Will Smith Explains How Bad Boys 4's Legacy Character Twist Ties Into The Franchise’s Past Films

 Will Smith and Martin Lawrence on a deck in Bad Boys: Ride Or Die.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence on a deck in Bad Boys: Ride Or Die.

When the first trailer for Bad Boys: Ride Or Die premiered back in March, fans were surprised to see one particular familiar face. Joe Pantoliano's Captain Conrad Howard was memorably assassinated in Bad Boys For Life, and yet the character is back in the sequel and a principal player in the plot. As it turns out, it's part of a larger effort on the new movie's behalf to tie details from the past into the present.

Bad Boys: Ride Or Die

Bad Boys: Ride Or Die: Release Date, Trailer, Cast, And Other Things We Know About The Upcoming Sequel

A summer preview from Entertainment Weekly features an interesting quote from star Will Smith about the creative process behind making the fourth installment of the Bad Boys series. Instead of inventing a fresh mystery for heroes Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, an effort was made to go back into the previous movies and further develop certain details – or as Smith puts it, "tiny seeds." The actor explains,

We went back and looked at the three movies and laid in the storyline of the fourth movie from things set up in the previous movies. Captain Howard was working on a case that we had mentioned in Bad Boys 2, so the movie picks up on things that were just tiny seeds in Bad Boys 2 and Bad Boys 3.

Written by Chris Bremner (who was a co-writer on Bad Boys For Life), Bad Boys: Ride Or Die finds Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) on a mission of redemption. The deceased Captain Conrad Howard is posthumously accused of being part of a criminal conspiracy, but the heroes know that he was an honest and good man, and they fight together to clear his name. Smith added that the story stretches back two decades and that those responsible for the frame job are colleagues in law enforcement:

Captain Howard's character is being framed with 20 years of crimes and work with cartels, and his entire legacy is being destroyed by rogue factions within the Miami PD, and in the process, the Bad Boys are also framed.

Vanessa Hudens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Núñez, Jacob Scipio, and DJ Khaled are all back reprising their roles from Bad Boys For Life, and Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Melanie Liburd and Tiffany Haddish have all joined the franchise in the latest sequel. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, collectively known and Adil & Bilall, are back directing their second Bad Boys movie, matching the number made by Michael Bay.

If you haven't done so already, you can watch the Bad Boys: Ride Or Die trailer below:

Bad Boys: Ride Or Die only just completed filming back in March, the production having been interrupted by the Hollywood labor battles in 2023, but it is on track to be one of the big releases of the this year's summer blockbuster season. Fans can anticipate seeing the film in theaters on June 7 – and you can get a preview of everything else on the way to the big screen and streaming in the coming weeks with our 2024 Movie Release Calendar.