While the TV adaptation of Lethal Weapon has been mired in controversy for the last few days, it sounds like the movie series may be chugging along just fine. While a fifth entry in the franchise that began in 1987 has been rumored for years, it sounds like Lethal Weapon 5 is legitimately on the way now.
Richard Donner, who directed all four previous entries, just matter-of-factly “announced” that Lethal Weapon 5 is a thing.
While appearing on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, they were running down the beloved director’s filmography, and when they got to the Lethal Weapon portion of his resumé Donner succinctly added:
“And 5 coming up.”
He offered this up without even being asked about Lethal Weapon 5, which indicates that development on the film is farther along than previously thought. We’ve already heard that series stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover would be happy to return to the iconic roles of Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, so Donner knows he’s got his stars in place, but he must also know way more than we do about the status of the project if he’s already blankly stating that it’s coming up, unprovoked.
It’s especially notable when you consider that, as recently as this past February, Donner had said this about the status of the sequel on Maltin On Movies:
“And I’m ready to do 5. It’s called Lethal Finale. It’s very dark. And we were all set to go and now Warner Bros. is doing their old-fashioned tricks. Not Warner Bros., there’s this guy who runs the studio who’s great but they have these people in the legal department who do the negotiating in the most counter-productive way. They should be sent to a studio and work with the producers and directors and actors, and learn what makes a film, and then negotiate. But it’s just embarrassing. And it’s too bad, because there’s a wonderful writer named Channing Gibson, who wrote 4 for me, and we have a really great story. It is dark, but I wanted to end it on an emotional note, and I don’t think it’s gonna happen. It’s heartbreaking.”
Clearly, something’s changed.
Lethal Weapon is considered one of the great films in the “buddy cop” genre, and it made great use of a tone that blended high-octane action, big laughs, and a healthy dollop of heart in the form of two charismatic lead characters with relatable backstories. One has to wonder what the premise of the fifth film will be, considering the original centered on Murtaugh wanting to retire from the force because he was “Too old for this s***,” and that was 31 years ago!
You’d have to assume that Lethal Weapon 5 is going to be one of those “coming out of retirement for one last hurrah” type of stories. It’s interesting to hear that they want to go “dark” with it, but that could be extremely interesting when you consider the arc these characters were on throughout the first four movies. Lots to mine there.
What would you think of a Lethal Weapon 5? How would you feel if they went with that title, Lethal Finale? Personally, I think this could be pretty great. Though I’d be even more jazzed about it if they had original series writer Shane Black come back and write a draft of the script, since few people do “witty banter between mismatched partners” as well as Black does.
SOURCE: Golbert Gottfriend’s Amazing Colossal Podcast (via CinemaBlend)