Back in January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic plunged Hollywood into chaos, reports emerged that then-89-year-old filmmaker Richard Donner was set to return to the Lethal Weapon franchise for a fifth and final installment with stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Now, almost a full year later, Donner has confirmed that he is indeed prepping to begin production on the next -- and, her promises, last -- Lethal Weapon movie, keeping the franchise alive after a three-season TV series based on the property that aired on Fox with actors Damon Wayans, Clane Crawford, Seann William Scott, and Jordana Brewster.
The fifth film will be the first new installment of the film franchise since 1998, when Donner directed the film. By then, the franchise has picked up Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Jet Li, and Chris Rock. It is not yet clear how many of those characters might show back up in the fifth installment.
"This is the final one," Donner told The Telegraph. "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."
At one point Lethal Weapon creator Shane Black revealed a pitch he had for a fifth movie, something he says would be set during the worst blizzard New York City has ever seen. "I wrote a 62-page treatment with my friend Chuck for Lethal Weapon 5 that would’ve been, I think, a very good movie," Black divulged in 2016. "It was interesting. It was essentially an older Riggs and Murtagh in New York City during the worst blizzard in east coast history, fighting a team of expert Blackwater guys from Afghanistan that’s smuggling antiquities. And we had a young character that actually counter-pointed them."
He added, "But I didn’t wanna do what people do when they’re trying to transition which is, they sorta put the two older guys in the movie, but really it’s about their son! And he’s gonna take over and we’re gonna do a spinoff. F--k that: If they’re gonna be in the movie, they’re gonna be in the movie — I don’t care how old they are."
It seems unlikely Black will play a role in this film, especially since he is much more likely to be involved in films that he can direct. As of now, the Lethal Weapon franchise is streaming on HBO Max, along with Donner films like Superman: The Movie.