Mel Gibson Not Returning For ‘Lethal Weapon’ Sequel

Here’s one franchise that, thankfully, won’t be making a return long past its welcome. The Internet has been buzzing for weeks over a fifth installment of “Lethal Weapon,” most of the excitement centered on the fact that Shane Black had penned the script. Black wrote the first two installments, which are generally agreed to be the best of the four, and was producer Joel Silver’s pick to direct a fifth film. All was dependent on Mel Gibson’s approval.

And he won’t be giving it. Geoff Boucher caught up with Richard Donner, who reports that Gibson has refused to return for a fifth installment.

“Mel turned it down,” Donner said. “I would like to think that Mel turned it down because I wasn’t involved. Knowing Mel, I would like to think that. Would that be the kind of thing he does? It sure would be.”

There’s a lot of bad blood between Donner and Joel Silver, who parted ways, the latter apparently holding the reins of the “Lethal Weapon” franchise. Donner insists he had his own “incredibly strong idea” for a fifth movie, but that the studio and Silver muscled him away from the chance. But even he admits that a fifth movie would have been a hard sell, particularly to its leading men.

“It’s true, Mel and Danny, they’ve done it and to get them back, to provoke them and get some excitement from them to do a fifth one after all this time, you really have to come up with something so solid and so unique and so dedicated to their characters,” said Donner. “Without that I can see their view of, ’I’ve been there, I’ve done that.'”

So, that seems to settle it — no “Lethal Weapon 5″ and at that, many of us can breathe a sigh of relief. Personally, I don’t think I could have watched as another one of my beloved franchises was flogged back into life. (And yes, I’m looking at you when I say that, Indiana Jones.)

But what about you, readers? Were you looking forward to seeing Riggs and Murtaugh out for one last ride? Or are you glad to see it shot down and forgotten, except as a footnote to everyone’s IMDB page?