The Fast and Furious series is about to get even bigger. Producer and star Vin Diesel has recently revealed the team behind the car racing franchise is plotting to extend the Fast and Furious universe with a set of prequels and spin-offs.
According to Variety, the franchise is taking a page out of Star Wars and Marvel’s notebook, with plans to produce films based on some of the various supporting characters in the series. Though the project is only in the preliminary stages, the stars and producers have reportedly already begun plotting out specific ideas for follow-up flicks and prequels.
“We’ve written out story lines for various characters,” Diesel said, per Variety. “We’ve been playing with it for a long time. It’s a very rich property and we’re committed to treating it with a lot of class.”
Diesel didn’t say exactly which characters would be getting their own films, but the studio has made it clear that it’s willing to back the projects, as long as the respective actors are on board. “We’re certainly in conversations about how we can expand the franchise now,” Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley said. “It’s an ensemble cast and there’s room to bring characters in and out.”
It’s not exactly a surprise that Universal would want to stay in business with the Fast and Furious franchise for as long as possible. The series has been a huge moneymaker for the studio throughout its seven-film run. The most recent installment, Furious 7, grossed $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office upon its release earlier this year.
If the studio does move forward with plans to launch spinoffs and prequels, it would only be the latest to do so. Marvel has successfully employed the strategy with its Avengers movies and the Star Wars franchise also recently embraced the idea, adding a new trilogy with origin stories focused on Han Solo and others.
But while Universal may be contemplating new spinoffs and prequels for the future, it’s focusing most of its attention on the upcoming planned Fast and Furious trilogy for now. As Diesel and the studio has described, fans should expect the next three films to boast a different tone than that of the previous seven. Instead of focusing on amping up the action and adventure stunts, the forthcoming trilogy of films will place more attention on storytelling.
This shift in focus is why the studio decided to bring in a more unexpected pick of director for its eighth installment in the franchise. After an extensive search, Universal eventually hired F. Gary Gray, the helmer of Straight Outta Compton, to oversee the next movie in the series. It’s a choice that the stars and studio are hoping will help the franchise find the new, grittier tone it’s been looking for.
“We have a director who is going to bring the darkness out and bring out the character,” Diesel told Variety. So what exactly can fans expect? Diesel suggested the next Fast and Furious film will be similar in tone to that of his previous collaboration with Gray, the dark 2003 thriller A Man Apart.
With the studio and Diesel’s attention focused on Furious 8, 9, and 10, it seems any possible prequels or spin-offs wouldn’t hit theaters for a while — probably until after the next three sequels are completed. Either way, it’s clear the franchise isn’t done dominating the box office just yet.
Furious 8 is currently scheduled to hit theaters on April 14, 2017.