Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View

Demolition Man Could Have Starred Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Jackie Chan?!

One of the biggest films in the careers of Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes almost had a very different cast.

By Matthew Jackson
John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) is shirtless while blonde Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes) wear armor in Demolition Man (1993).

Demolition Man is one of those films that seems almost impossible to conceive without its two stars. The 1993 sci-fi action hit is a Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes movie through and through, and it has been for three decades, so it's wild to even consider other actors in those roles.

But of course, that doesn't mean other actors never had a shot.

RELATED: Are We Headed Toward a Demolition Man Future?

Yes, the story of a cryogenically frozen cop (Stallone) awakened in the future to track down a crime lord (Snipes) from his era really did almost turn out quite a bit differently, and since it's streaming on SYFY right now, we thought we'd take a quick look back at what might have been. 

The Cast of Demolition Man Was Almost Entirely Different

Before Stallone and Snipes signed on as the leads in the film, Warner Bros. Pictures apparently had two other action movie heavy hitters in mind. Speaking to MTV in 2008, Jean-Claude Van Damme revealed that he was once approached about the project, albeit with a different version of the script, to co-star as the villain alongside Steven Seagal.

"Years ago it was proposed that I would do a film with Steven Seagal," Van Damme said. "I was supposed to be in Demolition Man with him. It was a great project. The script I read was a lot different than the one Sly did with Wesley Snipes. I was the bad guy. He was the good guy because he was the Warner Bros. guy."

John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) wears a beret and points a gun in Demolition Man (1993).

Sadly, Van Damme didn't go into any more detail about the plot differences, and obviously the studio eventually went another way and partnered up with Stallone for the film, but still, it would have been fascinating to see the two offscreen rivals get into a big-screen fight. 

RELATED: 53 thoughts we had while watching Demolition Man

With Stallone in their corner, Warner Bros. and director Marco Brambilla still had to go find the right actor to play the villain, and they ended up pursuing one of the biggest action movie stars of all time. At one point, no less a legend than Jackie Chan was considered for the role, but Chan turned it down. His reason? Simple: He didn't want to play a villain after years of heroic films.

In the end, Snipes got the call, and we got one of the most memorable action movie showdowns of the 1990s. Demolition Man works great as is, but next time you watch it, think about how it might have looked with a couple of other famous faces sharing the screen.

Demolition Man is now streaming on SYFY