Superheroes may rule Hollywood these days, but there are some franchises that have achieved great success despite not having men (or women) in tights. Chief among them is Fast and Furious, which has become extremely popular in the last few years. After changing up the series formula with 2011's Fast Five (a critical hit that grossed $209.8 million), the franchise continued its hot streak last year with Fast & Furious 6 - the highest-grossing installment to date.
The seventh film in this car racing saga was supposed to hit theaters this past July, but the tragic passing of star Paul Walker forced Universal to delay the project until April 2015 as the crew dealt with numerous issues that included extensive re-shoots and an inflating budget.
Now, director James Wan is deep in post-production as he gets the highly-anticipated sequel ready for next spring. That means we'll start to see some marketing materials soon, and thanks to the franchise's most visible actor, we've already started to see the first traces.
Vin Diesel took to his ultra-popular Facebook page to share with his 85.3 million fans two new stills from Fast 7, while also offering his first thoughts on the movie's teaser trailer.
Here's his first post, which features a picture of his character Dom Toretto wrapping up his hand in a workshop:
"Pablo" refers to Walker, who - like their characters Dom and Brian O'Connor - shared a brother-like relationship with the action star during his life. Given Fast's running theme of remaining loyal to your family, things are expected to be even more emotional this time around. O'Connor may be retiring, but the harsh reality of the situation cast a dark cloud over the entire production.
Diesel used his second Facebook post of the day to honor his late friend, showing a new image of their two characters in discussion:
The other nugget of information Diesel shared was that he's seen the teaser trailer for Fast 7, saying that it was "incredible." It shouldn't come as any surprise that he feels this way - Diesel's always been passionate about this series - but it means that fans will be getting to see what made the actor "speechless" in the near future.
Universal still has a few major releases in the pipeline for the remainder of this year, the first of which is Dracula: Untold. That horror/action hybrid will debut on October 10, in between anticipated fall films such as Gone Girl and Fury. That seems like a reasonable guess for when the first Fast 7 trailer will be made public, as the studio will no doubt be looking to ramp up interest in the vampire origin film - which is something of a risky box office bet, after all.
The future for the franchise beyond Fast 7 is still a mystery for now, but at least fans can take comfort in the fact that the seventh installment is coming - despite facing tremendous adversity on its path to the screen. Walker will no doubt receive a very heartfelt farewell from the role that made his career, and if the previous two films are any indication, there will be some great thrills in store for viewers as well.
Fast & Furious 7 will be in theaters April 3, 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.
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