Fast & Furious franchise to reach end of the road after two more films

Fast & Furious franchise to reach end of the road after two more films

The long-running Fast & Furious movie franchise is to come to an end after two more films, according to reports.

Justin Lin will direct what will be the 10th and 11th films in the series, Deadline and Variety said.

The ninth film in the franchise will be released in May 2021, having been put back a year by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The action-packed film series began in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious, starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and the late Paul Walker.

The franchise has since expanded to incorporate eight direct sequels, one movie spin-off and an animated TV series.

The series – which includes last year’s Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw – has so far generated $5.7bn (£4.3bn) worldwide.

Furious 7, released in 2015, is the most successful instalment to date, having made $1.5bn (£1.1bn).

According to Deadline, the final two films are likely to tell “a big story” that will reunite all the series’ core cast members. Distributor Universal has been approached for comment.

When The Fast and the Furious was released in 2001, few predicted it would spawn a global box office behemoth.

Modest in scale and named after a 1954 B-movie, its story of an undercover cop who infiltrates a group of vehicle-hijacking street racers was a hit with audiences, but was met with critical derision.

“The Fast and the Furious… scarcely lives up to its title,” sneered Entertainment Weekly, while The Washington Post dubbed it “Rebel Without a Cause without a cause”.

The BBC’s Neil Smith, though, gave a warm welcome to “a visceral, high-octane, Formula One of a flick” that was “the best movie of the summer”.

Walker returned, minus Diesel, in 2 Fast 2 Furious, which saw him and new co-star Tyrese Gibson fall foul of a Miami drug lord under the late John Singleton’s direction.

That was followed in 2006 by The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which saw a new character – Lucas Black’s Sean Boswell – become involved in illegal street racing in Japan.

It was 2009’s Fast & Furious, however, that set the template for the series’ subsequent development as a globetrotting action franchise in the James Bond mould.

The film saw Brian O’Conner (Walker) and Dominic Toretto (Diesel) reunite and join forces to bring down a Mexican drug cartel.

Fast Five (2011) took the formula to Rio and introduced Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Luke Hobbs, a US enforcement agent intent on bringing Toretto to justice.

In 2013, Fast & Furious 6 took the team to London before climaxing with an explosive showdown involving a cargo plane attempting to take off. The BBC subsequently calculated that a runway would need to be 18.37 miles (29.6km) long for the 13-minute sequence to be achieved in reality.

Fast & Furious 7 followed in 2015, although its release was overshadowed by Walker’s tragic death in a car accident in December 2013.

The film was the usual mix of outrageous stunts and exotic locations, but ended with a poignant coda that served as a tribute to the departed actor.

2017’s F8, aka The Fate of the Furious, introduced Charlize Theron as a new adversary and saw nuclear submarines join the series’ collection of high-performance vehicles.

2019’s Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, meanwhile, saw Johnson’s character form a testy alliance with reformed criminal Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham.

Over the years, the Fast & Furious ensemble has expanded to incorporate such actors as Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot, rapper Ludacris and Dame Helen Mirren.

The series has also spawned the Netflix animated series Fast & Furious Spy Racers as well as video games, live shows and theme park attractions.

Fast & Furious 9, aka F9, had been due for release in April but was put back by 11 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The film, which was shot in London and Edinburgh as well as Georgia and Thailand, is now scheduled for release in May 2021.

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