Eighteen months ago there was a rumor that Fast & Furious 6 and 7 will shoot back-to-back, but costar Dwayne Johnson deflated that false story before the sixth installment in the racing franchise began filming. Marketing for F&F6 has played up the suggestion that we’ll get to see the no-holds-barred finale this year, but that clashes with Vin Diesel’s previous claims about needing two additional movies to wrap everything up story-wise.

We’ve heard rumors about a Fast & Furious 6 post-credits scene, which could set up a seventh installment that builds on developments in the fourth, fifth and six movies in a logical fashion, in addition to bringing the series full-circle by tying off unresolved events in the original Fast and the Furious movie trilogy (specifically, Tokyo Drift). A new unofficial update on the situation indicates that Universal may have found a better alternative to the questionable back-to-back shooting process.

Diesel posted on his official Facebook page about Fast & Furious 6 earning positive feedback at a pre-release screening, while also indicating that Part 7 may already be gearing up to begin production this year:

There was an early screening in LA this week of Fast 6. The crowd reaction was surreal… and their demand for the continuation was powerful… It’s remarkable to think I first embodied this character in 1999… and the evolution continues. P.s. Filming begins this summer in LA, where it all started… talk about a studio in sync with the audience…

/Film is speculating that the project Disel mentioned could also be the spinoff Johnson spoke recently about – focusing on the hard-edged agent Luke Hobbs – but that scenario doesn’t seem likely to me.

Sequels filmed back-to-back have a tendency to produce mediocre results, as the cast and crew tend to suffer creative burnout even before principal photography is a wrap; not to mention, the sheer amount of story, character development, and action sequences that require planning out can be overwhelming (see: the second and third Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean installments). It’s a good example of studio greed ruining the final result.

However, Diesel has previously suggested that a seventh Fast and the Furious installment is needed, in order to properly finish off the story for Fast and Furious 6 (as well as the overarching franchise narrative threads and themes):

“With the success of [‘Fast Five’], and the inclusion of so many characters, and the broadening of scope, when we were sitting down to figure out what would fit into the real estate of number six, we didn’t have enough space… We have to pay off this story, we have to service all of these character relationships, and when we started mapping all that out it just went beyond 110 pages. The studio said, ‘You can’t fit all that story in one damn movie!’”

If Fast & Furious 7 does begin production this summer, then director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan are coming back (after working on the previous four movies). The year-long break between shooting the sixth and seventh installments isn’t, per se, ideal, but should benefit the project – which, by the sound of it, was largely mapped out well in advance of Fast and Furious 6 shooting – and would set the blockbuster on course to arrive by Summer 2014, given the current trend of 12-month turnarounds between the start of filming and release dates for tentpoles.

Fast & Furious 6 opens in theaters on May 24th, 2013.

We’ll keep you updated on Fast & Furious 7 as more information becomes available.

Source: Vin Diesel [via /Film]