Richard Donner may not have directed a movie since 2006’s Bruce Willis thriller 16 Blocks, but he was gearing up to revisit at least one of his most popular titles, if not two, prior to his recent death at the age of 91. The Goonies 2 may have felt like more of a long shot, but Lethal Weapon 5 was most certainly on the cards.
The final outing for Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs and Danny Glover’s Roger Murtaugh had roared back into development last year after two decades of near-constant speculation, with all of the major players looking increasingly likely to saddle up for one last ride. Glover said the draft of the script he’d read was something extraordinary, while Gibson confirmed the screenplay was being worked on towards the end of last year when he was promoting alternative festive film Fatman.
In fact, as recently as December of 2020, Donner confirmed he was getting back into the director’s chair to helm Lethal Weapon 5, which would draw a line under the classic buddy cop franchise that brought the genre to new heights in 1987. As for The Goonies 2, the original cast members had always been split on the prospect of revisiting the classic adventure, but writer Adam F. Goldberg revealed that he’d been working on a story for the better part of ten years, and he was even set to meet with Donner before the pandemic came along and nipped those plans in the bud.
It’s unlikely that Gibson and Glover would be anywhere near as keen to return for Lethal Weapon 5 without Donner at the helm, and the embers of hope surrounding The Goonies 2 also look to have been extinguished now that Hollywood titan Donner has passed away.