In recent months there has been a lot of news surrounding Mel Gibson and his well-publicized troubles. There has also been a lot of speculation and innuendo in relation to several potential film projects that Gibson may or may not be involved in.
The last rumor was that Gibson was fielding a potential offer to reprise his role as Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon 5. Now, hot on the heels of that news comes the possibility that the troubled star could be getting ready to saddle up in a sequel to his 1994 comedy-western hit, Maverick.
So, is there any truth to this rumor that Maverick 2 is in the cards?
Maverick was an adaptation of the 1950’s western series that starred James Garner and Roger Moore. The show followed gambler Brett Maverick (and several of his relations) as he ambled, rambled and gambled his way through the Wild West. The Gibson film was directed by Lethal Weapon‘s Richard Donner and written by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid writer William Goldman. The film co-starred Jodie Foster and original star James Garner as Marshal Zane Cooper. Maverick was quite a success in the summer of 1994, grossing $100 million in the U.S. and over $200 million across the globe – making it one of the highest-grossing westerns of all time.
This news of a sequel originated on the Australian entertainment site What’s Playing, and even they don’t know if the rumor is true, hence why they reported it as “something we’ve got wind of third-hand.” I’m not a gambling man (unlike Maverick) but if I was, then I’d put my money on Gibson returning to the role of Brett Maverick before he would make a fifth installment of the Lethal Weapon franchise, and here’s why:
First of all, in the past Gibson has stated that he’d like to return to the Maverick role, feeling that the character had a few more adventures left in him. This is the polar opposite to Gibson’s thoughts on Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon series, a character he believes has run his course (he’s been trying to kill Riggs off since the second installment way back in 1989).
Gibson has also just finished working with his Maverick co-star Jodie Foster on the black comedy The Beaver. What’s Playing states that this is where the idea for a Maverick sequel originated. If the pair re-ignited their old Maverick chemistry on the set of Beaver, then they just might be willing to get back in the saddle again.
Also, if Maverick is a Gibson originated project, then he could get his old friend Richard Donner back to direct. Donner wasn’t involved in producer Joel Silver’s incarnation of Lethal Weapon 5, but Gibson and the veteran director are still close. This could be a good way of working together again without having to go down the Lethal Weapon route.
Finally, a comedy is a much better way to get back into the public favor than an action movie – especially one called Lethal Weapon. A comedy could show a caring and sharing side to Gibson, with the potential of bringing in a younger actor as a son to help share screen time (as is being done with Misson :Impossible 4). The Lethal Weapon franchise has already spread itself a bit too thin with so many satellite characters, so to bring in even more new blood would turn the film into a cast of thousands.
Like most news of this sort – it is pure speculation. It’s a fifty/ fifty toss if any of it is actually true and I’d take it with a pinch of salt until it’s either confirmed or debunked. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Maverick sequel. Like Gibson, I believe that there’s the potential for more stories to be told using character and the Old West makes for an exciting (and these days rarely used) backdrop. My only misgiving about the film would be that James Garner might not be able to go along for the ride, due to his recent ill-health, a shame considering the chemistry that he and Gibson shared in the first film.
It’ll be interesting to see if Warner Bros. would invest in this idea (if indeed it is a reality) due to Gibson’s recent troubles and the fact that the first film was released sixteen years ago. Is there still an audience for Maverick, let alone Mel Gibson? If Maverick 2 does happen then it will take awhile for it to reach the screen, as at this stage there doesn’t appear to be a script and Gibson may or may not have a Viking epic to shoot along with Shane Black’s Cold Warrior in the interim. Whatever happens, you can be sure to read about it on Screen Rant.
In the meantime, I leave you with the opening of the Maverick theme tune:
Who is the tall, dark stranger there?
Maverick is the name.
Ridin’ the trail to who knows where,
Luck is his companion,
Gamblin’ is his game.
Smooth as the handle on a gun.
Maverick is the name.
Wild as the wind in Oregon,
Blowin’ up a canyon,
Easier to tame.
Source: What’s Playing