Three months after Clayne Crawford’s departure from Lethal Weapon, lead actor Damon Wayans has opened up about his former costar’s absence from the hit Fox series’ upcoming third season.
“We’re only the first [episode] in but it’s definitely a lot lighter in tone and we’re having fun — on and off set,” Wayans told reporters Thursday night at the network’s Television Critics Association party in Los Angeles, per THR. Crawford was previously fired from the series’ second season in May after various sources (including Wayans) claimed the set was plagued by multiple instances of the actor’s toxic behavior.
“I wish him the best. Onward and upward for everybody,” Wayans continued. “It’s a lot looser. Nobody is overthinking; we’re just doing and we’re having fun trying to get home.”
Season 3 will continue the story as Murtaugh (Wayans) grapples with the death of his friend and partner, Riggs (Crawford).
“Right now, Murtaugh is mourning the death of his friend, so he’s not that happy, silly Murtaugh,” explained Wayans, adding that a new character, Wesley Cole (Seann William Scott) will add a jolt of energy (it’s “love at first crime,” he said) to the project — and Murtaugh’s life. “He’s the light that Murtaugh needs to be pulled back out of that dark place.”
Wayans further noted that Crawford was heavily involved in writing for his character last season, so his untimely death in season 2’s final episode didn’t come as an outright shock.
“He knew and he was very happy with where the show was going. I don’t know how he feels about where it ended up, but I know he was very much involved in the writing process and the arc of his character,” Wayans concluded.
Earlier this year, Wayans shared a video on Twitter suggesting a violent incident had occurred between him and Crawford.
“Now that the fate of the show is solidified, I’d like to address the Twitter outrage with this video and image to follow,” Wayans wrote of the clip, which shows a piece of shrapnel hitting the back of his head. “How does the shrapnel from this hit me on the opposite side of the head? #directedby@claynecrawford.”
He followed up with another tweet of a defamatory sticker he claimed others were putting up around the studio lot: “Since Warner Bros. is not defending me at all…here’s another photo of images other people were posting in and around the lot. Not me! He became uninsurable. Relished in making female cry. And stuck fear in cast and crew. #dontblameme.”
Crawford responded to the claims with a lengthy response on Instagram, saying he followed “all safety precautions and procedures” while directing the episode in question, and ultimately accepted “responsibility” for the incident.
Shortly after he was ousted from the show, Crawford shared another message on Instagram thanking fans for their support during the ordeal.
“To my cast and crew – CONGRATULATIONS on season 3!” he captioned a shadowy photo of himself sitting on the Lethal Weapon set. “To the Fans – Thank you for the overwhelming support and love. Riggs was a dream role and the experience will live with me forever. My heart is full. Good Luck nxt season!!”
Lethal Weapon returns for season 3 on Sept. 25.