This is another article that somehow escaped the net when the site was moving last year. Adding it again today. Since it’s interesting, it’s going to the front.
Like The Beast Of War (1988), Rambo III was a good movie (albeit the weakest Rambo) that came out at a bad time. Both were conceived in the mid-1980’s, when the Cold War and Soviet War in Afghanistan were still firmly active and still good subject matter for war/action movies. But a lot happened between 1985 and 1988. The Cold War had thawed and Afghanistan was old news. But Afghanistan wasn’t always supposed to be the premise of Rambo III. A few years back I asked Sheldon Lettich (director of Lionheart (1990) and writer of Rambo III) if, despite the fact that Rambo III wasn’t as big a success as the studio hoped – were there ever any plans for a Rambo IV straight away regardless?
“No. But we did come up with an alternative scenario for “Rambo 3”, which was based in Siberia and was similar in some respects to the Lous L’Amour book, “Last Of The Breed”. I even wrote a treatment or two based on this scenario. We eventually went back to the Afghanistan idea, which was the most logical place for Rambo to go in the mid 1980’s. A sequel after that one was never discussed; at least, not with me.”
Last Of The Breed, incidentally, is the story of an Air Force Captain shot down over the Bering Strait and taken hostage by the Soviets. He then makes a bid to escape. To be honest, this sounds like the more appealing of the two stories, almost like Rambo meets Cliffhanger. But again, 1985/86 was the year of Afghanistan and was always going to happen.