Movies that earn more than $1 billion worldwide tend to produce sequels. As such, Furious 8 was a no-brainer. Yet, the ridiculously lucrative Furious 7, ended with real closure, and raised some burning questions. Can the series continue following the death of Paul Walker? Should the series tell more stories in the lives of these now iconic screen characters, or is it time to let the Fast & Furious crew drive off into the sunset on one of the highest notes in franchise history?
That conversation is ongoing, but at least we have a definitive answer. Vin Diesel took to the stage of CinemaCon recently and confirmed that Fast & Furious 8 is happening, and will reach theaters on April 14, 2017. Itís definitely happening! But there remain a ton of questions about who will be involved both in front of and behind the camera. Letís dig in to all that we already know about the upcoming Fast & Furious sequel:
The Kurt Russell Connection
It bears repeating that Furious 7 always was going to be the start of a new trilogy of Fast films, though that plan was changed once Paul Walker died. James Wan confirmed that the original ending of Furious 7 would have led to new stories. But the first real hint we got about Fast & Furious 8 came when Vin Diesel appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show and revealed that supreme badass Kurt Russell was added to part seven as a tease for what the crew wanted to do in part eight. And Vin spoke in the present tense, saying that Russellís covert character, Mr. Nobody, would be a catalyst for events that would follow through in Fast & Furious 8. Now, Walker likely was going to be part of that adventure, and now will not be. But that doesnít mean the show canít go on.
The New York Setting
In the same clip, Vin Diesel dropped the interesting nugget that the crew would shift their mission for (or against) Mr. Nobody to the streets of New York City. Which, in my opinion, is fantastic. The Fast & Furious movies always have been an L.A.-based franchise, and Diesel delivered on his promise to return the series to Southern California with Furious 7. But a series that has stopped in so many amazing global cities has yet to invade the Big Apple, and I want to see Torettoís crew try to stay fast in midtown Manhattan traffic. (The "furious" part wonít be difficult. New Yorkers are always mad about something.) In a recent conversation, The Rock told the media that they wanted to give Furious 7 time to breathe, and to succeed, but that they were "up for the challenge" of doing Furious 8. And Diesel chimed in that F8 sounds like "Fate," something he said Walker always believed.
Justin Linís Return
James Wan was an unusual choice to helm Furious 7 after Justin Lin decided not to come back after directing multiple Fast films. Wan primarily was known as a horror guy, and his lone foray into "action" Ė the Kevin Bacon drama Death Sentence -- went largely unseen. Itís very possible that Wan could come back to direct a Fast & Furious 8, especially given the success of Furious 7. But a few months back, a story broke on Deadline that Lin would return to the series to direct a multi-part finale. Wan even said in a recent interview that Justin Lin would be the perfect choice to bring the series to a close. This plan still could be in place, though Lin is about to board the U.S.S. Enterprise as the director of Star Trek 3, so Universal might have to put their red-hot series on ice for a bit if they want to wait or Linís services. Would that be a good idea?
Lucas Blackís Contract
Those paying attention to the Fast & Furious timeline synch couldnít have been that surprised to see Lucasí Blackís Tokyo Drift hero, Sean Boswell, return to the screen. Furious 6 revealed that Han was killed by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), so Dom pitstopped to Tokyo to meet with Sean, get information on this new threat, and bring Hanís body back to Los Angeles for a proper burial. At the time, Black revealed that he had signed up for Fast & Furious parts 7, 8 and 9. Again, plans for the series seem fluid, but if Black was a part of the future story before, I see no reason to think he couldnít be part of the next two chapters, at least. Drift on!
The Eva Mendes Rumor
So far, the Fast & Furious films have made a habit out of bringing familiar faces back into the fold. Michelle Rodriguez was believed to be dead before returning for Fast & Furious 6. We just mentioned Lucas Black, and his presence in Furious 7. So with the timeline realigned now, it makes sense that a recent rumor suggests the return of Eva Mendesís character, U.S. Customs Agent Monica Fuentes, be brought back into the story. As we learned in Furious 7, Dom and his crew now runs in criminal circles that involve the federal government Ė or, shadow arms of the government operated by the likes of Mr. Nobody. This could open up several doors for the Furious crew to either have to help FuentesÖ or avoid her. Maybe the Godís Eye MacGuffin from the latest movie will put Toretto on Fuentesí radar? Maybe Mr. Nobody has a new job for Dom? I think Fast & Furious 8 will happen, particularly after Furious 7 just broke the bank. Do you?