The real reason we never got to see Jackass 4

There's been speculation about another Jackass sequel since the credits rolled on Jackass 3D in 2010. That last incarnation of the gross-out prankfest was so popular they even released Jackass 3.5 a year later, which was full of unrated cut scenes and outtakes from 3D. But fans still haven't had their fill of the death-defying stunts and bodily excrement-centered pranks they've grown to love.

In the six years since Jackass 3.5, there's been a ton of buzz about the next installment. Paramount Pictures supposedly registered a bunch of Jackass 4-related domain names. Johnny Knoxville has said they're "open to doing another." Director Jeff Tremaine announced it would be shot in Australia, and Bam Margera even let it slip that they were toying with the ill-advised idea of calling it Jackass 4: We're Not Dunn Yet in honor of the crew's late buddy, Ryan Dunn. So why hasn't it happened yet? Is there a worldwide shortage of tasers and jockstraps that we're unaware of? Not quite. Here's why we never got to see Jackass 4

Johnny Knoxville is a legitimate movie star now

Though the show and movies were definitely a huge collaborative effort, Johnny Knoxville has always been the pointman for the Jackass crew. As the de facto host of the show, Knoxville brought a certain star quality that helped transform what were essentially underground skate videos into a multi-million dollar TV and film concept. So naturally, it was only a matter of time before a guy like that was going to think to himself, "Maybe I can stop repeatedly injuring my testicles, and still get paid to be on camera."

Between the first two Jackass movies, Knoxville became a bonafide movie star, with The Dukes of Hazzard reboot solidifying his ability to carry a mainstream title. And yes, he still returned for Jackass 3D, but he's also talked about the desire to make films with a narrative. In 2017, Knoxville completed such a film, which he described to Complex as "not Jackass but all the stunts are done in the vein of," adding, "It's a scripted film with me doing the stunts."

That film is Action Park, and it's based on a real theme park that had a notorious reputation for its lax safety policy that resulted in many cases of guest injuries and even six deaths. During an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Knoxville said that while shooting Action Park he suffered "two concussions, a broken hand, sprained knee, torn MCL, stitches above his right eye, as well as a 'blowout fracture' on his left eye socket." So, while Knoxville clearly still has the itch to perform crazy stunt work, it also seems like he wants to tell a story more than just a bunch of knuckleheads getting drunk on Miller High Life and figuring out elaborate ways to hit each other in the crotch. 

Everyone is waiting on Knoxville's schedule

With Knoxville's career being the only one of the Jackass crew to really take off (minus Bam Margera, who found fame in the alternate lane of reality TV, and Steve-O, who's nurturing a fledgling stand-up career), the rest of the guys have basically been left waiting for his table scraps. In an interview with Uproxx, Steve-O admitted that he's repeatedly gotten emails from "guys in the cast" that beg, "Come on! Come on! Let's make a movie. Let's make a movie."

In the meantime, those guys, including Chris Pontius, Wee Man, Preston Lacy and Dave England, have basically taken the Jackass concept and applied it to a live show. In 2016, they went to Australia with their "Filthy Seppo Tour," which Lacy described to The Brag as "a bloodbath." Pontius was even more cryptic, saying, "We've got a big bag of ammo, it's a surprise. Wee Man always seems to know what to do, that sick f—."

In another interview with The Daily Journal, Lacy admitted that the next Jackass sequel hinges entirely on Knoxville's involvement. "I was in Los Angeles recently writing, and I said we had 184 horrible ideas. Hopefully, we'll do another movie. We're just waiting on Johnny Knoxville's schedule. … In Hollywood, unless you have a contract, nothing is nothing," he said. Did he pitch the one about the bag of ammo that ends in a bloodbath? Because who could say no to that? 

Ryan Dunn's death

Ryan Dunn's tragic death as a result of a drunk-driving accident came right on the heels of the release of Jackass 3.5 in June of 2011. Dunn and his passenger, Zachary Hartwell, died when Dunn lost control of his Porsche which he was reportedly driving "between 132 and 140" mph, according to ABC News. His blood alcohol content was .196 at the time of the crash.

Dunn's death had a devastating effect on the Jackass crew. Both director Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville penned touching tributes to their fallen friend on Knoxville's blog. In Tremaine's entry, he writes, "He was such a huge part of our family and it is forever changed without him."

Dunn was also Bam Margera's best friend, and the loss hit no one harder than him. It took years, but in March of 2016, Margera finally admitted that he'd spiraled out of control since Dunn's death, turning to alcohol and eventually becoming suicidally depressed. During an episode of Family Therapy (Via 104.3 WOMC), Margera said, "Since Dunn got in that crash, everything changed dramatically, and instead of drinking for fun with your friends, [it] turned into drinking to forget." While no one has ever directly said that they couldn't do another Jackass installment without Dunn, the loss of their beloved friend and castmate certainly cast a dark cloud over any future project. 

