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Why Bruce Willis Didn’t Return For The Expendables 3

Bruce Willis did not return as CIA Operative, Mr. Church in The Expendables 3, ultimately harming The Expendables franchise in the process.

Bruce Willis did not reprise his role as Mr. Church in The Expendables 3, even though Mr. Church was one of the franchise’s most intriguing characters, and here’s why. The shadowy CIA operative played a major role in The Expendables 2 in helping Barney Ross and his band of mercenaries defeat Jean Vilain and avenge their fallen comrade, Billy “The Kid.” With Mr. Church’s influence gradually increasing throughout the franchise, it was surprising when Willis didn’t return for The Expendables 3.

Mr. Church is a mysterious CIA agent who first meets Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross in a church during the setup for The Expendables. He hires the Expendables to travel to Vilena on a dangerous assassination mission. Neither Church nor Ross fully trust each other, with tensions between their characters rising in The Expendables 2. This climaxes with Ross accusing Mr. Church of not having the guts to do his dirty work himself. In a surprising Expendables twist, Mr. Church takes these words to heart and he and Arnold Swarzeneggar’s Trench Mauser accompany Ross in the third act of The Expendables 2 and help him bring down Jean Vilain. Church is then totally absent from The Expendables 3, with Harrison Ford’s Max Drummer replacing him as a more straightforward good guy.

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