Will Smith and Martin Lawrence will reprise their roles in the fourth episode of the Bad Boys franchise.
The duo co-starred in the first buddy cop picture with Téa Leoni in 1995, and they returned to the big screen for the 2003 sequel.
Over two decades later, Lawrence and Smith reunited for the franchise’s third installment, 2020’s Bad Boys for Life. The third installment was a box office success, and talk of a fourth film rapidly began.
“It was big,” Lawrence recalled of the first movie. “For us to come together and prove that we can deliver, and we can pull people into the box office — that two Black stars, two sitcom stars, could make money at the box office — [was huge]. It also was an important pivot for him personally and professionally. I didn’t go to college, so I felt TV was my college years. I felt with movies, I had graduated; it was just different.”
Despite the Bad Boys franchise’s lovable success, the fourth project appears to have stalled following Smith’s 2022 Oscars incident. The Academy barred the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum from all Academy events, including the Oscars, for the next ten years after he smacked Chris Rock on stage. Smith, on his part, expressed regret for his behavior.
Several months after the drama, Lawrence gave an update on the future of the franchise in July 2022. “We got one more at least,” the Martin alum said in an interview with Ebony magazine at the time. Five months later, Jerry Bruckheimer — who produced the previous Bad Boys films — weighed in on the status of the film and said he could “absolutely” see Smith still involved.
“Will made a mistake, unfortunately,” the producer told the Hollywood Reporter in December 2022. “That’s not who he is. He’s a phenomenal actor and there’s always forgiveness in the world. And hopefully, the audience will forgive him.”
In January 2023, the Bad Boys actors teamed up to reveal that the film was officially in pre-production and they were both officially returning as Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey.
“Yo, I’ve got an announcement. Y’all better stop scrolling,” the Smith said in a video as he drove with “Shake Ya Tailfeather” — which was a single from the Bad Boys II soundtrack— playing in the background. “I wish I was you, not knowing what I’m about to show me.”
Smith arrived at Lawrence’s residence, and the comedian yelled out the door, “It’s about that time!” “Bad lads for life, darling,” replied the Men in Black star.
Vanessa Hudgens’ involvement as weapons expert Kelly, whom she portrayed in the third film, was announced in March 2023. While the narrative of the action picture has not yet been revealed, Deadline said at the time that filming would begin “within the next few months.”