Lethal Weapon (franchise)
Official franchise logo
|Created by||Shane Black|
|Original work||Lethal Weapon|
|Owned by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Films and television|
|Television series||Lethal Weapon (2016–2019)|
|Video game(s)||Lethal Weapon|
Lethal Weapon is an American buddy cop action-comedy media franchise created by Shane Black. It focuses on two Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detectives, Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. The franchise originally consisted of a series of four films released from 1987 and 1998, and later a television series which aired from 2016 to 2019. All four films in the series were directed by Richard Donner and also share many of the same core cast members, while the television series recast the main roles with younger actors instead. Though the first film was not explicitly a comedy, despite a fair amount of comic relief, the remaining films and television series are significantly comedic in nature.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director||Screenwriter(s)||Producers|
|Lethal Weapon||March 6, 1987||Richard Donner||Shane Black||Richard Donner & Joel Silver|
|Lethal Weapon 2||July 7, 1989||Jeffrey Boam|
|Lethal Weapon 3||May 15, 1992||Jeffrey Boam & Robert Mark Kamen|
|Lethal Weapon 4||July 10, 1998||Channing Gibson|
|Lethal Finale||TBA||Richard Donner & Dan Lin|
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Anxious with age and retirement, homicide detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is partnered with young and suicidal narcotics officer Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). Together, they work the case of the alleged suicide of Amanda Hunsaker, daughter of a wealthy businessman who served with Murtaugh in Vietnam. Murtaugh and Riggs soon discover that Hunsaker was involved in a heroin-smuggling scheme led by a retired general (Mitchell Ryan) and his lead enforcer (Gary Busey).
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
During a car chase, Riggs and Murtaugh stumble upon a trunk full of smuggled South African Krugerrands. This sparks a series of attempts at their lives, forcing them to take a less dangerous case, protecting Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), a loud-mouthed whistleblower with whom they gradually bond and befriend. However, they realize that Getz was involved in the same South African illegal activities. As a result, the three men become entangled in a drug-smuggling operation involving South African diplomats in Los Angeles, using their immunity and biting wit as a shield. Riggs kills the murderer of his wife who is among the criminals.
Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
As Murtaugh, who is one week from retiring, and Riggs investigate a robbery committed using a duplicate armored car, they find themselves in the middle of an Internal Affairs investigation led by Sergeant Lorna Cole (Rene Russo). With assistance from Leo, they learn that the subject of the investigation is a rogue AWOL cop (Stuart Wilson) who is stealing impounded weapons and selling them on the black market. During the investigation, Murtaugh shoots and kills a teenager who attacks him and Riggs; he turns out to be a friend of his own son. This prompts Murtaugh to capture the man responsible for the distribution of illegal firearms and to rethink his retirement.
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
While Lorna and Murtaugh's daughter Rianne are both pregnant, Riggs and Murtaugh once again team up with Leo as well as rookie Detective Lee Butters (Chris Rock) to investigate a Chinese immigrant smuggling ring. Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li) is a ruthless enforcer who personally attempts to murder Murtaugh's family by burning them alive in their own home. As the story progresses, Murtaugh discovers that Lee is the father of his daughter's unborn child. The two slay dozens of Chinese gangsters and ultimately manage to catch up with the boss of the smuggling ring. Riggs and Lorna are married at the end of the film as their child is born.
Lethal Finale (TBA)
There had long been talk of a fifth Lethal Weapon film, although both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover had initially expressed a lack of interest. In 2007, Moviehole.net received word from sources that Warner Bros. were in the early stages of trying to relaunch the Lethal Weapon series sometime in 2009 or later. A spec script treatment was written by Shane Black and Chuck Mondry, leading to rumors that the sequel was on fast track by Warner Bros. with Black in the director's chair. In November 2017, Mel Gibson hinted that a fifth movie might happen and that he, Richard Donner, and Danny Glover have discussed the idea to return. In December 2017, Donner confirmed in an interview on the Spocklight podcast that Gibson and Glover have agreed to return as Riggs and Murtaugh respectively and that he has a story all set. The only obstacle is Warner Bros. Pictures greenlighting the film. Donner has recruited Channing Gibson, the original screenwriter from the fourth film, to begin writing the script. The story will take place in present day (setting the characters of Murtaugh and Riggs in their mid-seventies and sixties, respectively) and is intended to be the final film in the series. In February 2018, Donner revealed the film's official title to be Lethal Finale; while also stating that the film is being held up by the production company. In January 2020, Lethal Weapon 5 was confirmed to be in active development, with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover confirmed to return, and Richard Donner returning to direct.
