Will Mel Gibson Be Able to Make His ‘Lethal Weapon 5’ Less Racist Than the ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Version?

The official ‘Lethal Weapon 5’ will be made by a man who doesn't quite have the Paddy’s Pub Gang’s restraint when it comes to race relations
Will Mel Gibson Be Able to Make His ‘Lethal Weapon 5’ Less Racist Than the ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Version?

Mega-famous actor and director Mel Gibson may be known for his explosive racist tirades as much as he is for any of his blockbuster films, but, hey, at least he hasn’t done blackface — yet.

In a recent interview with the Inspire Me podcast, Gibson confirmed that he is currently in production on the fifth (official) installment of the Lethal Weapon series, which Gibson has been planning to direct and star in for a few years now. Gibson will take the reins from the franchise’s previous director, the late Richard Donner, and the star promised to fulfill Donner’s vision for the pentalogy. Said Gibson of Donner’s plans for Lethal Weapon 5, “He had gotten a fair way into the screenplay, so we’ve used what was there, and we kept poking at it, working at it a little. I’m pretty happy with it. It’s good. I had a lot of fun doing it.”

However, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans know that, regardless of Gibson’s admittedly more robust resume in filmmaking, his Lethal Weapon 5 will never have the heart, the humor and the full penetration of Dennis, Mac, Charlie, Dee and Frank’s fan-made film by the same name. Gibson could, however, make his inferior movie with a slightly higher level of racial sensitivity than the Paddy's Pub gang had while making theirs. But even if he doesn’t, it still probably won’t be pulled by the streamers.

As the passionate It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia online fandom loves to lament, two episodes featuring the Paddy’s Pub gang’s efforts to add their own take on the Lethal Weapon franchise to the series are not currently available to watch on its home on Hulu. The streamer pulled both “Dee Reynolds: Shaping America’s Youth” and “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6” from its content library in 2020 due to the (deliberately) distasteful use of blackface in both episodes, and the removal itself became the meta-subject of the 2021 episode “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 7.”

Meanwhile, and despite Gibson’s former reputation as Hollywood’s greatest leading man in the cliche, ebony-and-ivory-style buddy cop movie genre of the 1980s, the two-time Academy Award-winner who originated the role of Martin Riggs has such a long history of inflammatory racial remarks and drunken anti-Semitic rants that the “controversy” section of his Wikipedia page is longer than the rap sheet of even the most felonious Always Sunny character. 

Yet, no streamer has ever dropped a Gibson film from their catalog over his virulent racism, and the entertainment industry’s response to Gibson beating his girlfriend and telling her he hoped she would be “raped by a pack of n-----s” was just to make him switch agents.

Even though Gibson is more racist in real life than any of the characters on Always Sunny whose racism is explicitly used for social commentary by the show’s thoughtful creators, I have no doubt that Gibson will still be able to make a piece of shit, straight-to-streaming Lethal Weapon 5 that’s more palatable to whichever third-rate, ad-supported streamer decides to fund the Tubi original than Always Sunny is to its own patrons. 

Maybe, in retribution for how Always Sunny hijacked the Lethal Weapon series, Gibson will then decide to make his own Always Sunny episode. After all, he already knows so many of Frank’s favorite lines.


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