Will Smith Announces Surprise Sequel, Are Audiences Welcoming Him Back?

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence jointly announced they are returning for Bad Boys 4.

By Nathan Kamal | Updated

will smith bad boys 4
Bad Boys

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have announced via a joint video that they are returning for Bad Boys 4, a new installment in their long-running and enormously successful buddy cop franchise. Per Variety, the duo has confirmed that both they and the directorial team of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (who directed the last installment, Bad Boys for Life) are coming back for the latest adventures of Miami’s most maverick yet humorful detective team. It will remain to be seen whether Will Smith coming back for Bad Boys 4 will be a help or a hindrance in his ongoing campaign of public rehabilitation. 

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have been hinting at Bad Boys 4 since the release of 2020’s Bad Boys for Life. Given the third movie grossed nearly half a billion dollars (and became the franchise’s highest-performing movie so far) after the franchise had been dormant for nearly 20 years, it makes sense that both Smith and Lawrence would be interested in keeping the train moving. 

While Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have not indicated whether Bad Boys 4 was the official title of the sequel, it appears that the movie is still in active development to some degree. In the above video, Smith and Lawrence even appear to emphasize the phrase “Bad Boys for life” and that it probably could have been held back for a fourth movie for wordplay reasons; the Pursuit of Happyness star even goes so far as to say “We shouldn’t have called [the third movie] that though.”

will smith bad boys

Since the release of Bad Boys for Life, Martin Lawrence has only appeared in one film, 2022’s little-seen Mindcage, in which he and Melissa Roxburgh pulled a Silence of the Lambs by getting help tracking down a murderer from an incarcerated serial killer (John Malkovich). In contrast, Will Smith followed up the film with the acclaimed drama King Richard, in which he portrayed the father/coach of legendary tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, eventually winning the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Infamously, it was at the same Academy Awards ceremony in which Will Smith won cinema’s highest honor that he also walked on stage to slap Chris Rock after the comedian told a joke at the expense of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The resulting fallout saw an enormous shift in Will Smith’s formerly adored public persona and the alleged cancelation of a number of projects. As such, it is no wonder that Will Smith is now fully on board getting back to basics with Bad Boys 4.

For their part, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah saw their most recent work, Leslie Grace’s Batgirl, unceremoniously shelved by Warner Bros. Discovery after it was essentially already completed. It seems that this new movie will be a boost for everyone involved, especially as Smith is currently looking into sequels to movies less loved than the Bad Boys series. We shall just have to see whether Will Smith in Bad Boys 4 will return him to the top of the game.