'Fast & Furious' Is Heading In A New Direction That Fans Definitely Didn't Expect

Fans of the Fast and Furious franchise won't have to wait between big-budget blockbusters for their share of speeding car chases, muscled heroes, and gravity-defying vehicle stunts. On Monday, DreamWorks Animation and Netflix announced an animated Fast & Furious series. The series will be the action franchise's first foray into episodic storytelling, and it will introduce new characters that have never been seen before in the movie universe.

According to the press release, the series will follow teenager Tony Toretto, the little cousin to Dominic "Dom" Toretto, who is played in the movies by Vin Diesel. He and his crew are recruited by a government agency to infiltrate a racing league that is secretly controlled by a nefarious crime organization. The baddies are, of course, bent on world domination, unless Tony and his buddies can stop them — presumably by driving really cool cars really fast and pulling out some super slick driving maneuvers.

The show is being executive produced by animation veterans Tim Hendrick, who worked on Voltron Legendary Defender (another series where teenagers have to save the world), and Bret Haaland from the Madagascar-spinoff series All Hail King Julien. The executive producers behind the incredibly successful live-action movies — Diesel, Neal Moritz and Chris Morgan — are also producing the cartoon series.

Unlike the movies, which are all rated PG-13 and frequently include strong language, sexual situations, and violence, the animated series is being specifically created by Netflix and DreamWorks under the kids and family programming umbrella. This is probably good news for parents with little ones who love the Fast & Furious line of toys and children's merchandise — think backpacks, action figures, and toy cars — but don't really like the idea of their child watching Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson getting in all out brawls. The choice to focus this show on a younger teenage cousin of Dom's makes it easier to gear the content more toward a younger audience.

For longtime fans of movies, it should come as no surprise that Tony Toretto is also into cars, as the passion seems to run in the family. Dom tells Brian (Paul Walker) in The Fast and the Furious that his dad was in the stock-car racing circuit. Dom's father died when a competitor purposefully clipped his car during a race and the vehicle crashed and caught on fire. According to Vulture, Dom also claimed in Fast Five that his dad spent his days in a garage working on cars. The ability to maneuver fast cars also extends to Dom's sister, Mia, who is shown to be more than capable of holding her own behind the wheel in Fast Five. Dom's cousin Fernando, who lives in Cuba, is also seen as capable of keeping an old junk car going long past its expected expiration date in Fate of the Furious.

Whether any of the beloved characters from the live-action movies will make an appearance on the animated series remains to be seen. At this point in the franchise, there's quite the rich tapestry of friends and enemies the cartoon could pull from for special guest appearances.

To date there have been eight Fast and Furious movies and, according to the press release, the franchise has earned more than $5 billion in the worldwide box office. The next planned film in the movie universe, is a spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, which focuses on Johnson and Jason Statham's respective characters. It's currently scheduled for a July 2019 release.

The cartoon will be good for fans who can't wait for more from the franchise. The press release reports that Fast 9 and 10 aren't planned to be released until April 2020 and April 2021 — that's a long time to wait for more high-pressure car chases.