I never would have imagined that a fifth LETHAL WEAPON film would ever materialize, but just last year, Richard Donner seemed confident that it would, claiming that they were "inches away from getting the go-ahead" to do LETHAL WEAPON 5. Both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover were on board, with Donner saying that there was a good chance we'd be seeing the movie before too long, but, while speaking on the Maltin on Movies podcast on Nerdist, Richard Donner doesn't seem nearly as optimistic about the project's future as he once did.
And 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. And it’s too bad, because there’s a wonderful writer named Channing Gibson, who wrote 4 for me, and we have a really great story. It is dark, but I wanted to end it on an emotional note, and I don’t think it’s gonna happen. It's heartbreaking.
It's still possible that the fifth film could move ahead once these legal hurdles are overcome, but it's disheartening to hear Richard Donner sound so discouraged. I was a late-comer to the LETHAL WEAPON franchise, but I made a point to marathon the films for the first time just several years ago. The franchise does lose a little something as it continues, but the sequels are still an enormous amount of fun, and I'd jump at the chance to catch up with Riggs and Murtaugh again. Here's hoping LETHAL FINALE comes together in the end.