Ever since its fourth installment in 2009, the Fast and Furious franchise has put out movies at a pace that lives up to its name. It was only earlier this year that Furious 7 hit theaters, and there's already plenty of buzz for Fast & Furious 8. Now, thanks to series mainstay Vin Diesel, Furious fans can start speculating about eventual spinoffs as well.
After the tragic and premature death of Diesel's co-star Paul Walker, the Furious franchise looked like it might be on shaky ground. The producers of Furious 7 handled the loss with aplomb, though, and gave Walker's character a sendoff that was satisfying without being tacky or exploitative.
With that tragedy behind them, now the producers can return to the task of wringing as much money out of the franchise they can, and one way to do that is by maximizing its sequel potential by creating spinoffs in addition to the main series. Speaking in an interview with Variety, Diesel confirmed that is very much in the works:
“We’ve written out story lines for various characters. We’ve been playing with it for a long time. It’s a very rich property and we’re committed to treating it with a lot of class.”
Class is all well and good, but what fans really want is bigger and bigger stunts forever and ever and ever. According to Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, however, that's not realistic:
“You can’t keep having every movie have bigger and bigger stunts forever and ever and ever. Eventually you have to really focus on the story. We’ll still have big stunts but bringing in this amazing storyteller is going to be great.”
The aforementioned amazing storyteller is Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray, whom Diesel calls "a director who is going to bring the darkness out and bring out the character." Whether or not this means a Dark Knight-esque grittiness to the upcoming films remains to be seen, but Gray doesn't seem to want to get too serious. "I’m a fan of the cars and the world," he told Variety, "and after being on ‘Straight’ for four years, it was time to have some fun."
Finding the perfect balance of darkness and fun is never easy, but with the Furious movies on a roll there's no reason to think that the upcoming Fast & Furious 8 and future spinoffs will be anything less than gigantically entertaining, big-budget spectaculars. After all, if the James Bond movies can go on for as long as they have, why not the similarly action-packed Fast & Furious? Let's just hope they never let George Lazenby behind the wheel.
Fast & Furious 8 is scheduled to hit theaters on April 14th, 2017.