Late last year it appeared as though the long-gestating Lethal Weapon 5 was finally happening, but now director Richard Donner doesn't seem so confident. Speaking on the Maltin On Movies podcast, Donner has revealed that negotiations with Warner Bros are not going well, and the sequel might not happen after all.
“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.
I wanted to end it on an emotional note, and I don’t think it’s gonna happen.”
There's no denying that the first Lethal Weapon is a stone cold action classic, even the sequel managed some choice moments (diplomatic immunity!), but the latter two movies were running on fumes. In the twenty years since Lethal Weapon 4, Mel Gibson's movie star status has been tarnished by his personal life. Gibson has managed something of a comeback directing the critically praised Hacksaw Ridge, and a supporting role is Daddy's Home 2. He's also planning a sequel to The Passion of the Christ titled The Resurrection with Jim Cavizal returning to play Jesus Christ. A return to Hollywood as a filmmaker is one thing, but leading an expensive franchise revival is something else entirely.
Donner's comments do lean towards a negative outcome for Lethal Finale, negotiations are notoriously difficult, and things may yet get back on track. That said, I don't think many people expected the sequel to get this far, let alone actually get made.
While we might not see the original Riggs and Murtaugh reunited, the second season of the TV series reboot recently started on ITV. Sure, Lethal Weapon the series is watered down, too generic for its own good, the chemistry between leads Clayne Crawford (Riggs) and Damon Wayans (Murtaugh) is highly watchable.