Sylvester Stallone, the architect of this franchise, has confirmed that Nicolas Cage will appear in the sequel, while reiterating the hope to get Harrison Ford and Wesley Snipes on board and the expectation that Mickey Rourke might return after skipping The Expendables 2.
In August, before the second film actually hit theaters, producer Avi Lerner mentioned a wish list that included Ford, Snipes, and Clint Eastwood as potential new additions to the ensemble of action figures who will coast through a few scenes and spend a few rounds. At the time, Lerner gave the impression that Cage was already locked, which wasn't altogether surprising, since the actor was almost involved in The Expendables 2.
Now Stallone, who starred in, wrote, and directed The Expendables before opting out of directing the sequel, has confirmed Cage in a translated interview with El Pais, saying,
“We are preparing the film with the same passion and commitment as the previous two. We have confirmed Nicolas Cage, a master actor who gives a veneer intellectual group. Hopefully we can realize to Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes and Mickey Rourke. That is the great mission of the producer. We will continue with the same narrative scheme, the agility and the frenzy, which are inherent to the saga.”
Okay, so Cage will add yet another entry to his long list of action movies with The Expendables 3, which does not yet have a director or writers of which we're aware.
As for the others, Ford is a bit of a long shot, but his dedication to showing up and reciting lines without a hint of enthusiasm in exchange for a check has been on display in films like Extraordinary Measures, so it's possible. Snipes is currently in the middle of a federal prison sentence on account of misdemeanor tax charges, but he'll be released next year and would likely be able to schedule an appearance in The Expendables 3.
Rourke is a wild card and there's really no predicting whether or not he'll return as Tool, his character from the first film whose demise was intended to be a crucial component of The Expendables 2 until he decided not to return.
Note that Stallone makes no mention of Clint Eastwood, whose involvement always seemed impossible. After Gran Torino, Eastwood went into retirement from acting, but this year he starred in Trouble With the Curve, a drama directed by longtime collaborator Robert Lorenz. Since Stallone hasn't been producing Eastwood's movies for more than a decade like Lorenz, the star probably won't appear as a solid to him. Also, Eastwood's attitudes regarding onscreen violence have changed over the years, and the mayhem of The Expendables isn't really in his wheelhouse anymore.