Let’s talk about one of the most anticipated action star team-ups that fizzled out before it could really take off. Arnold Schwarzenegger, famously known for his roles in ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Predator,’ was notably absent from ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’. This was the sequel to the 2013 film where he starred alongside Sylvester Stallone, and it seemed like the perfect setup to reunite two titans of action cinema from the 80s and 90s. However, things didn’t pan out as fans had hoped.
The first ‘Escape Plan’ film was a treat for action aficionados, bringing together Schwarzenegger and Stallone and playing off their on-screen chemistry. For the sequel, the initial plan included Schwarzenegger reprising his role as Emil Rottmayer. Alas, he decided to step away from the franchise to focus on other ventures, one of them being the reality show ‘The New Celebrity Apprentice.’ As it turned out, this decision was likely for the best, given that ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ turned out to be a commercial flop.
The sequel aimed high but missed the mark, failing to recoup its investment. Critics didn’t hold back either; despite featuring fresh faces like Dave Bautista and 50 Cent, the film was panned widely. Stallone didn’t mince words when he called it “the worst production I have ever had the misfortune to participate in.”
But what about Schwarzenegger’s character? For those who might not recall, ‘Escape Plan’ wrapped up with a twist—Rottmayer was revealed to be Victor Mannheim, a mastermind bank robber who redistributes his wealth to the needy. By the end of the film, Mannheim successfully breaks free from the clutches of prison and sets off to continue his Robin Hood-esque endeavors. However, his story arc doesn’t extend into the follow-up film, and Stallone’s character parts ways with a fitting “I hope I never see you again”—which, in retrospect, seems almost prophetic given Schwarzenegger’s non-involvement in the sequel.
For those unfamiliar with the premise of the ‘Escape Plan’ series, here’s a quick rundown: Security specialist Ray Breslin, played by Stallone, is a mastermind when it comes to prison escapes. He employs his unique skills to break out of seemingly impenetrable facilities. His track record is impeccable over an eight-year span, and he’s roped in for one final, monumental task—to break out of a top-secret, cutting-edge prison holding the world’s most dangerous felons.
In an unexpected twist, Breslin, under the guise of a wanted terrorist, finds himself abducted and whisked away to the high-tech penitentiary. As the storyline unfolds, he teams up with fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), and together they scheme up a daring escape plan.
The initial excitement for the series was immense, but as the sequel showed, not every escape plan is foolproof. Fans and moviegoers alike are often left to wonder what could have been if Schwarzenegger had joined the fray once more. However, with the sequel’s performance, perhaps some plans are better left unchanged, and some reunions are better left to our imaginations.