The Expendables 4 Ending Explained: How THAT Character Returns


Warning: Contains SPOILERS for The Expendables 4!




  • The Expendables 4’s ending reveals that Barney Ross’ death was faked, with evidence of his demise deliberately fabricated.
  • The identity of the villain Ocelot is finally revealed to be Marsh, a CIA agent who worked with Barney years ago.
  • Lee Christmas makes a surprising decision to stay on the aircraft carrier, intending to sacrifice himself, but is ultimately rescued by Barney.

The Expendables 4‘s ending includes a death reversal, a surprise villain reveal, and much more, setting up the franchise for the future in the process. The fourth entry in the franchise shifts the narrative focus completely to Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas, as Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross has an unexpected role compared to previous movies. The plot revolves around the Expendables attempting to take down Rahmat (Iko Uwais) and stop a nuclear bomb from detonating that would start World War III. They are motivated to do so after Rahmat kills Barney Ross in the team’s opening missing, which leaves Christmas kicked off the team.

The entire lead-up to a potential The Expendables 4 post-credits scene takes place aboard an aircraft carrier that houses a nuclear bomb. Gina (Megan Fox) leads the Expendables aboard the ship only to become prisoners waiting for Christmas to rescue them and help discover the true identity of Ocelot, a mysterious villain whom Barney tried to unmask 25 years before. How The Expendables 4 ends allows the movie to bring home all of its main plot threads by revealing the truth about Barney’s death, who Ocelot is, the villain’s plan, and more. It also means leaving the door open for the franchise to continue.

Barney Ross Is Alive & How He Faked His Death

Sylvester Stallone in military gear in Expendables 4

The big moment at the end of The Expendables 4 is the confirmation that Barney Ross’ death was fabricated. Audiences are sure to be suspicious of this deadly fate for Sylvester Stallone’s character considering how early on it happens in the movie, but the evidence of his demise is abundant. The Expendables team plane crashes without any signs of Barney escaping, and the movie makes the decision to show a burnt body wearing his signature ring still in the cockpit. However, Barney returns to save the day, as he is responsible for killing Ocelot and rescuing Christmas from dying.

Questions about how Barney Ross faked his death are directly answered during the final moments of The Expendables 4. He reveals to Christmas that the body that doubled as Barney was none other than Jumbo Shrimp, the man who won Barney’s ring in a thumb-wrestling contest that Christmas fought at the bar early on in the movie. Barney reveals that he abducted him afterward and stashed him aboard the plane. Jumbo Shrimp is dressed in the typical Expendables attire and wearing Barney’s ring as he wakes up with the plane about to crash. Barney parachutes out the plane before the crash and goes off the grid to make his death believable.

Related: Why The Expendables 4 Is Rated R

Ocelot’s Identity, Villain Plan, & History With Barney Explained

The Expendables 4 poster image

The other big mystery of The Expendables 4 that is finally answered in the end is who Ocelot really is and what he wants. The reveal brings the truth that Marsh (Andy Garcia), the CIA agent who worked with Barney years before and brought the group in to take down Rahmat, is the villain. Marsh and Barney worked on the original mission 25 years ago that was meant to unveil Ocelot’s identity and resulted in everyone from Barney’s team dying. He hired the Expendables and accompanied them on the final mission to take down Rahmat as a means to blame them for the start of World War III.

Marsh’s motives in The Expendables 4 as Ocelot are rather straightforward. He believes that World War III is inevitable and knows that someone will profit from it starting. This is why he is eager to detonate the nuclear bomb in Russia and frame America for the incident. Marsh resurfaces as Ocelot after Barney dies because it de-classifies a file for the identity of the only man who knew Ocelot’s true identity. Marsh poses as Rahmat’s hostage to get the prisoner out of CIA custody and kills him in the hope of keeping his villain identity under wraps forever. This would have worked if not for Barney faking his death.

Why Lee Christmas Didn’t Get Off The Aircraft Carrier

Jason Statham as Lee Christmas holding knives in his hands in The Expendables 4.

Prior to Barney’s return and Ocelot’s death, Lee Christmas makes a rather surprising decision to stay on the boat after the rest of the Expendables team makes it off safely. He was meant to be the last one to descend to safety on Decha’s (Tony Jaa) boat, but he cuts the line in an act of self-sacrifice. Jason Statham’s character decides to stay on the aircraft carrier to he can turn it around before it reaches Russia and detonates. He wants to make the ultimate sacrifice just like he thinks Barney did in the beginning of the movie. Christmas would have died on the boat if not for Barney coming to his rescue.

Related: When Will The Expendables 4 Release On Streaming?

What Happened To Rahmat? Is He Dead?

Iko Uwais kicking someone in The Expendables 4

A lingering question left by The Expendables 4 is what happened to Rahmat. Iko Uwais’ villain was severely wounded in a fight near the end against Lee Christmas. However, Rahmat managed to escape unexpectedly when Christmas took his focus away from the seemingly dying villain to take to Gina. The Expendables 4 does not address how Rahmat escaped Christmas’ clutches, but his fate is likely sealed either way. Decha’s boat was the only way off the aircraft carrier before Barney sank it and the nuclear bomb went off. This should mean that Rahmat died barring a surprise retcon in The Expendables 5‘s story.

Did Anyone Else Know About Barney’s Faked Death Plan?

Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross in Expendables 4.

The entirety of The Expendables 4‘s story is filled with mystery and twists, which leaves the ultimate plan in motion a bit confusing in regards to who knew the truth of what was happening. Whereas Gina knew about the tracker in Christmas’ knife and planned on his arrival, it is unclear if anyone else knew about Barney’s plan to fake his death. It is clear that Lee Christmas and Marsh were in the dark, as were Toll Road (Randy Couture), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), and others. If anyone else did know about Barney’s plan, it could have been Gina, considering she worked closely with him prior to the event.

How The Expendables 4 Sets Up Expendables 5: Who Is Still On The Team

Custom image of Jason Statham juxtaposed with Sylvester Stallone in a bar in The Expendables 4.

There is no direct setup for The Expendables 5 as part of the ending for The Expendables 4, but the door is undeniably left open. The movie ends with the team back at the bar celebrating the fact that Barney is alive with Gina and Christmas’ relationship status reaffirmed. This simple fact means that an Expendables 4 sequel can happen. As long as Stallone and/or Statham’s characters are still around, more movies can happen depending on The Expendables 4‘s box office performance. Megan Fox is even positioned to return as Gina for a potential female Expendables spinoff movie if that is of interest.

If The Expendables 5 does happen, the team appears to largely be set already. Barney could slide into even more of a leadership role now that he is back, while Christmas can take his rightful place as team leader in his absence. Toll Road and Gunner are still around and able to contribute, as are newer members Easy Day (50 Cent), Galan (Jacob Scipio), and Lash (Levy Tran). There is also a door left open for Dacha to remain an Expendable once more. Of course, The Expendables 4‘s ending does not prevent new characters from joining or franchise veterans from returning to fill out the roster either.


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