The stories might have got increasingly bizarre and the suspension of disbelief ever more high and it may also have lost major stars along the way, but there’s no denying the profitability and success of the Fast & Furious franchise. However it looks as if that film series might be drawing to a close with industry site Deadline breaking the news that Universal Studios‘ current plan is to make two more movies for the brand and then put on the brakes. That would bring the F&F franchise to eleven core movies.
The Fast and Furious franchise (which later disposed of the ‘The‘ part and has sometimes used initials alone) has been Universal‘s biggest brand in the studios’ modern history and managed to market itself on fast cars, beautiful women, tough men and gravity/logic -defying stunts. Beginning as a slightly more grounded (by Hollywood standards, at least) concept in 2001, with an undercover cop played by Paul Walker going in to the world of illegal high-speed car-racing led by Vin Diesel, it felt like Point Break on wheels. However each chapter raised the stakes with more and more daring set-ups. When Paul Walker was killed in a real-life car crash in 2013, the instalment he was working on (F7) was completed with the blessing (and participation) of his family, with CGI inserting him into unfinished scenes and his brothers providing some stand-in shots. it was released in 2015 and gave the character a happy ending.
F9 was due to debut this year but was yet another casualty of the COVID pandemic – it will now debut on Memorial Day (28th May) 2021. Directed by Justin Lin – for whom this will be his fifth outing – will feature the current main cast (Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, recent cast-newcomer Charlize Theron and adds Helen Mirren, John Cena, Cardi B and Ozuna to the mix.
There’s no news on whether the eventual franchise sign-offs will include Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson. A successful 2019 spin-off was created around their F&F characters Hobbs and Shaw for which another sequel is in the works – but it’s no secret that came about because of bad feelings between Johnson and Diesel. Their falling-out spilled over onto twitter and it seemed unlikely the two would ever work together again. However Deadline wryly notes that when a massive payday and marketing opportunity are involved, most obstacles can be pragmatically overcome. Equally, some are speculating that an effort may be made to include Wonder Woman‘s Gal Gadot who also featured in several F&F entries.
In the meantime there’s always the animated kids’ version. Fast & Furious Spy Racers is an animated series in which Tony Toretto (Tyler Posey) is recruited by a government agency together with his friends to infiltrate an elite racing league serving as a front for a crime organization called SH1FT3R… a concept probably more realistic than some live-action entries?). It recently debuted its second season on Netflix and is aiming for a third.