Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto is back and F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) is stepping in as the newest director in the franchise for Fast and Furious 8 - officially titled Fast 8 - which begins shooting shortly for its April 2017 release date.
The eighth installment in the super-successful borderline-superhero car franchise is the first film in the series outside of Tokyo Drift not to feature Paul Walker, who passed away during production of Furious Seven. It was confirmed recently that Walker's brother will not play a role in an effort to digitally insert Paul's Brian O'Conner character. The upcoming installment will take place largely in New York, confirmed by the first Fast 8 poster, with international locations including Cuba and Iceland. The international adventure is just the beginning of the next phase of the franchise because Fast and Furious 9 and Fast and Furious 10 just got official release dates.
Solidifying its position as a flagship tentpole franchise for Universal Pictures, 8, 9, and 10 will each open in theaters two years apart, all embracing the series staple month of April. The confirmation and announcement of two dates alongside Fast 8 confirms Diesel's statement last year that the next installment would launch a trilogy, hinting at a larger multi-film story:
Universal Pictures will release the ninth chapter in the FAST & FURIOUS saga on Friday, April 19, 2019, and the tenth chapter on Friday, April 2, 2021.
While Eva Mendes is reportedly set to return after playing Monica Fuentes in 2 Fast 2 Furious (and making a cameo appearance in Fast Five) with plans to potentially spinoff the character into her own film, The Rock is confirmed to return, and we suspect Kurt Russell will have a larger role this time around as well - with his character, "Mr. Nobody", serving as a potential handler for Toretto's team.
For Diesel, the close release dates seem to fit his plans for the next Riddick installment, which is currently planned to shoot in 2017. As for The Last Witch Hunter 2, it's difficult to say if that's still even a possibility at this point given the middling box office performance of the first installment (which, to date, has grossed $140 million worldwide on a $90 million budget, but only $27 million state-side). The star is making an effort as of late to return to his franchises - including xXx, with xXx 3 currently shooting.
If Universal finds success in testing future spinoffs, the Fast and Furious series can become annualized and join the ranks of the yearly tentpoles released by Walt Disney Pictures (Star Wars, Marvel films) and Warner Bros. Pictures alike (DC Extended Universe movies).
Do you think the Fast and Furious series can maintain its financial highs with more frequent releases? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Fast 8 will opens in theaters April 17, 2017, Fast and Furious 9 opens April 19, 2019, and Fast and Furious 10 on April 2, 2021.
Source: Universal Pictures