‘Lethal Weapon’ TV Series Moves Forward Without Mel Gibson, Danny Glover

FOX just announced that it has greenlit a pilot based off of the wildly successful Lethal Weapon movie franchise, but the TV version will apparently differ significantly from the films, as neither of the movie’s primary stars, Danny Glover or Mel Gibson, will be involved to reprise their roles as Martin Riggs, played by Gibson in the films, and Roger Murtaugh, played by Glover in the films.

According to Sharan Shetty from Slate, the TV series will be written as a crime drama, which would largely strip away the sarcastic, snappy, action comedy nature that made the Lethal Weapon series such a hit. Riggs will be a Texas cop who moves to L.A. after the deaths of his wife and child, while Murtaugh will be portrayed as actively trying to avoid stress after suffering a minor heart attack.

The Lethal Weapon TV series follows a spate of recent TV series adapted from films, including Minority Report, 12 Monkeys, Uncle Buck, Rush Hour, Training Day, The Notebook, Limitless, and Fargo.

Gibson would likely not have been available for such a project even if FOX had wanted he and Glover to reprise their iconic roles, as Hacksaw Bridge, the biopic of Desmond T. Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor after saving dozens of soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa, and which is being directed by Gibson, began filming this week, according to Dave McNary of Variety. Gibson, who has begun focusing his efforts behind the camera in recent years, continues to rebuild his own personal brand after becoming mired in controversy some years ago following a drunken racial tirade aimed at police during a DUI stop.

The Lethal Weapon films, the first of which released in 1987, have been regarded as the epitome of the “buddy cop” genre and established Gibson as a mainstream and bankable leading star that showcased Gibson’s acting range. The film, helmed by acclaimed director Richard Donner, spawned three successful sequels.

Rumors have been floating around Hollywood for years regarding both a fourth Lethal Weapon sequel as well as a potential reboot. A spec script was written by original Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black for a potential reboot, which was rumored to be on a fast track by Warner Brothers, while Donner had ideas on a fifth Lethal Weapon film. The last word on a potential Lethal Weapon 5 was that Gibson and Glover were disinterested in reprising their roles, with Gibson not ruling it out as an eventuality, but stating that he did not wish to revisit the role at the present time.

The Lethal Weapon TV series will be created by Matt Miller, who will also co-executive produce with Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz at FOX.

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]