Bam Margera's sobriety was an issue

Margera's drinking became such a problem that he almost ended his life over it, so naturally that's not the ideal condition in which you'd want someone to shoot a movie. Especially one involving crazy and dangerous stunts. In a 2016 Reddit AMA, Steve-O expressed his doubts as to whether Margera could get himself together for a sequel even if he wanted to. "If Bam can stay sober and healthy, I suppose it's possible, but I think it's unlikely, he wrote. "I'm working really hard to make my own movie happen, wish me luck!"

But it seems like Margera is now champing at the bit to throw himself back into that chaotic, prank-filled atmosphere. In an interview with Gorilla Flicks, he opened up about getting healthy, refocusing on skating during a lengthy European hiatus, and possibly getting another installment of Jackass going. He's even got a concept ready to go, which he's tentatively calling Jackass Hotel, which would trick the entire cast into thinking they're checking into a hotel to start shooting the movie, only the hotel is already rigged with cameras and pranks. "Before they know it we just film the movie without anyone's knowledge," he explained. "We f— with everybody. Every room is rigged, everybody's there to prank everybody. Prank after prank after prank."

Aside from the fact that he basically ruined the possibility of that concept by talking about it, Margera isn't even that committed to the Jackass brand. "Dear Tremaine… Let's figure out something to film again, whether it's a jackass or a something else. I like this new Viceland channel and I have a couple ideas, so I'm ready to film again," he added. "I've spent a lot of time sitting at bars and drinking, but I'm over that now. I've had enough."

Steve-O doesn't seem that into it

Aside from essentially throwing Bam Margera under the bus and outing his other castmates as desperate to get back on a Jackass set, Steve-O seems like he's just plain moved on from the show and movies that made him famous. The urine-chugging star, who famously battled with his own addiction issues, told The Daily Beast that on top of focusing on his new stand-up career, he's also searching for a new purpose in his life. 

"Now my goal is to find separation between me and that character," he said. "To find separation between Steve-O and whoever I am—and more than that, for whoever I am to find fulfillment and validation from within." That's pretty deep stuff coming from a guy who once stapled his scrotum to his leg.

But fans don't have to worry too much about the possibility of a Steve-O-less Jackass 4 since he also told Vice, "I almost don't want there to be another Jackass movie because I've worked hard to build my own momentum, and for me to have a little bit of traction, and to be able to be getting away with having a career beyond Jackass… I want to keep that going. But I would never turn down anything Jackass-related." Which basically translates to, "I'm trying to live my best life over here, but if Paramount backs a truck of cash up to my house and asks me to huff a fat guy's farts, I'm game." 

The guys are getting older

Johnny Knoxville is over 45. In the two decades that he battered his body for the show and movies, he's racked up innumerable injuries, most notably the two times he lost consciousness: once after getting viciously head-punched by Butterbean, and once after flipping a golf cart. So, it was probably with tongue firmly in cheek that he said, "It's already destroyed. I can't hurt it!" when Complex asked him if he was worried about further destruction to his body for another Jackass sequel.

Steve-O, who's 42, echoed the sentiment in his Uproxx interview, saying they're all getting a bit long in the tooth to be getting shot from cannons. "Hey, I love working with you guys. We're all great friends," he insisted. "It's something really special that we have, but with that said, as excited as I am to work with you guys, if we're going to another project we need to figure out a way to get out in front of it and acknowledge we're old. Because we're old."

And even though he's not exactly thrilled with the prospect of aging, he also told The Daily Beast, "Now I'm in my forties and I can't post a picture without someone commenting, 'Dude, you got old.' It's like, 'F—.' I think I'm pretty realistic about it. It just points to what's important is to find separation from that." Sounds like Steve-O is ready to trade in his cheetah-print thong for a sensible pair of loafers. 

Director Jeff Tremaine is busy with other projects

Jeff Tremaine is the director and driving force behind Jackass. His skate magazine, Big Brother, served as the inspiration for the show, and even employed almost the entire cast before they had a deal with MTV. And because hanging out with notorious bad boys is kind of Tremaine's thing, he parlayed his Jackass success into being the guy to tell the story of "the world's most notorious rock band," Mötley Crüe. In 2016, he produced a documentary about the band's final tour, and also directed the long-gestating feature biopic about the band, adapted from their bestselling memoir The Dirt.  

It will be Tremaine's first time directing a feature outside of the Jackass series (c'mon, Bad Grandpa was basically Jackass 4), and it's most definitely a passion project. As he told ScreenCrush, "Dirt is something I pursued with everything I had. I've wanted to make this going back to 2001, when we were just planning the first Jackass movie." 

Outside of the Jackass-sphere, Tremaine has been chained to the skater/prank show genre with producer credits for Nitro Circus, Dudesons in America, Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory, and Ridiculousness under his belt. But it seems he's ready to take a legitimate seat in the director's chair. Plus, as far as we can tell, that 2014 Daily Mail interview was the last time Tremaine even spoke to the press about another Jackass installment. Sounds like he's in no rush to get back to it.