The prospect of a further Bad Boys sequel has been one that’s not exactly impossible, but seemed more improbable with each subsequent Transformers movie that Michael Bay opted to make instead. However, Bad Boys 3 gained new life this summer when The Grey and Narc director Joe Carnahan entered talks to write a new script and even possibly direct. Then, without warning, Sony Pictures went on to unveil the existence of another Bad Boys sequel, Bad Boys 4, when they announced release dates for both—Bad Boys 3 is slated to arrive on February 17, 2017, while Bad Boys 4 has been given a July 3, 2019 release date.
Interest was understandably piqued at this announcement—the revelation of a release date for Bad Boys 3 meant it was real, but the announcement of a release date for Bad Boys 4 means Sony has serious plans for reviving the franchise. But what of the titular stars of the films, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence?
Both actors have been fairly open to returning in the past with the expectation that Bay would direct, but now THR is throwing some potential doubt on the prospect of at least one of those actors returning. In a report on Sony chief Tom Rothman’s robust new slate, THR notes that while Will Smith will be involved in the Bad Boys sequels, it’s currently unclear if he’ll star, produce, or both.
Smith is making some interesting career moves as of late. He’s notoriously protective of his image, but he’s making his superhero movie debut in next year’s Suicide Squad as Batman villain Deadshot. And he also leads the upcoming drama Concussion, a film about the doctor who made the first discovery of football-related brain trauma, and a movie against which the NFL is already preparing a stringent defense.
I’d certainly be interested in seeing the Smith/Lawrence dynamic back onscreen in another Bad Boys film—especially with a different director taking over the franchise—but it’s possible Smith isn’t crazy about returning onscreen. Or it’s possible Sony goes the “soft reboot” route and gets Smith and Lawrence to return alongside younger characters in a “passing of the baton”-type deal for Bad Boys 3 that would lead to a Smith and Lawrence-less Bad Boys 4.
Right now it’s unclear exactly to what extent Smith will be involved in the follow-up, but we’ll likely hear more news on the Bad Boys 3 front soon as Sony needs to get this thing in front of cameras next year.
What do you think, folks? Would you see a Bad Boys movie without Will Smith? Where should the story go in a follow-up released nearly 15 years after Bad Boys II? Sound off in the comments below.