Movies & TV / Columns

Where Does Fast & Furious Go After F9?

June 28, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
F9 John Cena Vin Diesel, WWE (from left) Dom (Vin Diesel) and Jakob (John Cena) in F9, directed by Justin Lin.

Before we begin, let’s take a moment and think about where the Fast & Furious started and where it’s at now. Pretty impressive for a franchise whose first movie was described as, “Not Point Break so much as Point Less.” I remember when Vin Diesel rejected $20 million to reprise the role of Dominic Toretto in 2 Fast 2 Furious. The series continued and Diesel had a change of heart and came back for the fourth chapter, Fast & Furious and the franchise never looked back.  

The box office debut of F9 opened with a $70 million take in North America, the biggest start for a movie at the U.S. box office since 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

“The bold decision we made to move F9 back a year was absolutely spot on,” says Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “Our release has ignited the domestic box office and it’s setting the market for a great summer.”

At this point you are either all in on the over-the-top adventures or it’s a hard pass and nothing the franchise does will change your mind. Still, it’s fun to think about what’s next for the crew, especially when it feels like all bets are off in keeping it grounded in reality. 

Take Vin Diesel’s recent interview where he sat on the Kelly Clarkson Show earlier this week. Clarkson asked Diesel if he had any interest in a Fast & Furious musical, and, while you might think he would have brushed it off, he gave a serious answer saying, “I’m dying to do a musical, so yes, I would!”

As crazy as it sounds, I could see that happening. 

Then we have those rumors about Fast & Furious crossing over with…Jurassic Park. As silly as it sounds, the idea is filtering to the top as director Colin Trevorrow talked about the idea saying, “I don’t want to say anything because then the memes will stop. Reality is just not as much fun. I mean, have I ever heard anything about a franchise crossover? Of course not. But do I enjoy seeing people take it really seriously on Twitter? I do. So, let’s just keep having fun with the what-ifs.”

Chris Pratt is down for the crossover. As is Tyrese Gibson, who told, “I don’t know nothing about that, man. I’m thinking that the crossover would be more Transformers and Fast than Jurassic Park. Cars that become robots and vice versa. We can do that at first and then get to dinosaurs.”
Yes. He went to Transformers, which makes sense when you think about it. 

We finish with something that’s been joked about for years and recently was mentioned in an interview before. As things get bigger and bigger on the big screen, where else left do they have to go but space? The final…fun-tier?
Look, I’m all for it. Once the franchise accepted its “over-the-top” reputation and started amping up the action, things got interesting. With bigger and better action sequences along with high profile villains, I wouldn’t mind seeing a screen full of high energy moon rovers doing jumps on the moon.

While we’re supposedly nearing the end of the Fast franchise, don’t believe it. We have more spin-offs coming and as long as the box office receipts stay big, they’ll keep churning them out. No matter where they go. 
How do you explain the massive success and popularity of the Fast & The Furious saga?

Take a quick glance at the cast list for this series and and you’ll find the main characters are made up of people of different genders, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. What makes this even better is each character makes sense and they don’t make a big deal about it. It feels organic and fresh when you compare it to the typical action movie with a white lead and they throw in a minority as the “best friend”. Nothing about Fast & Furious feels forced, outside a couple of corny jokes from Tyrese. They even have strong female characters, both physically and mentally, that are both interesting and don’t feel shoehorned in.

As funny as this might sound, when you consider the movie we’re talking about, there’s a very real message about unifying and overcoming the differences of race, gender, and nationality to achieve their goal. Also, each member is shown to have a talent that is necessary to accomplish the mission. Each of them is talented but they need each other for the greater good.

Make no mistake, they fill the screen with good looking people, male and female, but everyone is unique in their characterization. Not something you’d expect but it makes the movies more enticing to a wider range of audience.  

Going hand-in-hand with diversity, we have a cast made up of a variety of backgrounds. That by itself is great but a movie is only as strong as its weakest link. In the Fast & Furious universe, they are pretty solid. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Eva Mendes, Sung Kang, Bow Wow, Gal Gadot, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, John Cena…each one feels perfect for the part they play and enticing to audiences. Who wasn’t excited when it was announced that The Rock was joining the cast and we caught a glimpse of him fighting Vin in the trailer back in the day?

Without going into over detail, this cast just feels fun and it shows on-screen.

The International Market
Over the course of the series, the international market has grown. Give thanks to moving the plot locations from the US to around the world. International settings = a thankful global market. It ties in to the diverse cast as well. It seems almost everyone has someone to root for and no one feels like a throwaway bit supporting character. 

This movie is bigger than people think and if you track the numbers from other countries you can see just how big. 

They Know What They Are and Evolve
Action! The first Fast & Furious was based on a magazine article called ‘Racer X’ by Ken Li, who wrote about the underground LA sub-culture of illegal street racing. That script was given a bare bones budget and cast with two relatively unknown stars. While the first three chapters focused on street racing, the latter chapters have pushed the boundaries and added high octane car action and hard hitting action. It’s that action that has evolved and created a “must see” vibe to the movies.

“I don’t have friends. I got family.” With all the over-the-top stunts and thrills, at its heart, it’s a movie about family. They may go a little overboard reminding audiences of that but when you see these characters interact and what they do for one another, you believe in the relationship these characters have.

You always hear about popcorn movies and that usually carries a negative stigma. When it comes to Fast & Furious, it applies but in a more positive way. Yes, this movie appeals to a mass audience. It’s not high culture by any means and it knows that. It has established its own universe and the rules the characters live by. It’s an action series that has featured illegal street racing and heists and audiences have connected with it. Maybe it doesn’t need an explanation outside it has an x-factor that can’t be pinpointed.

What’s the future hold? We all know that as long as it makes money, the future is whatever they want.