Lethal Weapon (2016–2019)
Deadline reported that Matthew Miller will create and co-executive produce a Lethal Weapon TV series with Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz for Fox. In February 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that FOX had officially picked up the Lethal Weapon pilot, with McG directing and Clayne Crawford as Riggs and Damon Wayans as Murtaugh. The cast was further expanded in February and March, with Keesha Sharp replacing Golden Brooks as Trish, Jordana Brewster as Dr. Maureen Cahill, Kevin Rahm as Captain Brooks Avery, Chandler Kinney as Riana Murtaugh, Dante Brown as Roger "R.J." Murtaugh Jr., Johnathan Fernandez as Scorsese, and Thomas Lennon in the recurring role of Leo Getz. Fox gave Lethal Weapon a series order on May 10, 2016. For the third season, Crawford was replaced by Seann William Scott, as a new character named Wesley Cole. Crawford was fired from the show after Fox and Warner Bros. refused to aid in escalating tensions between Crawford and Wayans, and the series killed off the character of Riggs.  On May 10, 2019, after three seasons Fox canceled the show.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||18||September 21, 2016||March 15, 2017|
|2||22||September 26, 2017||May 8, 2018|
|3||15||September 25, 2018||February 26, 2019|
Cast and crew
- A Y indicates the actor portrayed the role of a younger version of the character.
- A P indicates the actor portrayed the role of the character in a photograph.
- A dark gray cell indicates the character was not in the film.
|Lethal Weapon||Lethal Weapon 2||Lethal Weapon 3||Lethal Weapon 4||Lethal Finale||Lethal Weapon|
|1987||1989||1992||1998||TBA||2016 – 2019|
|Martin Riggs||Mel Gibson||Clayne Crawford[a]|
|Roger Murtaugh||Danny Glover||Damon Wayans|
|Leo Getz||Joe Pesci||TBA||Thomas Lennon|
|Lorna Cole Riggs||Rene Russo||Seann William Scott[b]|
(as Wesley Cole)
|Lee Butters||Chris Rock|
|Riggs' Love Interests|
|Victoria Lynn Riggs||Uncredited ActressP||Mentioned||Floriana Lima |
(as Miranda Riggs)
|Rika van den Hass||Patsy Kensit|
|Karen Palmer||Hilarie Burton|
|Molly Hendricks||Kristen Gutoskie[c]|
|Trish Murtaugh||Darlene Love||TBA||Keesha Sharp|
|Rianne Murtaugh||Traci Wolfe||Chandler Kinney |
(as Riana Murtaugh)
|Nick Murtaugh||Damon Hines||Dante Brown |
(as Roger Murtaugh Jr.)
|Carrie Murtaugh||Ebonie Smith|
|Captain Ed Murphy||Steve Kahan||TBA||Kevin Rahm |
(as Captain Brooks Avery)
|Dr. Stephanie Woods||Mary Ellen Trainor||Jordana Brewster |
(as Dr. Maureen Cahill)
|Mr. Joshua||Gary Busey|
|Gen. Peter McAlliser||Mitchell Ryan|
|Michael Hunsaker||Tom Atkins|
|Arjen Rudd||Joss Ackland|
|Pieter Vorstedt||Derrick O'Connor|
|Rika van den Haas||Patsy Kensit|
|Mickey McGee||Jack McGee|
|Jack Travis||Stuart Wilson|
|Wah Sing Ku||Jet Li|
|Uncle Benny Chan||Kim Chan|
|Detective Ng||Calvin Jung|
|Bernard Scorsese||Johnathan Fernandez|
|Detective Sonya Bailey||Michelle Mitchenor|
|Detective Alejandro "Alex" Cruz||Richard Cabral|
|Detective Zach Bowman||Andrew Creer|
|Natalie Flynn||Maggie Lawson|
|Erica Malick||Nishi Munshi|
|Louie "The Gute" Gutierrez||Paola Lázaro|
|Lethal Weapon||Lethal Weapon 2||Lethal Weapon 3||Lethal Weapon 4|
|Screenwriter(s)||Shane Black||Jeffrey Boam||Jeffrey Boam
Robert Mark Kamen
|Story by||Shane Black
|Jeffrey Boam||Jonathan Lemkin|
|Director of photography||Stephen Goldblatt||Jan de Bont||Andrzej Bartkowiak|
|Editor(s)||Stuart Baird||Robert Brown
|Frank J. Urioste|
|Production companies||Silver Pictures||Silver Pictures|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|North America||Other territories||Worldwide||All time domestic||All time worldwide|
|Lethal Weapon||March 6, 1987||$65,207,127||$55,000,000||$120,207,127||#795||$15 million|||
|Lethal Weapon 2||July 7, 1989||$147,253,986||$80,600,000||$227,853,986||#190
|Lethal Weapon 3||May 15, 1992||$144,731,527||$177,000,000||$321,731,527||#199
|Lethal Weapon 4||July 10, 1998||$130,444,603||$155,000,000||$285,444,603||#255||#236||$140 million|||
Critical and public response
|Lethal Weapon||82% (53 reviews)||68 (23 reviews)||A|
