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After previous statements making it sound as if Lethal Weapon 5 was all but a done deal, director Richard Donner is now taking a few steps back and saying the potential sequel might be dead. Perhaps it’s for the best.
Recently, word broke that stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover and director Richard Donner were all in talks to resurrect the too old for this shit Lethal Weapon franchise with Lethal Weapon 5, which would bring back Riggs and Murtaugh for one more adventure. Donner later reiterated that the film would almost certainly happen, sooner rather than later. Well, don’t break out the champagne just yet, Lethal Weapon sequel fans. Donner is now saying that the project has stalled out, and may very well be dead.
While appearing on the Maltin On Movies podcast (via ScreenRant), Donner revealed the title of the film (Lethal Finale), and then went on to say that negotiations have broken down, and problems behind-the-scenes may have killed the film for good:
“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.”
Donner added, “I wanted to end it on an emotional note, and I don’t think it’s gonna happen.”
Honestly, this is probably for the best. The first Lethal Weapon is great, and even Lethal Weapon 2 has its moments, but this franchise has run its course. On top of that, there’s so much toxicity surrounding star Mel Gibson that to bring him back as the goofy, lovable, wise-cracking character he played in this franchise would just seem wrong. On top of all that, Donner insisting that this entry was going to be “very dark” doesn’t inspire much confidence. Yes, the Lethal Weapon franchise had its fair share of dark moments, but this was a series that was loved for the humor it mixed in with all its violence – that crackling back-and-forth chemistry between Gibson and Glover is what made it work. To ignore that and make a “very dark” sequel seems kind of silly.
For now, it looks as if Lethal Weapon 5, AKA Lethal Finale, is dead. We’ll have to wait and see if that status changes anytime soon.