After the huge commercial and critical success of Furious 7, talk of a possible eighth film in the hugely popular franchise immediately started circulating. With the sequel now quickly approaching its premiere date, details about what fans can expect have gradually started to surface. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming movie, entitled The Fate of the Furious, so far.
1. The official title is The Fate of the Furious
Considering that each installment of the franchise has been titled a variation of the original The Fast and Furious, it was previously unclear what the eighth movie would be called. Though initial reports suggested that the upcoming flick would be called Fast 8, the title has since been officially changed to The Fate of the Furious. This follows last year’s Furious 7 and the preceding Fast & Furious 6 and Fast Five.
2. The cast
While Diesel will obviously be front and center, he’s not the only former cast member returning to the scene. So far, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Kurt Russell have all confirmed that they will reprise their roles as Hobbs (seen below), Deckard Shaw, and Mr. Nobody respectively. Michelle Rodriguez (Letty), Tyrese Gibson (Roman), and Ludacris (Tej) are also presumed to be returning. Nathalie Emmanuel has also been confirmed to reprise her role as hacker Ramsey in Fate of the Furious.
As for new characters, Game of Thrones star Kristofer Hivju has been tapped to play one of the villain’s main henchmen. Deadline also reports that the movie is also adding an exciting new character to be played by Scott Eastwood. According to the film’s Twitter account, Eastwood will play a new protégé to Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody.
Helen Mirren has officially joined the cast in the upcoming sequel, although details of her role have not been revealed. Vin Diesel took to social media to post a photo of her on set (see below).
3. The villain
Last year, it was revealed that the writers were hoping to bring a fierce female villain into the story. Rumors surfaced that Charlize Theron, who delivered an acclaimed gritty performance in Mad Max: Fury Road, was being eyed for the part, but Theron didn’t officially close a deal to star in the upcoming movie until May.
Specific details of her character haven’t been revealed yet, although Diesel has dropped some hints about what to expect. “Wait until you meet Cipher,” Diesel wrote on Facebook of her casting. “Of all her films you have never seen this character [Theron] has created… she has truly brought her A game to this saga and we are all grateful for it.”
Fast franchise composer Brian Tyler also recently described Theron’s character to EW. “It’s like a siren kind of thing,” he said. “There’s no question the havoc and villainy she brings [but] you’re attracted to it. There’s something where you can kind of see yourself in this villain that makes it more disturbing and, at the same time, more interesting. It’s the sympathetic villains, in a way, who really get under your skin.”
4. F. Gary Gray will direct
After months of speculation that the movie was having problems finding a director and that Diesel himself may take over helming duties, Universal finally tapped F. Gary Gray to direct. The filmmaker most recently helmed the critically acclaimed Straight Outta Compton. He also has plenty of action experience, having previously helmed The Italian Job, A Man Apart, and The Negotiator.
Gray recently discussed the challenge of taking on the franchise, although he declined to reveal the specifics of his vision. “All I have to say is I’m extremely excited about the direction we’re going in, and we’re really pushing to make sure the audience feels like it’s not more of the same,” he told Collider. “They feel like it’s fresh, they feel like the characters they’ve come to know and love are there, but this is gonna be different, and that’s probably the most I can give you right now. It’s kind of top secret.”
5. It will kick off a franchise-concluding trilogy of films
As Diesel revealed to his fans on Facebook, The Fate of the Furious will mark the first of a new trilogy of films that will ultimately end the franchise altogether. “Universal has been so good to me and so trusting of the vision… they have been like family… I promised the studio I would deliver one last trilogy to end the saga,” the actor explained of the project.
As fans know, Furious 7 concluded the story of Paul Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner’s, and introduced Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody. The forthcoming trilogy is expected to kick off a new, final chapter of the franchise that will focus on Diesel’s Dom and his team facing a different set of challenges.
6. It will be set in New York
As Diesel recently confirmed on social media, the movie is set to take place in the Big Apple. After months of teasing the location on Facebook and Instagram, the actor posted a promotional poster for the film, highlighting the New York City skyline.
But it looks like the story won’t stay completely within the city’s boundaries. Per Screen Crush, Universal has also been scouting additional prospective locations in Cuba, Iceland, and Russia.
The Fate of the Furious is currently slated to hit theaters on April 14, 2017.
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