You may have heard that a certain action movie legend is turning up in this April's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – and no, we're not talking about Kurt Russell. However there is a connection, as his one-time Tango & Cash co-star Sylvester Stallone will also be featuring in the movie.
Yes that's right, Rambo and Rocky himself will be fleshing out the cast of James Gunn's rocking Marvel sequel, appearing alongside returning cast members Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel (the latter two again on vocal duties). But who in the world is Sly playing? We've rounded up some tidbits to try and get to the truth.
So it's long been mooted but now officially confirmed: the star of both the Rocky and Rambo franchises, recently Oscar-nommed for his outstanding performance in Creed, will be appearing alongside Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum in the Guardians sequel.
The news was officially confirmed by director James Gunn on the Adam Corolla show, putting an end to months of rumours. So why are we excited? Well quite apart from the fact that one of the most iconic action stars of all time could be sharing the screen with the wonderful Chris Pratt, the movie could also draw on Stallone's underrated action chops as seen in the likes of Cop Land and the aforementioned Creed.
And if, if, he gets a scene with old buddy Kurt Russell (playing Star Lord's mysterious pop, Ego), it's going to make all us 1980s action movie fans come over all warm and fuzzy.
Heck, even James Gunn himself struggles to rein in his enthusiasm (one of the main reasons we love him): "When I was a little kid I ran around the backyard pretending I was Snake Plissken or Johnny Rambo... Now I’m working with Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone who were icons to me as a child. I worked with Kurt for 80 days, now he’s ‘Kurt.’ But Sly, we worked for a few days on set… The guy cracks me up. He’s a very, very funny guy and we have a good time together."
So who could he be playing?
To quote the Bard, that is the question. There are any number of possibilities although given Stallone's advancing age (something that was movingly incorporated into the Creed storyline), we might expect him to be playing someone of a senior rank. At the same time he's spearheaded the 'geri-action' genre to enormous success with the Expendables movies so we'd be disappointed if he didn't get in on the mayhem – after all, this is Stallone we're talking about.
It remains to be seen whether he'll be treated to a supporting character role or an extended cameo appearance but he could well be playing a member of the Nova Corps (briefly glimpsed in the previous film) or one of the interstellar thieves known as the Ravagers. Given Star Lord's chequered history we wouldn't be surprised if Stallone plays a character from our hero's past. However, he could be playing someone far more significant. Over to James Gunn himself...
James Gunn drops some hints...
As reported by Yahoo Movies, the filmmaker has proferred some tantalising bits and pieces as to who Stallone is playing, urging viewers to "look for clues and you will find out the character Sylvester Stallone plays." Gunn adds: "He is fantastic in the movie. It’s a very important part of the Marvel cosmic universe."
OK, that makes us even more excited than before. We might assume from this that Stallone is playing one of the Elders of the Universe, one of those who possessed the fabled Infinity Stones that have been woven into the MCU in both the first Guardians and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Those gems you'll remember were ultimately stolen by big bad Thanos (Josh Brolin), who's yet to make a substantial appearance.
It would certainly tie in with the importance to which Gunn refers. Other elders include the Collector (played by Benicio Del Toro) and the Grandmaster (to be played by Jeff Goldblum in this October's Thor: Ragnarok, see below), so could Stallone be joining these all-star ranks and preparing to feature in future Marvel epics? Watch this space.
Check out our breakdown of the latest Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer. The movie is released on 28th April.