Mel Gibson has shared an update on Lethal Weapon 5. Fortunately, his comments confirm that Richard Donner’s work on the sequel won’t be lost.
Mel Gibson’s recent update on Lethal Weapon 5 is a good sign for the upcoming sequel to Richard Donner’s four iconic movies. Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon helped shape the action genre in the 1980s alongside other action classics such as John McTiernan’s Die Hard and Predator. As the epitome of buddy-cop movies, Lethal Weapon showcases the right blend of action and comedy, as well as a natural chemistry between Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs and Danny Glover’s Roger Murtaugh.
None of that would have been possible without the Richard Donner’s influence, as the original Lethal Weapon and its three sequels boast the essence of Donner’s filmography. Be it in Superman, The Goonies, or the less famous Assassins, Donner’s lighthearted joy is manifest in each movie’s dialog and action sequences. But after Richard Donner’s death in July 2021, the possibility of another director taking over the upcoming Lethal Weapon 5 and removing Donner’s signature style seemed likely.
Fortunately, star and director Mel Gibson shared a Lethal Weapon 5 update during an exclusive interview with Screen Rant. He talked about how he met with writer Richard Wenk after Richard Donner’s passing to continue the project the way Donner intended. During the interview, Gibson explained that they aimed to honor the late director’s vision, saying “We tried to get that flavor, and we were pretty happy with what we came up with.” In an age of endless reboots, remakes, and belated sequels of classic Hollywood blockbusters, it’s easy to lose the essence of the original movies. Just like recent reimaginings and sequels of beloved ’80s hits like 2013’s A Good Day To Die Hard, 2014’s Robocop, and 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate have missed the point, a Lethal Weapon 5 without Richard Donner’s could fall into the ever-increasing pile of uninspired retreads. But luckily, Mel Gibson’s close friendship with Richard Donner and his love for the Lethal Weapon franchise will help avoid such a fate.
What We Know About Lethal Weapon 5
Lethal Weapon 5 has been set to be the final installment in the Lethal Weapon franchise for a long time but solid plans for the sequel were only officially announced in January 2020 during The Hollywood Reporter‘s fourth Producers Roundtable episode. Back then, Richard Donner was still expected to direct the movie, but even then, Donner had already considered handing over the directing duties to Mel Gibson if his health were to decline. A few months later, Richard Donner’s speculations had come true, and Mel Gibson was already taking up the helm.
Besides reassuring his intent to respect the legacy of Richard Donner’s filmography, Gibson explained to Screen Rant that the main obstacle delaying Lethal Weapon 5 now is the shakeups from the Discovery/Warner Bros. merger. Gibson said “It always takes time for these companies to regroup, so that’s been a delay, but I’m pretty confident we’ll get this one up on its feet.” While a solid release date is yet to be confirmed, Gibson guessed that the team behind Lethal Weapon 5 “will probably shoot it in the first quarter of the New Year.” More delays may happen in the coming months, but a 2023 filming stage is possible.
Mel Gibson and Predator 2 star Danny Glover are key for Lethal Weapon 5 to work, so their participation in the movie is certain. Rene Russo and Chris Rock haven’t confirmed their return, but they’re likely to come back one final time. Joe Pesci’s return is less likely, as he only came out of retirement to work with frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese for 2019’s The Irishman. However, Pesci’s role in Pete Davidson’s recently announced series Bupkis suggests that the legendary actor could give Lethal Weapon 5 a shot. Overall, Lethal Weapon 5 seems to be taking shape, and Mel Gibson’s respect for Richard Donner’s artistry suggests that the long-awaited sequel will end the franchise on a high note.