On the heels of the massive success of Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray has revealed he will direct Fast and Furious 8 , currently set for an April 14, 2017 release date. This news comes two years after the sudden death of Fast and Furious star Paul Walker in an explosive car crash. Despite the loss of its star, the Fast and Furious franchise will move full speed ahead: Vin Diesel has also said that the eighth film will also be the first in a trilogy within the franchise that will draw Fast and Furious to a close at last.
Last month, Fast and Furious 7 star Michelle Rodriguez told E! that the franchise needed a solid director in order to move on without Walker, and it seems to have found its guy with Gray. Fast and Furious 7 director James Wan backed out of the sequel, and Justin Lin, who was also behind The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, Fast 5, and Fast and Furious 6, was unavailable due to conflict with Star Trek Beyond. Fast and Furious 8 was by no means a sure thing till Gray signed on, but as Diesel said at the MTV Movie Awards, "Paul used to say that 8 was guaranteed and, in some ways, when your brother guarantees something, you have to make sure it comes to pass."
Now that the director has been confirmed, the rumor mill is churning full speed ahead with speculations about what Furious 8 might have in store. Here are a few of the most compelling ideas.
1. Cody Walker Steps In
Paul Walker's brothers Cody and Caleb filled in as body doubles in order to complete Fast and Furious 7 after Walker's death. According to the Furious 8 IMDb page, Cody Walker is rumored to have a role of his own as Jack O'Conner, son of Walker's character Brian O'Conner.
2. Kurt Russell Isn't Gone Yet
Hateful 8 star Kurt Russell also appeared with a small part in Furious 7, intended to set him up for a beefier role in the upcoming Fast and Furious films. But with Walker's death, Cinema Blend reports that the ending of Furious 7 changed from its initial cliffhanger that would have logically led to a follow-up.
3. Eva Mendes Might Be Back
The actress played an undercover agent in 2 Fast 2 Furious, and returned briefly in the post-credits scene for Fast Five, and according to Cinema Blend, she might be back for Furious 8 . In any case, no explanation has been given for her departure, so it's likely her story will get wrapped up in some way. (Or not. Fast and Furious was never one to adhere to logical story lines.)
4. The Action Goes Down In New York
Vin Diesel went on Jimmy Kimmel Live to discuss Fast and Furious 7, and couldn't help but drop a few hints about Furious 8. That includes the setting for the upcoming film — New York.
5. There Will Be 10 Films In The Franchise
It was initially rumored that Furious 7 would kick off the final trilogy, but with Vin Diesel's announcement that Fast and Furious 8 will be the first of the three-part series-within-a-series, it appears that the franchise will go to 10 films.
6. There's Still Time On Lucas Black's Contract
Sean Boswell appears in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift as well as the most recent 7. But when actor Lucas Black first signed on to work on the franchise, his contract listed that he would be a part of three films in total. If not Furious 8, at least there will be two more films after that to see a Boswell return.
Hollywood has something of a fixation on the big-budget franchise in both action and horror, so perhaps it makes sense that filmmakers are trying to milk The Fast and the Furious for all it's worth. (And, at last count, it made just over $1.5 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.) The Hunger Games franchise was looked upon with some measure of incredulity when it stretched Mockingjay into two parts, but here's Fast and Furious splitting it yet again. So really, whatever doesn't come to pass in 8 is still fair game at 9 or 10.
Image: Universal Pictures