Recently we reported that, despite Universal Pictures having a banner year and their Furious 7 film grossing over $1.5 billion, the follow-up film in the franchise has had some behind-the-scenes issues when it comes to landing a director. Dubbed Furious 8, since it follows in the footsteps of the previous film, the newest installment in the hotrod-centric franchise was presumed to have director James Wan on board since Universal had options on him directing both the 8th and 9th films. The difficulties of Furious 7‘s production stemming from Paul Walker’s untimely death, and the fact that Wan wanted to direct The Conjuring 2 for Warner Bros. led to Wan departing the Furious franchise.
Universal then went back to previous franchise director Justin Lin to see if he’d be interested; he opted to direct Paramount’s Star Trek Beyond instead. When the studio then went back to Wan with a reportedly “life-altering” amount of money to return … and he declined … a new wrinkle in the movie’s production difficulties was revealed. Enter star and producer Vin Diesel, who was reported as being “extraordinarily difficult” by behind-the-scenes sources. However, Diesel’s production partner Neal Moritz said that, “Obviously, if there was any issue, we wouldn’t be making the eighth [film] with [Diesel] right now.” As a shepherd of the franchise and an actor beholden to his fans, Diesel felt the need to clear the air.
Check out what Diesel had to say on his Facebook page below:
To clarify, it sounds like Diesel is referencing films Furious 8 through Furious 10 when he references the “last Trilogy to end the saga.” While this hurts my brain that a trilogy is ending (temporarily, at least) a film franchise at 10 films rather than nine, that logical incongruity makes sense in the physics-defying world of Fast & Furious. It’s also a little confusing that Diesel refers to the eighth installment as Fast 8 rather than Furious 8, but who knows; we’ve already had The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, and Furious 7.
Another interesting insight into Diesel’s comment is that it seems like he’s the one who’s been the gatekeeper for the new film’s director. This has led to speculation that Diesel himself would be directing the next film and possibly each installment of the final trilogy. He’s certainly embedded himself as a creative force behind the scenes of the production, so this is, for some, a logical progression for Diesel and his career. The fact that he’ll soon be announcing the directors on his own Facebook page says quite a bit: he’ll either toot his own horn, or be the herald of his franchise’s next director. Either way, Diesel remains as essential to the supercar franchise as his namesake itself.
Would you want to see Diesel in the director’s chair for the final trilogy? Let us know!