Bringing the seventh film in Universal's Fast and Furious franchise to audiences has been quite the ordeal. After the huge success of Fast & Furious 6, the future of the entire series was put in jeopardy when its star, Paul Walker died earlier this year. The cast and crew persevered through that tragedy - and now Furious 7 (as it's now titled) is releasing next April.
With seven films in the bag, Universal is looking to do at least three more. Earlier this week we reported on rumors that the studio was looking to end the series with a finale that would span multiple films, as has become the trend among big, money-making franchises. This report also lined up with one from a year prior that said Tokyo Drift star, Lucas Black had signed on for two more Fast and Furious features after Furious 7, indicating there were definitely more films planned.
Yesterday, THR posted a video and transcript of a recent 'Executive Roundtable' they held with top brass from Fox, Paramount, Disney Studios, IFC Films, Universal, and Warner Bros. In it, the execs discuss their respective studios' strategies, hash out what worked and what hasn't, and so on. While their discussion is firmly planted in the business side of movie-making, it's nonetheless informative.
Case in point, regarding the Fast and Furious franchise, Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley had this to say:
"We think there's at least three more. Paul [Walker] is, and always will be, an integral part of the story. But there are many other great characters, and it's also an opportunity to introduce new characters. I think it's still a growing franchise. We'll see what happens with Furious 7, obviously, but our box office has grown over the past three or four films and internationally, in particular. So we think that there's more to mine there. But we're of course very mindful about fatigue."
Furious 7 will be the real test of whether or not the franchise has enough "oomph" to continue - though Walker did some filming before his passing and any remaining scenes were completed with CGI and body doubles. There's also Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, who have been a stars of the Fast and Furious franchise for just as long as Walker; plus newer additions like Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham both have plenty of pull at the box office. Bottom line, the Furious franchise isn't hurting for muscled men and women to shine the spotlight on.
If three more films are in the works, and if they will indeed work as a multi-part finale to the whole series, then the next question is whether or not director Justin Lin will stick around to see the Fast and Furious franchise out? Beyond Furious 7, Lin is set to direct the first two episodes of True Detective's second season, but otherwise his schedule appears open for more Fast films.
How do you feel about potentially three more Fast and Furious films? Will Furious 7 need to sell you on the franchise's longevity? Sound off in the comments below!
Furious 7 releases in theaters April 3, 2015.