The Fast & Furious movie franchise celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and is positioned to make it to 20 too; seeing as there are currently scheduled release dates for three more installments in the genre-blending, adrenaline-fueled, adventures of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his trusty crew/family, starting with Fast & Furious 8/Fast 8 in 2017. Save for the late Paul Walker, the main cast of Furious 7 is returning for the either round and will be joined by a handful of noteworthy franchise newcomers onscreen, in addition to director F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton) behind the camera.

Fast 8‘s new cast additions include Charlize Theron (it appears) as the film’s antagonist, a character known for now as simply Cipher. Joining Theron on the bad guys’ side is Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones) as Cipher’s henchman, while Scott Eastwood (The Longest Ride) looks to be playing a character who’s on “Team Dom”. Diesel has now posted a picture of the newcomers and returning players in Fast 8 alike together, following not too long after Dwayne Johnson unveiled a picture of himself as Agent Hobbs in the film (sporting something of a Sons of Anarchy-style motorcyclist look, complete with extended goatee).

Alongside the aforementioned stars, the Fast 8 cast photo includes Michelle Rodriguez back as Letty Toretto (her memory fully restored after the events of Furious 7), along with Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges back as Roman Pearce and Tej Parker, respectively.

Also pictured in the image below (from Diesel’s Instagram account) are Furious 7 cast members Natalie Emmanuel as the super-hacker Ramsey, Jason Statham as former black ops agent (and Furious 7 antagonist) Deckard Shaw, and Kurt Russell as the enigmatic, but charismatic, shadowy government official “Mr. Nobody”. It’s possible that Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto will have a cameo in Fast 8, but for all intents and purposes it seems Mia’s story was finished with Brian O’Conner’s (Walker) in Furious 7.

#F8

A photo posted by Vin Diesel (@vindiesel) on

Furious 7 was originally going to conclude with an ending that directly set up the next installment, but Walker’s death led to that conclusion being scuttled in favor of a more heartfelt conclusion – one that paid tribute to a beloved member of the Fast & Furious acting crew. Nevertheless, the script for Fast 8 (once again penned by series’ writer/producer Chris Morgan) will pickup the narrative threads left dangling in Furious 7, as evidenced by the return of such characters as Deckard Shaw; who, near the end of Furious 7, was shown being locked away in a high-security prison, even as he promised Hobbs that he would escape one day.

Similarly, Fast 8 should see Dom and his crew working as (in essence) secret agents for the U.S. government and “Mr. Nobody” like they did in Furious 7, by taking on threats to national security such as that poised by Cipher and her own team. Such a storyline is a good fit for Gray’s directorial style and a natural step in the continued evolution of the Fast & Furious property. After all, part of the reason this franchise is going stronger than ever after being around for more than fifteen years is because it has kept on integrating different genre elements (crime/heist thrillers, revenge dramas, and now globe-trotting espionage adventures) in with its high-octane car stunts and sequences. This has allowed the Fast & Furious brand to keep on changing with the rest of the Hollywood blockbuster landscape, as these years have gone by.

NEXT: Fast 8 Video Recaps Filming in Iceland

Fast 8 opens in U.S. theaters on April 17th, 2017, followed by Fast and Furious 9 on April 19th, 2019, and Fast and Furious 10 on April 2nd, 2021.

Source: Vin Diesel

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