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The Future of the Friday Movie Franchise
The Friday movie franchise has been a topic of discussion among fans for years. After the release of “Friday After Next” in 2002, fans eagerly anticipated another adventure featuring “Craig,” played by Ice Cube, “Day-Day,” played by Mike Epps, and the beloved character “Smokey,” originally portrayed by Chris Tucker. However, the passing of some cast members left fans wondering if the franchise would continue. Many supporters believed that a new film should not happen without Chris Tucker’s involvement.
The Possibility of Last Friday
Speculation surrounding a fourth and final installment of the franchise, Last Friday, has been ongoing for years. In a 2017 interview, the late actor John Witherspoon, who played “Willie Jones,” confirmed that the script had been completed. However, the deaths of both John Witherspoon and Tommy Lister, Jr. (who portrayed “Deebo”) in 2019 and 2020 respectively, left the status of the film uncertain.
Ice Cube’s Role in the Release
Ice Cube, who co-owns the franchise with New Line Cinemas, discussed the release of Last Friday in a recent interview with podcaster Kevin Smith on his SModcast. Although Ice Cube holds the rights, it is ultimately up to the studio to decide if and when the film will be released. During the conversation, Ice Cube shared summaries of two potential plots he had developed for the script.
The First Script
Ice Cube explained that the first script involved Craig and Day-Day running a dispensary before cannabis was legalized. A group of people would steal from their establishment, leading to a series of events that landed them in jail. In jail, they would encounter individuals they had previously put behind bars. To survive, they would be sent to a scam rehab facility run by Smokey, where they would discover the staff secretly indulging in drugs.
The Second Script
The studio deemed the first script “not really funny,” prompting Ice Cube to rewrite it. In the second script, Ice Cube included a “love story.” However, the studio struggled to understand this addition, causing delays in the production process. Ice Cube expressed frustration, questioning why they would hold up a whole franchise over such a minute aspect of the story.
Chris Tucker’s Potential Return
With the revelation that Smokey’s character could potentially return, fans wondered if Chris Tucker would reprise his role. Many viewers missed his presence in the film and had been asking this question for years. In an earlier interview with Vlad TV, John Witherspoon provided behind-the-scenes insight, revealing the $5,000 salary each actor received for their work on the original film. Considering the movie’s $300 million gross, Witherspoon expressed disappointment that the cast did not receive a bonus.
Chris Tucker’s Decision
John Witherspoon also speculated on Chris Tucker’s reasons for not returning to the franchise. According to Witherspoon, Tucker was earning $20 million from his collaboration with Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour series and felt that returning to Friday wouldn’t be as financially rewarding. Witherspoon also mentioned Tucker’s religious concerns, as the preachers advised him against appearing in a movie that portrayed drug use. However, with the legalization of marijuana, Tucker might now be open to returning.
Chris Tucker’s Perspective
After years of silence, Chris Tucker finally explained his decision not to return to the franchise in an interview on Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay podcast. Tucker revealed that he wanted to avoid repeating himself in his career and always sought new challenges. He was keen on moving on to the next level, such as starring in an action movie like Money Talks. Tucker’s refusal to participate in another Friday film surprised many, but he stands by his choice and feels satisfied with his career progression.
While fans eagerly anticipate the release of Last Friday, the future of the franchise remains uncertain. The passing of key cast members and the creative differences between Ice Cube and the studio have posed significant challenges. Whether or not Chris Tucker will return to reprise his role as Smokey still hangs in the balance. Despite these obstacles, the Friday franchise holds a special place in the hearts of its fans, who eagerly await its next installment.
This article was written for 5 WS.