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Mel Gibson says he’ll direct Lethal Weapon 5, possibly for HBO Max release

The long-simmering Lethal Weapon 5 sequel may finally happen after all, and one of the franchise’s stars might end up behind the camera.

Franchise director Richard Donner planned to helm the Lethal Weapon sequel himself before he passed away last summer, but now franchise veteran Mel Gibson has confirmed he’ll take over as the new director.

“[Donner] was developing the screenplay and he got pretty far along with it,” Gibson reportedly told The Sun. “And he said to me one day, ‘Listen kid, if I kick the bucket, you will do it.’ And I said: ‘Shut up.’”

“But he did indeed pass away,” he continued. “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.”

However, Deadline is reporting that it’s not a done deal yet when it comes to Gibson starring in and directing the first Lethal Weapon movie since 1998. Lethal Weapon 5 will also reportedly skip theaters and premiere as an HBO Max original movie. Before Donner passed away, Richard Wenk (The Equalizer) finished a draft for the script. Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich are producing the film.

Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 4.

Gibson is an accomplished director — he won an Academy Award for best director for Braveheart. He has also helmed The Man Without a Face, The Passion of the Christ, and Hacksaw Ridge. Gibson is also a polarizing figure in Hollywood after making anti-Semitic and racist remarks. Regardless, Gibson is once again receiving high-profile projects, including a starring role in the John Wick prequel miniseries, The Continental.

Danny Glover co-starred with Gibson in the first four Lethal Weapon films. Within the movies, Detective Roger Murtaugh (Glover) was initially alarmed by the apparent death wish of his new partner, Detective Martin Riggs (Gibson). In the first installment, Riggs was despondent after the death of his wife. Riggs and Murtaugh eventually became close friends throughout the three films that followed.

Lethal Weapon movies have a tendency to increase the roster of characters with every sequel. Riggs and Murtaugh were assigned to protect Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) in Lethal Weapon 2, and he returned for the following two sequels. Riggs found love again in Lethal Weapon 3 when Internal Affairs investigator Sergeant Lorna Cole (Rene Russo) crossed his path. Finally, Lethal Weapon 4 introduced Chris Rock as Detective Lee Butters, the husband of Murtaugh’s daughter, Rianne (Tracie Wolfe). So far, no actors beyond Gibson have been confirmed for Lethal Weapon 5.

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