Increasingly the Fast and Furious franchise has felt like a superhero franchise. A group of heroes with seemingly infinite strength and abilities taking on the bad guys and becoming a family in the process. It's like Avengers meets the Fantastic Four, but with a lot of cars. With the movies already up to Part 7 and Paul Walker sadly gone, the series can't go on forever. So, how do they continue the brand? Just like the superheroes do: with spinoffs.
Fast and Furious
In a few days it will finally arrive: Furious 7, the latest and biggest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. And while the death of series star Paul Walker does put a damper on some of the excitement, this is still a great time to celebrate one of Hollywood’s most reliable and inventive franchises. In 15 years, Fast & Furious has evolved from a simple B-movie about a couple of street racers to an international crime epic spanning multiple continents and dozens of characters.
When Furious 7 premiered to an enthusiastic audience last week during the SXSW film festival, the screening was unsurprisingly focused on the absence of Paul Walker. Universal, director James Wan and the rest of the cast had a strange and difficult task. How, exactly, do you finish a movie when one of your leading men passed away in the middle of filming? And now that the film is finished, how do you address the elephant in the room?
Furious 7 almost certainly won’t be the last Fast & Furious movie. But at times it feels like a series finale. There are numerous callbacks and homages to the franchise’s entire 15-year history. The setpieces are bigger and crazier than ever; it’s hard to imagine anyone topping them. And before the chases really get rolling, the mood is often downright mournful. Two different scenes are set in graveyards, and characters talk about taking “one last ride” together.
There’s plenty of stuff to make fun of in the Fast and Furious franchise. I’m just not sure I want Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the men behind such toxically unfunny spoofs as Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and The Starving Games, telling the jokes. Nonetheless, here comes Superfast!, Friedberg and Seltzer’s lampoon of the seven Fast films starring Vin Diesel, the late Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, and an inordinate amount of baby oil. (And, yes, there’s a baby oil joke right in the trailer.)
Earlier this week, it was reported that Justin Lin was being courted by Universal to return to the ‘Fast and Furious’ series after taking ‘Furious 7’ off and giving the director's seat to James Wan. It was also reported that his return would be be part of a two film “grand finale” that would send this beloved franchise driving off into the sunset. But that second part is just plain silly. Have you seen the box office receipts for these movies? So it should come as no surprise that the studio has “at least three” more Dominic Toretto and company adventures in the pipeline.
Justin Lin may return to direct "a multi-part production that will lead to multiple movies shot together and will wave the checkered flag on the 'Fast & Furious' franchise."
There is no easy way to finish 'Fast and Furious 7' without being somewhat insensitive toward the tragic death of series lead Paul Walker, but the cast and crew found the best and most noble solution imaginable. We already knew that Walker's brothers were going to join the production to help finish the film as body doubles, but they officially arrived on set and it looks like this plan is going to work.
After years of playing second fiddle to Disney in the theme park business, Universal is officially coming out swinging. In addition to an expanded focus on their Harry Potter and Simpsons licenses, and a new 'Despicable Me' ride, they have finally announced an attraction based on their massively popular 'Fast and Furious' franchise.
In the weeks following the tragic death of Paul Walker, Universal and the crew of 'Fast and Furious 7' have been forced to drastically course correct the direction of the blockbuster franchise. With little time to mourn and countless jobs and dollars on the line, sources reveal director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan and executive Jeffrey Kirschenbaum will gracefully "retire" Walker's Brian O'Conner from the series using footage already shot for the film.