Though Fast & Furious 6 doesn’t come out until next month, we’ve known for some time that Universal plans on moving forward with a seventh installment in the franchise. Fast Five director Justin Lin initially mulled over the idea of shooting Fast 6 and 7 back-to-back, but instead opted to shoot the Europe-set Fast & Furious 6 separately. Last week franchise star Vin Diesel suggested that filming on Fast & Furious 7 was set to get underway as early as this summer, and since that kind of schedule would necessitate a very quick turnaround from the cast and crew, most surmised that Lin would be returning as the director.
However, today word comes that Lin has decided not to direct Fast & Furious 7 after all, which would have marked his fifth film in the series. Hit the jump for much more.
Per THR, Lin informed studio execs late last night that he will not be returning to direct the seventh Fast & Furious film. Universal wants to get things moving on Fast 7 as quickly as possible and was hoping the pic would be ready for a 2014 release, and as a result Lin “felt the rush would not result in his best work.” Lin—who first burst onto the scene with his 2002 Sundance hit Better Luck Tomorrow—has helmed a total of four films in the franchise thus far, including Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6, and series exhaustion is also said to be a factor in his decision.
Lin has a number of interesting films on his development slate that he can choose from for his next project, including the sci-fi thriller Hibernation, an action-thriller adaptation of an upcoming Patrick Lee novel for Warner Bros., the manga adaptation Lone Wolf and Cub, the racially-charged drama L.A. Riots, and an adaptation of the play Chinglish. Though I’m a big fan of Lin’s work with Fast Five, I’d be interested to see him tackle something smaller and more dramatic as his Fast 6 follow-up.
The report notes that there’s no animosity between Lin and the studio or his castmembers, and it appears that he left the series on amicable terms. Universal still wants to get Fast & Furious 7 on track for a summer 2014 release, so they are now on the hunt for another director with a decision expected as early as next week. Fast Five’s global box office haul of $626 million is indeed a major factor in the studio’s planning for the next sequel, but hopefully the rush doesn’t result in a half-assed tentpole. One year is a very short time period in which to prep, shoot, and edit a major studio film, and there are also the intricate set pieces and stunts to factor in as well.
A recent spoilery rumor about the ending of Fast & Furious 6 (do not click if you don’t want to know) gives us an idea of where the series is headed for the next film, so hopefully Universal ropes in a talented filmmaker with an interesting vision for the franchise. Fast 6 takes the characters into more of a heist-oriented direction rather than the street racing theme of the previous films, so we can reasonably expect that Universal will continue that route with Fast 7.
What about you, dear readers? Who do you think should step in and direct the next Fast & Furious movie?