Ice Cube was a breakout star on the rap/hip-hop scene thanks to N.W.A. and his own solo projects, but his career really hit a new stride when he wrote, produced, and starred in the cult-hit comedy, Friday. Ice Cube and Chris Tucker's 1995 tale of day-in-life living and hustling in inner-city L.A. spawned an entire franchise, with Next Friday, and Friday After Next following in 2000 and 2002. Fans have since been waiting for Friday 4 to arrive, but it seems that even though there was hope on that front, that hope has both literally and figuratively died with one key cast member from the series.
Ice Cube was doing a video interview with Seth Meyers (he's currently raising money for first responders during the coronavirus pandemic). In the interview, Meyers noted that we just hit the 25th anniversary of Friday's release, and asked Cube where things stand with the franchise. Ice Cube answered that everything "was ready to go for the fourth Friday" until the death of comedian John Witherspoon, last year. Witherspoon of course played Mr. Jones, the father of Cube's protagonist character, Craig Jones. Witherspoon was a major scene-stealer who had some classic moments in the series.
Remembering Witherspoon, Cube said: "We're still grieving over the loss of such a talented, special man. He wasn't just funny. Everybody saw his funny side, but he was also a serious, thoughtful guy."
Though Witherspoon's passing certainly disrupted Friday 4's planned storyline, the series could move on after the narrative passing of Craig's father. Ice Cube hints it's possible, when he tells Meyers that, "Hopefully we'll figure it out. But for now, it's really on the back burner. We feel like we all lost our pops, our grandpops, our uncle."
Time will tell whether the gang behind Friday can heal over the loss of Witherspoon and move on; things haven't been great between Ice Cube and New Line, the studio behind Friday. During Witherspoon's funeral, Cube pulled a classic move and lambasted New Line for stalling on Friday 4 too long:
"I really apologize to my friend for not getting the next Friday movie made. It's not my fault. Some dumbass people in Hollywood, at New Line Cinema... Gave you punks two scripts and you all didn't want to do them. That's the real. We was trying to make that movie for years and we couldn't get it done, but we got the other three, and we got our memories, and we got our love."
Witherspoon's death is even more problematic for other projects like The Boondocks , in which Witherspoon voiced one of the three lead characters, Grandpa. Boondocks was getting two new seasons on HBO Max, and now that happy return seems much more uncertain.
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