For a while back in October 2011, the Fast and the Furious franchise looked to become for Generation Y what The Expendables is for those who grew up in the 1980s and ’90; namely, an adrenaline-fueled, macho star-studded event, with a collection of action fan-favorites – such as Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and possibly Jason Statham – all together and tearing up the screen (or each other, on occasion).

However, earlier this month, word got out that a deal to snag Statham for Fast Six (or Fast and Furious 6, depending on who you ask) failed to materialize. Today though, we can also offer some good news: the badass index for the new Fast and the Furious flick still looks to increase something fierce (even without Statham), now that Gina Carano is in talks for a role.

Twitch first reported the Statham story a couple weeks ago, revealing that a deal with Universal – which would see Statham appear in only Fast Six, since the studio scrapped its plans to shoot Fast and the Furious 6 & 7 back-to-back – failed to materialize (news confirmed by multiple outlets since Twitch broke it). The franchise does seem like a perfect match for Statham the actor, but he presumably had good reason for ultimately taking a pass.

Heat Vision has the hot-off-the-presses scoop on Carano, who is up to play a member of Diplomatic Security Service Agent Luke Hobbs’ (Johnson) team. Fast Six is expected to take place overseas in Europe – as directly set up by a mid-credits scene in Fast Five – and should pick up with contemporary outlaws Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and their fast-racing, thieving comrades on an new, Ocean’s Eleven-style operation (with cars).

A former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, Carano established herself as a deadly force of nature onscreen earlier this year with a lead turn in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire. The brawler-turned-actress has yet to prove that she also possesses strong acting chops, to go along with the physical prowess – but, then again, it’s not as though she’ll need much of that, as far as the sixth Fast and the Furious movie is concerned.

Gina Carano in ‘Haywire’

Justin Lin (who directed the previous three Fast and the Furious films) is returning for the sixth installment – as will the series’ dependable screenwriter, Chris Morgan, along with Diesel and Neal H. Moritz as producers. Similarly, Universal chairman Adam Fogelson has promised that Fast Six will continue to transition the franchise into pure heist genre territory, occupied by titles like The Italian Job, while also still delivering the same street car racing (and crashing) spectacle that’s made previous entries in the series such a massive draw.

That’s all to say: those who are already fans of the Fast and the Furious franchise, you can start anticipating a bigger ( and better?) addition to the series. All others need not apply.

Fast Six (a.k.a. Fast and the Furious 6) will powerslide into theaters around the U.S. on May 24th, 2013.

Sources: Twitch, Heat Vision