The recent passing of Richard Donner came as a bit of a surprise to some because the director had plans to soon return to the director’s chair, even at the age of 91. Donner was said to be in development on Lethal Weapon 5 with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover returning and a sequel to THE GOONIES always seemed like a possibility as long as Donner was around to helm the project. Now that Donner has passed, it would seem that any hopes of these sequels happening are likely dashed.
Donner had been wanting to make the fifth installment to Lethal Weapon for years and the project first gained traction in 2018 when the official title for the project was revealed to be Lethal Finale. At the start of 2020, reports surfaced that Lethal Weapon 5 was in active development with both Gibson and Glover on board to return. The director provided his own personal update on the film back in December of 2020 when he confirmed his intentions to direct the sequel himself. Donner hadn’t been behind the camera since 2006’s 16 Blocks and he wanted Lethal Weapon 5 to be his final movie before retirement. Donner told “The Daily Telegraph”, “This is the final one. It’s both my privilege and duty to put it to bed. It’s exciting, actually…Hahaha! It’s the last one, I’ll promise you that.” Now that Donner is gone, it would seem that the hopes of making the fifth film are gone with him. There is no word on how far along into pre-production the sequel was in at the time of his death and, this is pure speculation, I would imagine that Mel Gibson and Danny Glover wouldn’t want to do the project without him.
A sequel to The Goonies was more wishful thinking than an actual prospect but there were some that believed it COULD happen if Donner was around to helm the project. Donner and the original cast have all expressed making a sequel over the years and at times it seemed like the sequel gained traction but it would just end up being more talk and speculation. Chris Columbus is said to have a script that is practically ready to go but, back in June, one of the original film’s stars, Corey Feldman, believed the sequel was done during a chat with “Dread Central.” Feldman agreed that the cast was all game to return but since Donner wanted Lethal Weapon 5 to be his last movie, the hopes of getting Goonies 2 off the ground seemed likely to unhappen:
I don’t know what the hell it is. But all I know is that when I found out my dear friend Richard Donner had signed on to do Lethal Weapon 5 as his swan song, well that pretty much sewed up the rumor mill right there. It’s done. We can’t make [The Goonies 2] without [Donner]. And [Donner’s] off shooting guns with the Lethal Weapon people. And that is the shame of it. Because just like when we did the [cast reunions] last year, I mean it doesn’t matter how many grey hairs everybody’s got on their faces, the love is still there. And the family feeling is still there. And I know that secretly, each of us weeps at night wishing that there was that magical [The Goonies 2] script landing on our doorstep the next day. But unfortunately and sadly, it still has not arrived.”
It’s possible that Hollywood could be Hollywood and try to get these sequels made anyway but they seem so tied to Richard Donner that I don’t think direct sequels will happen now that he’s gone. It’s very possible that there could be reboots, and that prospect actually scares me more than making sequels without Donner, but I hope this is the one time that the industry lets these franchises rest, especially since the captain isn’t around anymore to steer the ship.
Do YOU think Lethal Weapon 5 and The Goonies 2 should still happen without Richard Donner?