It's happening, so here are the 15 women—including Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana—who can turn the female version of the summer's most overstuffed action franchise into another huge hit.
This shouldn't come as any particular surprise, but The Expendabelles is a thing that is going to happen. The first two Expendables films have been hits, raking in a combined $575 million at the global box office. Action films with female leads have proven increasingly successful at the box office (the Scarlet Johansson-led Lucy recently bested the Dwayne Johnson-starring Hercules when both premiered on the same weekend), and frankly, any fun idea worth having is one worth running into the ground.
With The Expendables 3 set to hit theaters on Aug. 15, producer Avi Lerner announced earlier this week that The Expendabelles was a go, and it'll hit theaters in the not-so-distant future: “We’re going to do it at the beginning of next year,” he said. “We are writing the final lines of the script [and] we’ve got lots of ideas about who is going to be in it.”
Funny, because we've also got lots of ideas about who should be in it. Sylvester Stallone — who has written, produced and starred in all three Expendables films — already reportedly revealed his top choice: Alien star Sigourney Weaver, who would play his wife. Of course, because this is an Expendables spinoff, Weaver would represent roughly 1% of the assuredly star-studded cast, so we're taking the onus on ourselves to fill out the rest of it.
A quick disclaimer: As nice as it would be to have arguably the two biggest female action stars in the industry (Johansson and Angelina Jolie) headlining The Expendabelles, they're still a little too big at the moment for the movie. Ditto Meryl Streep, but rest assured that all three would be right at the top of our list for the inevitable sequels.
Even without those draws, this group of 15 women should have no trouble matching up with (or in all likelihood, exceeding) their Expendables counterparts.
Credentials: Alien, Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest, Avatar
Skills: Weaver is, by most accounts, the original female sci-fi hero. She had a star-making turn in 1979’s Alien, was nominated for an Oscar for its 1987 sequel and continued her space success with the tongue-in-cheek Galaxy Quest and James Cameron’s Avatar. Plus Sly Stallone already has his sights set on her for The Expendabelles (playing his wife), so this one seems like a no-brainer.
Expendables Counterpart: Sly Stallone, apparently.
Credentials: Kill Bill Vol.1 & 2, Pulp Fiction
Skills: Only the star of perhaps the greatest vengeance saga in modern movie history. Pretty good with a sword.
Expendables Counterpart: Jason Statham. Just feels right.
Credentials: Star Trek, Avatar, Columbiana, Takers, Guardians of the Galaxy
Skills: Saldana now has three major sci-fi action film franchises to her name, so she may be a little busy for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, she may be looking to balance those space-centric movies with one a little more earthbound (The Expendabelles will be located on Earth, yes?).
Expendables Counterpart: Harrison Ford. Just a couple folks best known for their sci-fi films.
Credentials: Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Skills: See above.
Expendables Counterpart: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Duh.
Credentials: The Fast & Furious movies (well, most of them), S.W.A.T., Avatar, Machete
Skills: This sounds improbable, but Rodriguez is the biggest female action star of the 21st century. Not quite sure how it happened, but it’s true. And seeing as we’re getting at least three more Fast & Furious movies, it’s not a title she’s likely to relinquish any time soon.
Expendables Counterpart: How has Vin Diesel not been in an Expendables movie?
Credentials: Foxy Brown, Above the Law, Jackie Brown
Skills: A staple of the 1970s blaxpoitation film, Grier’s best known role was as the titular Foxy Brown in Foxy Brown, but followed it up with prime parts in Above the Law and as the eponymous character in Jackie Brown. Any cast of female action stars would be incomplete without Grier.
Expendables Counterpart: Chuck Norris. Their action star days are slightly behind them, but they're still giants of the genre.
Credentials: Xena: Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica, Spartacus: War of the Damned, Parks & Recreation
Skills: Xena is one of the best-known action heroes — male or female — of all time, so Lawless is an obvious choice for this crew. She followed up that iconic performance with roles on action-heavy shows Battlestar Galactica and Spartacus. Plus she regularly goes toe-to-toe with supreme man Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) on Parks & Rec, more than holding her own.
Expendables Counterpart: Not Nick Offerman, unfortunately.
Credentials: The Underworld movies, Van Helsing, Total Recall
Skills: They should let Beckinsale be a vampire in The Expendabelles and not bother to explain it at all. She is an excellent vampire, especially when being a vampire mostly involves killing people (or vampires) and not having to do all the blood-sucking stuff.
Expendables Counterpart: Wesley Snipes. The vampire bond is strong.
Credentials: G.I. Jane, Charlie’s Angles: Full Throttle
Skills: I mean, she played G.I. Jane.
Expendables Counterpart: Bruce Willis, naturally.
Credentials: The Matrix movies
Skills: Moss played Trinity in the Matrix movies. She was also in Memento, which was awesome, but not really germane to the conversation.
Expendables Counterpart: Don't tell me Keanu wasn't available for at least one of these.
Credentials: Kill Bill, Vol. 1, Charlie’s Angels, Lucky Number Slevin
Skills: Prior to Liu’s 2003 Kill Bill and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle doubleheader, she was best known for her role on Fox’s Ally McBeal. After it, she became a staple of the action genre, scoring roles in Slevin, Domino and Man With the Iron Fists. She might not be the biggest member of the group, but go back, watch Kill Bill again and tell me she’s not the scariest.
Expendables Counterpart: Antonio Banderas. Both have proven remarkably proficient with swords.
Credentials: Resident Evil, Ultraviolet, The Fifth Element
Skills: Ultraviolet was terrible, but Jovovich wasn’t the problem. She’s been kicking ass in the Resident Evil quintilogy for the last 12 years after getting her action movie start in 1997’s The Fifth Element. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is slated for a 2016 release, which should give her plenty of time for The Expendabelles and its inevitable sequels.
Expendables Counterpart: Jean-Claude Van Damme. Action only.
Credentials: Haywire, Fast & Furious 6
Skills: Carano is a former MMA standout who first made a name for herself in Stephen Soderbergh’s Haywire, in which she beats the everloving crap out of Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor. That alone makes her worthy of the Expendabelles, but add in her role in Fast & Furious 6, and there’s really no way to leave her out.
Expendables Counterpart: Randy Couture. Because MMA.
Credentials: Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2
Skills: She does, erm, kick a lot of ass in the Kick-Ass movies. Like, a lot. Swears and everything too. Plus there’s got to be someone that kids under the age of 25 will recognize.
Expendables Counterpart: Liam Hemsworth, unavoidably.
Credentials: The Long Kiss Goodnight
Skills: Davis played Samantha Caine/Charly Baltimore in The Long Kiss Goodnight, better known as the greatest action hero — male or female — in movie history. You can disagree, but you’re wrong. Watch this movie immediately if you’ve not already done so.
Expendables Counterpart: All of them put together.