998, DreamWorks Pictures began development on an "Antz" sequel later that month, with plans for the project to be direct-to-video. However, the following March, DreamWorks shut down its animated television division and restructured its direct-to-video division as it rethought its corporate strategy. Among the projects that were shelved permanently by the corporate shakeup was the "Antz" sequel, with no word on a follow-up since.

Rocky Balboa (2006)

Though the "Rocky" franchise has continued with the enormously successful "Creed" spinoff series, Stallone has quietly been planning a sequel putting the spotlight back on Rocky Balboa for years. The last film to focus primarily on Rocky himself was 2006's "Rocky Balboa," with the former heavyweight champion emerging from retirement for one final fight to exorcize his personal demons in the process. Since then, the character was last seen in 2018's "Creed II," reconciling with his son Robert (Milo Ventimiglia) in Vancouver and meeting his grandson Logan for the first time.

While the story of Adonis Creed continues without the presence of Rocky and Stallone's involvement in "Creed III," Stallone has planned to continue Rocky's story separately. Stallone spoke to Variety of an intended sequel that sees Rocky take on an undocumented immigrant as a protégé, with this boxer providing a "timely" message to the franchise. This comes as Stallone has also planned a prequel television series following Rocky, though the studio's focus appears to be firmly on "Creed III" for now with no further word on Stallone's future plans for the franchise.