If the news that the upcoming Furious 8 (or Fast 8 or, my personal old-school gamer preference, F8al Furious) is actually just the start of a new movie trilogy for producer/star Vin Diesel and his “familia” of crazy car stunt specialists, left you thinking that there are just too many of these damn movies, well then this latest nugget is sure to have you blowing a gasket.
Chatting to Variety, Diesel revealed that the near $4 billion grossing franchise is following in the footsteps of Star Wars by possibly developing spinoffs or prequels that stand besides the upcoming main films.
“We’ve written out story lines for various characters. We’ve been playing with it for a long time. It’s a very rich property and we’re committed to treating it with a lot of class.”
And as their biggest franchise by far, Universal Pictures are certainly game for more Furious installments as well, as Chairperson Donna Langley confirmed.
“We’re certainly in conversations about how we can expand the franchise now. It’s an ensemble cast and there’s room to bring characters in and out.”
Neither Diesel or Langley would shed any further light on exactly which characters they were talking about, but it has to be mentioned that Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson has previously expressed his desire to have a solo film focusing on his mountain of muscle with a badge Luke Hobbs. If there’s anybody out of that cast that can carry another film on his own, it’s certainly Johnson and his endless charisma.
You shouldn’t get your hopes up about seeing those spinoffs immediately though, and there probably won’t be a endless supply of them as Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, explained.
“Vin has a vision in his mind for three more, so let’s get three more done and then see where we are from there. Everything has an end, so I don’t think our expectation is we’re going to have a hundred of them…To me ‘Fast and Furious’ has become no different than a beloved series that comes on every year. ”
Now as far as this upcoming new trilogy of movies is concerned, it gets kicked off in Furious 8, which will be helmed by a high profile director in F. Gary Gray, who had just come off the critical and commercials smash hit Straight Outta Compton. Now while Gray did previously direct the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, and there’s certainly a fair amount of action thrillers like Law Abiding Citizen and The Negotiator in his filmography, he has also shown his ability to do drama in Straight Outta Compton and even the surprisingly sombre and gritty A Man Apart (in which Diesel actually starred).
And it’s that versatility that Diesel promises is going to lead to some new flavour with these movies as “We have a director who is going to bring the darkness out and bring out the character.” Shell agrees with that sentiment, adding that the franchise can’t just keep returning to the well of crazy over the top stunts.
“You can’t keep having every movie have bigger and bigger stunts forever and ever and ever. Eventually you have to really focus on the story. We’ll still have big stunts but bringing in this amazing storyteller is going to be great.”
Shell goes on to explain that there’s still lots of legs left in the franchise, even if it’s on its seventh film already, because for some people, the record-smashing Furious 7 was in fact their first experience with this series.
“It’s at its peak now. By the way, internationally something people forget is yes, this is ‘Furious 7,’ but probably half the people around the globe that saw ‘Furious 7’ hadn’t seen any of the other ‘Fast and Furious’ films in the theater. It’s new in China to them, it’s new in Russia to them, it’s new in most of Latin America, so this is a series that’s accelerating in my view, not slowing down.”
Of course one of the most notable features about Furious 7, which undoubtedly led to even more fans than usual turning out for it, was the tragic fact that co-lead Paul Walker passed away in a car accident while the film was only halfway done shooting. Through the use of Walker’s brothers as doubles and a combination of CGI and edited in unused footage from previous films, as well as a slight tweak to the script, Diesel and co were able to give their co-star and brother an unexpectedly touching sendoff in Furious 7. And it was indeed a proper sendoff – complete with riding off into the sunset – so don’t expect to see the virtual Walker showing up in Furious 8 again, as Diesel explained.
“They took such a high road and allowed us to honor our brother in such a powerful way. Another studio couldn’t have helped themselves by exploiting that in the plot.”
“Paul won’t be in [Furious 8], but he’ll be represented in some form or another but whether his image is in it, I can’t tell you yet, but he won’t be in the film as a performer, as an actor, the way we did it last time. It will still be ‘Fast and Furious,’ it will just be without Paul.”
Furious 8 is currently slated for release on 14 April 2017.
Last Updated: November 18, 2015