Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
Although many people thought that their script was brilliant, Warner Bros studio and producers, including Silver, and director Richard Donner however disagreed with Black's decision to kill off Riggs' character in the ending, because they wanted to keep him alive for future sequels, and they also thought that Black and Murphy's script was way too bloody and dark, and they wanted a lighter, more comedic script, while their draft was completely serious and it focused more on courage and heroics, like Riggs coming full circle from the way he was in the first film and how his relationship with Murtaugh and his family brought him back to life and into the real world, helping him to let his guard down and learn to accept the love of real people, and in Black's version of the script it's the very love that makes Riggs willing to die to protect them.
Other parts from Black and Murphy's script which were changed or left out of the final version of the script include Leo Getz being only a minor character and having only one scene and few lines of dialogue. Lot more violence throughout like South African villains, who were even more vicious in original script than in the final film, torturing Shapiro, female police officer working with Riggs and Murtaugh (one who is killed by bomb in the pool in the film) to death in very nasty scene. There was also a scene where Riggs is tortured by South Africans in similar way like he was in the first film but much worse. Script also included an action sequence in which plane full of cocaine gets destroyed causing for cocaine to fall all over L.A like snow.
The ending of the script included climactic battle which took place at hills engulfed with big brush fire, and after destruction of stilt house Riggs chases Benedict (original name of the villain Pieter Vorstedt from the movie) who was different and lot more dangerous character in original script and Riggs' "arch-nemesis, his worst nightmare" as Black himself said, into the fire. After the final battle with Benedict Riggs dies very slowly after he gets stabbed by him. The last scene in Black's script was Murtaugh watching the video tape that Riggs made earlier since he had a premonition that he was going to die and in which he says his goodbye to Murtaugh.
Following the studio's negative reaction on his script and their demands for massive re-writes, Shane Black left the project after six months earning only $125,000 for his work (Warren Murphy also earned same amount), and never worked on any of the sequels. Black did said in later years in interviews how he considers his original script for Lethal Weapon 2 which was also called Play Dirty to be his best work and most intense script he has written, and how other than the scene where stilt house gets destroyed, his script was completely different than the one used for filming. He also said how the problem with final version of second movie was that they did too much comedy, and how he dislikes the other two sequels of the film because of the way they ruined Riggs' character.
Despite many attempts by fans of the Lethal Weapon movies and Shane Black, his original script for second film was never found and it remains highly demanded and most wanted of all Black's scripts.
Composer Michael Kamen's track Riggs Dying and Eric Clapton's cover of the song Knocking on Heaven's Door were composed and meant to be used only in the "Riggs Dies" ending, so George Harrison's song Cheer Down was used for ending credits once "Riggs Lives" ending was chosen for the final version of the film.