Will Smith Actually Returning To His Biggest Franchise?

Could Will Smith still be returning to his biggest franchise? It certainly looks like it could be the case even in the wake of the slap

By Doug Norrie | Published

will smith

Following the slap at the Oscars a few months ago, it wasn’t totally clear what was happening with Will Smith, his career, and planned projects going forward. While the Academy handed down a massive suspension for Will Smith, it looked like some of the movies and shows he was set to star in and produce could be put on hold while the dust settled. Some seemed to just go away for good. Such is the case sometimes with a massive and high-profile controversy. Even the biggest stars aren’t immune to the fallout. But this is Will Smith we are talking about here and it’s not like he is going to be gone forever. It appears that Bad Boys 4 could still very much be in the works with co-star Martin Lawrence giving a promising update about the planned film.

Martin Lawrence was speaking with Ebony magazine about a number of different career-related topics and the Bad Boys franchise came up during the interview. In it, he was asked about the idea that Bad Boys 4 might be put on ice because of the Will Smith slap, but Lawrence didn’t seem to think that was going to be too much of an issue. Not in the long-term at least. To this query, Martin Lawrence said, “We got one more at least.” And while this isn’t a strict and straightforward confirmation that the film will definitely go off, having a co-star lend a positive tone around the prospects of a movie is certainly a good first step. 

will smith

The Bad Boys franchise started all the way back in 1995 with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith teaming up for the buddy cop action flick from Michael Bay. It was highly stylized, very silly at times, and a box office success considering it made $141 million on a $19 million budget. Bad Boys II followed eight years later in 2003 with a much bigger $130 million budget and it took in $273 million in ticket sales. And that looked like the end of the line for Detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Miles. But then, in 2020, 17 years after the previous installment, the two returned with Bad Boys for Life. It completely crushed at the box office, taking in almost $427 million dollars and actually scoring well with critics, putting up a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Following the success of Bad Boys for Life, it seemed a foregone conclusion that we would get Will Smith and Martin Lawrence back for another film and Bad Boys 4 quickly entered development and pre-production. But then moon March 27th of this year, Will Smith took to the stage at the Academy Awards to slap Chris Rock following a joke by the latter about the former’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith. Though Will Smith won the Best Actor Award that same night for King Richard, his career started to spiral in the wake of the incident. Bad Boys 4 was put on the shelf. 

It would seem from Martin Lawrence’s comments though that he isn’t concerned about teaming up with Will Smith for Bad Boys 4 eventually. We know Hollywood has its life cycles. This one might just take some time, but we are likely to get the fourth movie in the franchise at some point.