Movies that earn more than $1 billion worldwide tend to produce sequels. As such, Fast and Furious 8 was a no-brainer. Yet, the ridiculously lucrative Furious 7 ended with real closure, and raised some burning questions. Can the series continue following the death of Paul Walker? Should the series tell more stories in the lives of these now iconic screen characters, or is it time to let the Fast & Furious crew drive off into the sunset on one of the highest notes in franchise history?
That conversation -- especially in the Fast & Furious fan community -- is ongoing, but at least we have a definitive answer. Fast & Furious 8 is happening, and it's actually almost here! But there remain a ton of questions about who will be involved both in front of and behind the camera. Let's dig in to all that we already know about the upcoming Fast & Furious sequel:
When Does Fast 8 Open In Theaters?
Once Universal decided that they'd actually be moving ahead with the next Fast & Furious adventure, they went about circling a release date. They needed enough time to finish off a screenplay, and to find a new director, as Furious 7 helmer James Wan was moving on to Aquaman. More on the replacement in a moment, but Fast 8 will open everywhere on April 14, 2017. That means that it will compete against Open Road's animated Spark, as well as Fox Searchlight's Gifted, but that basically means Fast 8 has the weekend to itself.
What Will Fast 8 Be Rated?
We'd have to guess, at this moment, because the movie's deep into post-production now, and we haven't seen any real footage. (A trailer has to drop soon, right?) However, since all of the movies in the franchise have reached theaters with a PG-13 rating, I'd be stunned if Fast 8 was anything but PG-13, as well.
Who Is Directing Fast 8?
This is the first major twist when it comes to Fast 8. The gang is moving forward with a bold new director in F. Gary Gray, who recently delivered the critically acclaimed Straight Outta Compton for Universal. While Gray has a few tense thrillers on his resume, including the underrated The Italian Job and A Man Apart with Vin Diesel, he's never helmed a Fast film before. Thankfully, these are such well-oiled machines, they basically run themselves, right? Right?! The Fast series has been a great proving ground for directors, passing the baton to the likes of Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond) and James Wan (The Conjuring). We can't wait to see what Gray brings to this table.
Which Cast Members Are Coming Back?
Vin Diesel said it best. These aren't his friends. They are family, which is why cast members keep returning, movie after movie, to be part of whatever madness is cooked up on the streets of the next Furious story. The crew found a way to bid farewell to Brian (Paul Walker) at the end of Furious 7. But that doesn't mean the wheels stop turning. We expect practically everyone to be back for Fast 8, starting with Vin Diesel. Outside of 2 Fast, 2 Furious -- the movie that brought Tyrese into the fold -- Diesel has been a part of every Fast chapter, and it won't end here.
And, of course, The Rock will be back as Hobbs, the one time antagonist who finally saw the error of his ways and stopped tracking Dominic Toretto long enough to join his crew. Hobbs was largely sidelined in Furious 7 after a bone-crunching fight with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). From early photos of The Rock in Iceland -- and behind bars -- we expect him to play a MUCH larger role in this new story. However, The Rock has been making a lot of headlines BEHIND the scenes for stirring the pot and calling out male co-stars for being "candy-asses" on set. Are YOU going to argue with him?