In a surprise to absolutely no one, Vin Diesel announced today at the Universal Pictures CinemaCon presentation that Furious 8 is coming in 2017, adding “We’re going to make the best movie you’ve ever seen.” The film will be released on April 14, 2017, no doubt hoping to mimic the success of this month’s Furious 7. Currently, the Scarlett Johansson-fronted Ghost in the Shell, an untitled Universal Monsters franchise film, and Blazing Samurai are scheduled to open the same weekend.
This was more than a no-brainer, as director James Wan’s Furious 7 has already grossed an insane $1.1 billion at the box office in only three weeks of release. The picture is currently—and fittingly—the seventh highest grossing film of all time, so of course Universal was going to make another Fast & Furious movie.
The question now is where the franchise goes from here. Wan recovered about as well as anyone could’ve following the tragic death of Paul Walker in the midst of production, but the filmmaker hasn’t been shy about admitting that the experience of making the film was beyond grueling. It’s unlikely that he will return to direct—he’s next set to helm The Conjuring 2 and is being courted for Warner Bros.’ Aquaman anyway—so Universal, producer Neal Moritz, and producer/star Vin Diesel will now likely turn their attention to finding the story of Furious 8, then going out to filmmakers.
There was a rumor going around last year that Justin Lin, who directed the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth installments of the franchise, might return to helm a two-part wrap-up. He’s currently in pre-production on Star Trek 3 (or Star Trek Beyond) and it’s unclear if he’d want to take a step backwards.
But first thing’s first: Diesel and Moritz will hammer out the story for the next franchise installment. Each entry has performed better than its successor at the box office thus far, but Furious 7 is doing so well that it’s gonna be a very tough bar to match in terms of box office success. With Universal keen on making 10 Fast & Furious movies altogether, though, there’ll be plenty of chances to break the record.