Over the years, the Fast & Furious franchise has established itself as one that is driven (no pun intended) by the voice of the chosen director. Rob Cohen and John Singleton brought a distinct flavor to the opening two chapters of the saga. The series found its footing under Justin Lin, and James Wan kept Furious 7 on track after the devastating loss of Paul Walker. With Furious 8 on the horizon, we have been very curious who would pick up the baton and continue to run with the series, but it turns out, there’s a very good reason why that decision hasn’t been made yet.

Neal Moritz has served as a producer on this massive franchise since day one, shepherding the Fast & Furious crew from the streets of Los Angeles to its current state of global domination. We were lucky enough to speak with Moritz about his upcoming Goosebumps adaptation with Jack Black (more on that closer to the October release date), but snuck in questions about the state of Furious 8. Specifically, I asked him if they were closer to finding the right director, and what they were looking for in a storyteller. He explained to me:
What we decided is that we are going to be a little further down the development process on the screenplay before we bring in a director. We have talked to a lot of directors, but we just haven’t made that decision because we’re trying to still wrap our heads, 100%, about what the next Fast & Furious is. Once we do that, then we’ll bring in the director."

You can understand why plans are sort of up in the air. At the time of its announcement, Furious 7 was scheduled to launch a trilogy of new stories that would pit Dom (Vin Diesel) and his crew against a fresh set of bad guys. While we met the vengeful Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in this year’s sequel, the story also teased the existence of Mister Nobody (Kurt Russell), and a much larger shadow organization that’s probably pulling several strings behind the scenes, controlling the Furious crew without them even knowing it.

That angle likely will be explored in Furious 8, but the creative team has time. Universal has circled April 14, 2017 as the release date of the next Fast movie, meaning that they probably don’t need a director in place until later this year. I’m thrilled to hear that they are placing more of an emphasis on the screenplay before plugging in a "hired gun." We’ll have a lot more on Furious 8 as it develops.