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TV audiences are offered no guarantees that a beloved series' cast will be retained for the entirety of the show's run, and Lethal Weapon fans learned that the hard way while waiting for Season 3. The void left by former star Clayne Crawford, who was rather dramatically removed from the action-comedy over reports of on-set misconduct, will be filled by American Pie franchise vet Seann William Scott, who tried to soothe worried viewers about Riggs not being around anymore. Let everyone be reassured that Scott's character definitely isn't meant as a flat-out replacement for Riggs.
[Replacing him] would have been weird. I had seen that on a soap opera or something and I was like, 'Dude.' . . . I think a lot of fans may be upset they're not going to see Riggs. I really believe they're going to watch [the premiere] and feel like we handled it in a way that is really respectful to the character and what he meant to the show.
In a situation like this, where a TV character's necessitated absence is the result of behind-the-scenes drama, the hope is always for the creative team to be able to explain the changes away without making the on-screen narrative as awkward as the background drama. It's strongly assumed that Lethal Weapon will be wearing kid gloves when handling the issue in the Season 3 premiere (and possibly beyond), given that Clayne Crawford's Martin Riggs had become extremely popular among the fanbase, serving as a fitting counterpart to Mel Gibson's lead from the films. Understandably, that fanbase was not ready to say goodbye after only two seasons.
A fairly large backlash accompanied Clayne Crawford's removal from the modest Fox hit, driven forward by the actor claiming he was completely unaware of what was happening at the time his exit was being put into practice by Fox execs and Lethal Weapon's producers. Months after the dust had settled, the actor provided quite a different story for how the events went down leading up to his firing, which drew fan ire back to the surface. Essentially, Crawford copped to some of the behavioral claims made against him, such as losing his cool and yelling at an assistant director, but he denied other allegations concerning a Season 2 episode he directed; Damon Wayans claimed that Crawford ran an unsafe set, and had shared a video in which he states he could be seen getting hit by shrapnel during an explosion filmed for one stunt, which further fueled the feud that had built up between the co-stars.
We probably shouldn't expect to see Lethal Weapon Season 3 address any of that behind-the-scenes ugliness when it begins, although it might still be rather difficult to wrap up Riggs' story in a happy-go-lucky way, given Season 2 ended with Riggs getting shot in the chest by his crappy half-brother. The character was aiming for something more akin to riding off into the Texas sunset with Molly, which could obviously still explain why he won't be part of the LAPD anymore. Getting shot in the chest sometimes makes one less willing to jump right back into the line of fire.
When Season 3 kicks off, Lethal Weapon will be introducing Seann William Scott's Wesley Cole, who just so happens to share the last name of Rene Russo's Lorna Cole, Riggs' romantic interest from the film franchise. While it's not entirely clear how that connection would provide any explanations for why Riggs isn't around, it could still make for an interesting tie-in.
Find out how Lethal Weapon will ease fans into a Riggs-free world when Season 3 premieres on Fox on Tuesday, September 25, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new and returning shows are on the way, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.