Furious 7 has brought in $1.35 billion worldwide (at the time of writing this), while earning its fair share of critical acclaim to boot; suffice it to say, director James Wan's first dive in the pool of big-budget tentpoles was a successful one. The filmmaker is now moving on to The Conjuring 2, a sequel to his hit 2013 supernatural horror thriller that will again star Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, when production begins in Fall 2015. Question is, what's Wan going to do after that?
Warner Bros. was previously reported to have singled out Wan as being the studio's top choice to helm Aquaman, the DC solo movie headlined by Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) and currently scheduled for release in Summer 2018. However, it seems that comic book project has some competition for Wan's attention, now that the director is reportedly being courted by Sony to direct its live-action Robotech movie.
THR is reporting that Wan has received an offer for him to direct Robotech for Sony, now that the studio has acquired the live-action movie rights to the Japanese cartoon TV series. However, at this stage, Wan is only described as being in "early talks" to call the shots on Sony's sci-fi tentpole. Moreover, the THR article mentions that Universal is still pursuing Wan for Fast & Furious 8, while TheWrap's Jeff Sneider says (from what he's hearing) Wan is all but locked to helm Aquaman after the Conjuring sequel.
Furious 8 is scheduled to reach theaters in Spring 2017, but the extensive amount of special effects work required by Aquaman means that principal photography on the DC feature will need to start before the next Fast and the Furious movie finishes up with post-production. We've also heard in the past that Fast and the Furious 3-6 helmsman Justin Lin is being pursued by Universal to helm the next two Furious installments (concluding the trilogy that began with Furious 7) - which is to say, for the time being it appears that Wan's term working on that franchise is done.
Beyond that, Wan working on either Aquaman or Robotech (arguably) sounds more interesting than him directing Furious 8, now that we've seen his take on the vehicle stunt heavy Fast and the Furious property with Furious 7. Aquaman, for example, is a mythical superhero adventure that will take place largely under the surface of the ocean - something the moviegoing public has never seen before in a live-action format.
Warner Bros. is reported to have three different Aquaman scripts onhand - including, drafts penned by such screenwriters as Kurt Johnstad (300) and Jeff Nichols (Mud). However, if Wan does commit to directing the DC film, then he will have final say on how to proceed from there. It's certainly possible that the final screenplay used on the project will be a combination of elements from earlier drafts, so as to produce the best storyline possible for Momoa's undersea superhero vehicle.
Robotech, interestingly enough, is being scripted by Michael Gordon, who also helped adapt Frank Miller's 300 comic book for the big screen. The Robotech animated TV series, for those unfamiliar, originated in the 1980s and takes place in a future where humans have constructed giant robotic machines to battle extraterrestrial invaders - with the twist being that the robot technology was harnessed from one of the invading alien's spaceships.
Sony picked up the Robotech live-action film rights with the intention of starting a franchise, much as Legendary is doing with Pacific Rim - the Japanese anime-inspired giant robots property headed by Guillermo del Toro. For now, though, Sony is reportedly willing to wait until Wan is available to tackle the Robotech IP on the big screen.
To sum it all up: Furious 7 has demonstrated that Wan can handle the demands of a big-budget tentpole and deliver a crowd-pleasing experience, as far as the studio heads over at Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal are concerned. It seems safe to say that, for related reasons, Wan is going to tackle another expensive studio-back project after he "takes a holiday" and returns to his lower-budgeted horror throwback filmmaking roots by making The Conjuring 2.
How about it - what would you like to see Wan direct after The Conjuring 2? Are you hopeful that he might decide to return to the Fast and the Furious series for its eighth installment? Or would you like to see him explore new genre territory with the effects-heavy Aquaman or Robotech, instead?
The Conjuring 2 will open in U.S. theaters on June 10th, 2016. Fast & Furious 8 arrives on April 14th, 2017, followed by Aquaman on July 27th, 2018. Robotech is currently without an official release date.