It's hard to believe that The Fate of the Furious is actually the eighth movie in the Fast & Furious franchise. That's second only to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in current series. Fans have stuck with the franchise through thick and thin (and ill-advised trips to Tokyo), mostly thanks to the beloved ensemble cast that is always up for more. But The Fate of the Furious marks a turning point in the series. After star Paul Walker died midway through filming Furious 7, some fans thought the franchise would be over. But with a Fate of the Furious trilogy on the horizon, that's about to change.
Plans for a Fast 9 and Fast 10 (as they're lovingly referred to by fans) are already in motion. And, as the first film without Walker since 2006's Tokyo Drift, The Fate of the Furious has been tasked with reinventing the franchise and kicking off a brand new trilogy. To that end, the film has added to its already large ensemble cast. Of course, stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris are all back, with a few returning players from Furious 7, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Jason Statham. But The Fate of the Furious will also debut a few new characters, including Charlize Theron's mysterious villain, Cipher, Scott Eastwood's government agent, and Helen Mirren, whose role has not yet been revealed.
Speaking about the new cast during an event at CinemaCon, Diesel specifically noted that a few would hopefully be staying on for future films. "As the world sees this movie, they'll see how its the beginning of a new trilogy," Diesel said. It's true, The Fate and the Furious appears to be taking the franchise in an entirely new direction. Dom, the man Diesel has played since the original The Fast and the Furious, now finds himself on opposite sides of his family. In the new film, Dom is actually working with Cipher, which puts him squarely against Hobbs (Johnson), Letty (Rodriguez), and the rest of the crew. It's something director F. Gary Gray believes will help bring something new to the franchise.
"I was very, very conscious of: 'Why would you go see the eighth installment of a franchise?' You have to give them something new," Gray said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "Dom going rogue, going against the family, I thought that was an amazing idea, and I wanted to be responsible for that."
The fact that Gray is new to the franchise is also sure to set a new tone for the coming trilogy. Though, whether or not he'll return to the franchise to complete a trilogy, like director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6), remains to be seen. Regardless of who is behind the wheel, more Fast & Furious movies are inevitable at this point. So buckle up, this new ride is just beginning.