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Mike Lowrey behind the wheel in Bad Boys For Life

For many years, Bad Boys 3 seemed like one of those movies that was simply never going to come to fruition, alongside other cinematic unicorns like The Crow reboot, the live-action Akira and Bill & Ted 3 (which is actually happening this year!). Over the years there were many delays and many more reasons given why the threequel hadn’t happened yet. Now with Bad Boys For Life opening in theaters this weekend, Will Smith has explained why it took so long for Bad Boys to get another sequel, saying:

I just didn’t want to wreck the franchise. I felt like I had other sequels in my career [where I felt] like I didn’t land it. But with this one I just wanted to protect this franchise. I wanted to make sure that the story was right, that it had something to say, that it was funny, and that it deserved to be made again. Not just, ‘People like sequels, so let’s just do a sequel.’

Man, if only the industry as a whole took the approach to sequels and franchise continuations that Will Smith describes here, we’d have been spared a lot of disappointment over the years. The reason why it took so long for Bad Boys to get another sequel, 17 years after 2003’s Bad Boys II, is that Will Smith wanted to protect this franchise, which is the one that really kicked off his career as a movie star.

Will Smith was somewhat gun-shy about sequels because of his past experiences. We’ve heard him say that he was not happy with the Men in Black sequels and although he doesn’t explicitly cite that franchise here, he reiterates his disappointment with some of the sequels he’s done in his career. The actor didn’t want the same thing to happen here because he was afraid of sullying Bad Boys with a subpar entry.

So to make another Bad Boys sequel that lived up to the franchise’s legacy, Will Smith basically had to be convinced. He had to be compelled to make one not just for the sake of it because sequels are popular and that’s just the thing you do, but because the story demanded it.

As the actor told #CRWN (via The Groove) Bad Boys 3 took so long because he wanted to wait until they had the right story, which meant one that had something to say and was still funny, capturing the magic of what made its predecessors work. Will Smith has also said that he didn’t just want to Bad Boys 3 to be a simple cash grab that repeated what the franchise has done before, he wanted there to be some growth as well.

And clearly, finding the right story that fulfilled those requirements took quite a long time, but given that Bad Boys For Life arrives in theaters this weekend, find it they did. It’s looking like Will Smith’s protectiveness over Bad Boys paid off too, because despite a January release date and the recent trend of disappointing nostalgic sequels, it turns out that Bad Boys For Life is actually good and is receiving solid reviews.

Bad Boys For Life opens in theaters on January 17. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of all this year’s biggest movies.

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