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Not long ago, news broke that the newest Bad Boys film was being delayed from June 2017 to January 2018. The news also landed with official confirmation of the film’s title, Bad Boys For Life. And, now, director Joe Carnahan has told fans what they’ve been waiting to hear: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are returning for the franchise’s third instalment.

Speaking with io9, Carnahan revealed that Bad Boys For Life had been pushed back to accommodate Will Smith’s hectic schedule following Suicide Squad. “We couldn’t all get in a room, go through this thing and really ring it out,” Carnahan said. “I’m a big believer in ‘Do the work at the script level until you’ve got something you know works.’ That everyone is happy with, the stars are happy with, the director is happy with, the studio is happy with.”

The director then went on to say that, “There’s only one Will Smith and one Martin Lawrence. You can’t replace those guys and I wouldn’t want to be involved if it wasn’t Will and Martin. They are that franchise.” So, fans can rest assured knowing the new film won’t set up any sort of legacy spin-off. It seems like Will Smith and Martin Lawrence will carry the Bad Boys franchise for just a bit longer.

Unsurprisingly, Carnahan kept mum on any details about his upcoming film’s storyline. Rumors have been circulating that Bad Boys For Life would follow the franchise’s last film in real-time, taking place nearly 13 years later. The story may focus on Detective Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett adjusting to a slower suburban life tied down by families and retirement. All Carnahan would say on the subject is this:

“There’s a lot of funny shit in this movie, and there’s also a very mysterious, but tonally spot-on story that I think is kind of perfect for where we are in this day and age, where the guys are and reflectively, a very modern take on these guys. It’s kind of what becomes of Bad Boys when they’re not boys anymore.”

While many fans are excited to see Bad Boys return, there are those fans who’d rather the franchise rest peacefully. However, Carnahan says he’s confident that Bad Boys For Life has “the strongest script of any of those movies. Hands down. In a walk over.”

He went on to explain that, “Unless you’re Toy Story 3, usually third ones aren’t the strongest, and I think this one will be the strongest of the trilogy thus far.” Carnahan later assured fans that he and the whole Bad Boys family took the franchise’s legacy very seriously. “When you’re coming back after 15 years, you better come back with a home run ball, And I really believe that’s what we have….We’ve got a responsibility to make something that’s absolutely equivalent or exceeds what comes before. That’s a really important thing for all of us.”

While this is the first time Carnahan has spoken about the actors’ involvement with Bad Boys For Life, Will Smith has previously discussed the project. In an interview with BBC Radio 1, the actor talked about how he recently reunited with Martin Lawrence. “I hadn’t seen him for about two years, and we just looked at each other. We hugged and in that moment we both knew we were making another Bad Boys,” he said. “So we’re definitely doing another one.”

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