The Fast and the Furious series isn’t out of gas just yet, as Furious 7 proved this past April. The seventh entry in the series opened this last April to strong reviews, and even stronger audience reaction, skyrocketing past $1 Billion at the box office in record time, only to be beaten by Jurassic World this week. While a part of the reason the film was so successful was due to it being the last film by late actor Paul Walker, it also had to do with the series’ popularity over the last few films, as each subsequent film has done better than the last.
One of the things that has made the series so popular has been its focus on family and being a fully diverse cast, making it much different than many of the other bigger films coming out of Hollywood. But it’s not just that that’s making the films exciting, but it’s the newest additions to the cast as well. With the additions of Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, Gal Gadot and Luke Evans over the past few films, the series has gained some fun and great characters, as they mixed in with the fan favorites.
But it looks like some familiar blood is returning this time, and it could mean trouble for Diesel’s Dom and his crew. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Statham confirmed he’d be returning for the popular heist franchise’s eight outing, as the villain Deckard Shaw:
“We’re already talking about doing another one, Part 8. I’m a newcomer, I just got invited to the party in this last one, so it’s nice to know I’m going to be doing another.”
Now this is very interesting, because last we saw Statham, he wasn’t exactly in a place where his character would return, and it makes me very curious how they’ll handle this.
For those who haven’t seen the last film, the following will contain spoilers.
As the last film showed, Luke Evan’s Owen Shaw was still alive, and Statham’s Deckard was out for revenge against the people who put his baby brother in the hospital. But Dom has the last word, as he beat Deckard during the film’s finale, and he was taken to a maximum security prison by Hobbes (Dwayne Johnson), where he was surrounded by a large arsenal of weapons that would shoot to kill if he moved wrong.
It’ll be interesting to see if Evans will be returning, breaking his brother out of prison, as they go after Dom and his crew once more. The two of them could end up proving a very formidable problem, especially if they’re working under Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody, who was originally going to be set up as this third trilogy’s central villain, before the passing of Paul Walker. It’s an interesting scenario, and one I’d be game to see play out.
Even more interesting could be the idea that the Shaw brothers have to team up with Dom and his crew to fight Mr. Nobody, who is out to bury both families, once and for all. The dynamic could be very interesting, especially pitting them in a situation where they must learn to trust each other instead of going to war as they had previously. There’s so many directions to run with it, I’m curious to see just what Universal and Diesel have in mind.
Now, while I don’t necessarily think the series needs another outing, Universal would be foolish not to continue forward. The last film, as mentioned before, was the fast film to cross $1 Billion until its record was recently broken, and the demand for more will certainly be there after the last one. Though it’ll be interesting to see how many people want to see the series continue without Paul Walker’s Brian, who was really the focal point of the series throughout almost all its entirety. Without him, it’ll certainly feel a little more hollow, but I have faith in Diesel, and the people at Universal, that they’ll push the franchise forward correctly, and honor Paul’s legacy even more.
With the film set for an April 14, 2017 release, it won’t be long now until we start to see more of the pieces falling into place for the production. With James Wan taking on Aquaman, and Justin Lin boldly going into space with Star Trek Beyond, it could take both out of the running for director of this eighth film, leaving the director’s chair wide open. Whoever takes over is going to have some tough shoes to fill, but hopefully whoever it is can push the series to its boundaries of fun and insanity, much as the last few films have done, without losing the central heart of it all: the characters.
Fast and Furious 8 will open April 14, 2017.