|Lethal Weapon 2||84% (36 reviews)||70 (21 reviews)||A+|
|Lethal Weapon 3||60% (46 reviews)||40 (26 reviews)||A–|
|Lethal Weapon 4||53% (67 reviews)||37 (21 reviews)||A–|
|Title||U.S. release date||Length||Performed by||Label|
|Lethal Weapon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||1987||40:00||Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton and David Sanborn||Warner Bros. Records|
|Lethal Weapon 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||1989|
|Lethal Weapon 3: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||1992|
|Lethal Weapon 4: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||December 3, 2013||La-La Land Records|
|Lethal Weapon Soundtrack Collection||464:51|
|Title||U.S. release date||Length||Artist(s)||Label||Film|
|"Cheer Down"||August 22, 1989||4:08||George Harrison||Warner Bros. Records||Lethal Weapon 2|
|"It's Probably Me"||June 23, 1992||4:41||Sting feat. Eric Clapton||A&M||Lethal Weapon 3|
|"Runaway Train"||July 20, 1992||3:56||Elton John and Eric Clapton||MCA and Rocket|
- Lethal Weapon – Based on Lethal Weapon 3. Released in 1992
- Kegar, Kirby (August 6, 2007). "Will Lethal Weapon be reloaded?". Moviehole. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
- "Gibson and Glover Up for Lethal Weapon 5?". ComingSoon.net. August 6, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
- "Shane Black on The Nice Guys, buddy comedies, Lethal Weapon, Predator & more". Retrieved 2018-03-10.
- Andreeva, Nellie (October 2, 2015). "Lethal Weapon TV Series From Forever Creator Set At Fox As Put Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 10, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon': Clayne Crawford To Star As Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs In Fox Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
- Stanhope, Kate; Goldberg, Lesley (February 12, 2016). "Damon Wayans Sr. to Star in Fox's Lethal Weapon Pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 19, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot: Golden Brooks Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 3, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot: Jordana Brewster To Co-Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 7, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon': Kevin Rahm To Co-Star In Fox Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
- Petski, Denise (March 16, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Casts Chandler Kinney; Sarayu Blue Joins 'No Tomorrow'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
- Ge, Linda (March 15, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot Casts Newcomer as Murtaugh's Son (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
- Petski, Denise (March 17, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot Casts Johnathan Fernandez; Tommy Savas In 'The Fluffy Shop'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 17, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Fox Pilot: Keesha Sharp Set For Co-Starring Role In Recasting". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 10, 2016). "'The Exorcist', 'Lethal Weapon', 'Making History', 'Pitch', 'The Mick' & 'APB' Get Fox Series Orders". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
- Goldberg, Lesley (May 8, 2017). "'Lethal Weapon' Star Clayne Crawford Out as Producers Scramble to Recast". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 10, 2019). "'Lethal Weapon' Canceled By Fox After 3 Seasons". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
- "Lethal Weapon (1987)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon - Production Budget". The-Numbers. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon (1987): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
- "Lethal Weapon 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon 2 (1989): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon 3 (1992): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
- "Lethal Weapon 4". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Lethal Weapon 4 (1998): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2009.