It appears that Smith's antics weren't enough to ruin the prospect of him returning to do Bad Boys 4. The long-time series producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, stated that Will Smith is non-negotiable for the next film in the franchise.
The Bad Boys franchise featuring wisecracking duo Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, portrayed by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence respectively, is one of the most hilarious and memorable action films ever. While the first film was released to mostly negative reviews in 1995, it appealed to audiences and performed well at the box office.
Since the release of the first film, the series has seen two sequels with the latest released in 2020 – almost three decades from the first film. Following the success of the latest movie, a fourth and presumably final installment was greenlit with Chris Bremner penning the script. Unfortunately, series lead, Will Smith, did the unthinkable and slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars earlier this year. As a result, the production company put a hold on things, according to reports.
Fortunately, Bruckheimer still supports the out-of-favor actor. He commented that, while Smith made a grave mistake, it doesn't represent him as a person and expressed hope that the audience will forgive him.
Bruckheimer isn't the only one connected to Bad Boys that spoke in support of the actor. In May, Sony executive Tom Rothman dismissed reports that the film’s development was also paused and stated that he believes "in forgiveness and redemption" and that Smith’s gaffe "was an example of a very good person having a very bad moment, in front of the world."
Smith’s co-star, Martin Lawrence, also rubbished reports that the fourth installment will be canceled due to Smith’s actions.
Despite Rothman, Lawrence, and Bruckheimer’s support of the actor, the incident still had a negative impact on Smith. His stock plummeted and many expected he'd be ostracized by the film community with some of his projects placed on hold. However, Smith quickly shook off the disaster as Apple went on to release Apple TV+’s slavery drama titled Emancipation.
On his actions, the multi-award-winning actor recently commented, "That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know? I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all… It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That is not who I want to be."
While Bad Boys 4 could feature Lawrence alone, it wouldn’t be an ideal end to the franchise. The reason is not far-fetched: the films work best because of the characters’ contrasting personalities and their friendship. Where Smith’s character is a shoot first, ask questions later kind of cop, Lawrence’s character is more conscientious and law-abiding.
At the moment, there's no info on the film’s production details, cast, or plot, among other things. However, Bruckheimer’s comments suggest it will move forward and fans will see the duo of Smith and Lawrence on their big screen sooner or later.