As we mentioned in an earlier Expendables 2 piece on Donnie Yen’s potential casting, the sequel's director Simon West has to hurry up on the casting front if he hopes to hit the already announced Aug. 17, 2012 release date. Well, a story up on Moviehole throws out a handful of additional names that could be joining Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham, though they might not excite action fans the way producers had hoped.

Unless, of course, you want to see Twilight hunk Taylor Lautner, 54-year-old Christopher Lambert, current sitcom star Christian Slater or Nic Cage (!!) hanging from helicopters and battling to the death as members of the next Expendables squad. A source tells the site that in addition to Yen, offers are going out to those four actors as the production prepares to shoot in Asia. They also confirm the rumored attempts to cast John Travolta and Chuck Norris, though no movement has been made with either actor yet.

The names aren’t as far-fetched as you might believe. Slater is co-starring with Stallone in Walter Hill’s Bullet to the Head. Lambert, star of Gunmen and the Highlander series, has a part alongside Cage in next year’s Ghost Rider sequel. And Lautner would help sell the sequel to a younger demographic, naturally. Or maybe there’s some truth to those rumors that the mercs are going after vampires this time, and they want a werewolf in their arsenal?

Right off the bat, though, those names don’t carry the action-genre legacy that Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li helped bring to the original Expendables, which earned an impressive $274 million worldwide. I can get behind a potential Face Off reunion if Travolta and Cage somehow find themselves in the finished film. But until we know for sure which actors will head into battle with Stallone, we’re going to sit back, scan plot rumors, and gear up for the sequel, which arrives in theaters almost one year from now.

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