Fast and the Furious franchise producer Neal H. Moritz only just promised that news about Fast & Furious 8 would be coming soon - turns out, he meant "today."
Vin Diesel was present at the Univeral Pictures panel at the ongoing 2015 CinemaCon in Las Vegas, when the announcement was made that the eighth Fast and the Furious movie will be opening in theaters in 2017. An official title for the project has not been settled on just yet, though this franchise has frequently mixed things up with its titles (see: 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast Five, Furious Seven) - so odds are this new film won't just be called Fast & Furious 8, either.
Fast & Furious 8 is now scheduled to open in theaters on April 14th, 2017 - very close to two years exactly after Furious 7 bowed in theaters, smashing box office records along the way. Currently, Furious 8 is set to face-off against the Scarlett Johansson-headlined Ghost in the Shell live-action movie during its opening weekend, while the Guillermo del Toro giant robots vs. monsters sequel Pacific Rim 2 will have arrive a week earlier.
Don't be surprised if Ghost moves away from a showdown with Dominic Toretto and his family; Pacific Rim 2 certainly will, since the Legendary Pictures production is being distributed by Universal. [UPDATE: Pacific Rim 2 has now been moved to August 4th, 2017.]
The date for Fast & Furious 8 does lend support to the previous report that Justin Lin (director of four Fast and the Furious movies to date) is being courted to return for Furious 8 - possibly, directing both it and Furious 9 to conclude the third Furious film trilogy (as well as the Fast and the Furious movie franchise). Lin will begin production on Star Trek 3 within a month or two for a Summer 2016 release; the way things are going, he may well be available to work on Furious 8 thereafter.
Furious 7 director James Wan, meanwhile, is going to return to the horror genre by directing The Conjuring 2 next - and may be preoccupied with other projects by the time Furious 8 begins shooting. Beyond that, Lin has arguably proved best able to handle both this series' action and character interaction scenes, anyway - so here's to hoping the latter is able to return to the series he helped build up.
Here's what we know and/or have heard rumored about Fast & Furious 8 (which, presumably, Fast and the Furious franchise scribe Chris Morgan will pen) thus far:
- The story will at least partially take place in New York.
- Kurt Russell's "Mr. Nobody" will return in an expanded role, as Dom and his crew get pulled deeper into the world of shadowy government officials and covert operations to stop mercenaries and terrorists-for-profit (introduced in Furious 6 and further developed in Furious 7).
- Since the U.S. government will continue to play a role in the proceedings, Eva Mendes as Agent Fuentes may return to the fold.
- Lucas Black, who reprised as Sean Boswell briefly in Furious 7, may well join Dom's team, seeing as Black is reportedly already contracted for two more Fast & Furious movies.
More details will become available over the months ahead, but for now suffice it to say: the Fast and the Furious movie franchise isn't going anywhere, not now the brand is stronger (commercially and critically) than ever it was before. The downside is that the series will have to carry on without Paul Walker, but at least Furious 7 managed to give the late actor a worthy (and heartstring-tugging) sendoff.
Furious 7 is now playing in theaters. Fast & Furious 8 hits theaters on April 14th, 2017.
Source: Universal Pictures
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