Director Richard Donner confirms that Lethal Weapon 5, featuring the return of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, will be the last movie in the series.
Director Richard Donner confirms that Lethal Weapon 5 will be the last in the series. The buddy-cop genre rose to prominence in the 1970s and 80s thanks to shows like Starsky & Hutch and movies like 48 Hrs., and arguably reached its zenith with 1987’s Lethal Weapon, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a pair of mismatched L.A. detectives.
Audiences certainly loved Lethal Weapon’s super-charged take on the buddy-cop movie, and particularly the chemistry between Gibson’s crazy Riggs and Glover’s more reserved Murtaugh, as the movie went on to be a blockbuster with $120 million grossed at the box office against a budget of $15 million. More highly profitable comedy-tinged action was quickly to follow, with Lethal Weapon 2 arriving in 1989 and Lethal Weapon 3 in 1992, both featuring Joe Pesci in a prominent comic relief role alongside Gibson and Glover. But the series finally came to a seemingly permanent end with 1998’s Lethal Weapon 4, which felt out-dated in the late ‘90s. However, Lethal Weapon would get new life with 2016’s reboot TV show, created by Shane Black.
Now somewhat shockingly Lethal Weapon is getting another chance on the big screen, with Gibson and Glover returning in the lead roles and Donner once again taking on directorial duties. To no one’s surprise, the 90-year-old Donner confirms that Lethal Weapon 5 will be the last go-around for Riggs and Murtaugh. Speaking to The Telegraph (via ComicBook.com) Donner said, "This is the final one. It's both my privilege and duty to put it to bed. It's exciting, actually....Hahaha! It's the last one, I'll promise you that."
Very little has been revealed about Lethal Weapon 5 storywise, beyond the fact that it’s set in the present day and features Riggs and Murtaugh as old men, but the script by Jez Butterworth was described by Lethal Weapon TV show producer Dan Lin as being very “personal” to the two stars and Donner. The last update on the project, which reportedly has not been officially greenlit by Warner Bros., was given by Gibson himself in November and he indicated that things are still moving forward.
Given that Donner is talking about Lethal Weapon 5 like a thing that is happening, there’s no reason to believe the movie is not indeed moving forward. Of course there are big questions surrounding the film, the biggest being the presence of Gibson, who is no longer the huge bankable star he was back in the 1980s and 90s. Indeed, Gibson is now a highly controversial figure due to abuse allegations as well as his own multiple sexist, racist and anti-Semitic public statements. The actor is currently trying to rehab his image, and recently appeared in the Christmas comedy Fatman, but it’s fair to wonder if Warner Bros. really wants to push a comeback project for Gibson. That being said, Lethal Weapon still has its fans and as a nostalgic finale for the series, Lethal Weapon 5 could be a significant hit especially with Donner at the helm. The huge success of Bad Boys For Life seemingly proves that there’s a market for throwback buddy-cop movies featuring stars who are not as big as they used to be.