The fifth entry of the classic action franchise has been in development for several years, with Richard Wenk (“The Equalizer”) writing the most recent draft of the script. Richard Donner, who directed and produced all four previous “Lethal Weapon” films, had been working to develop a fifth installment, but he died on July 5, 2021, at 91, putting the plans in limbo.
Donner’s wife, Lauren Schuler Donner, will produce the film, alongside Rideback’s Dan Lin. Jonathan Eirich of Rideback and Derek Hoffman of The Donners’ Company will executive produce.
Speaking at an event in London, Gibson let it slip that he would take over directing duties from Donner, fulfilling the late director’s wishes.
“He was developing the screenplay and he got pretty far along with it. And he said to me one day, ‘Listen kid, if I kick the bucket, you will do it.’ And I said: ‘Shut up,'” Gibson said according to The Sun, which covered the event. “He did indeed pass away, but he did ask me to do it, and, at the time, I didn’t say anything. He said it to his wife and to the studio and the producer. So, I will be directing the fifth one.”
The first “Lethal Weapon” debuted in 1987, further launching the Hollywood careers of Gibson, writer Shane Black and the comedic, action-packed buddy cop format. Gibson co-starred as LAPD detective Martin Riggs opposite Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh. Three more sequels followed, in addition to a prequel TV series that ran from 2016-2019 with Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans as a young Gibson and Glover.