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Justin Lin’s Fast and Furious streak is about to come to a close.
According to THR, the director reportedly alerted Universal Studio executives that he will not be coming back to direct the planned seventh installment in the long-running muscle-car franchise. Lin first started on the Fast track with 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. He has made four Fast films to date, including Fast & Furious 6, which will be in theaters on May 24.
The sources speaking to the trade cite two reasons for Lin’s departure. First, the timing. Universal wants the seventh picture in theaters Summer 2014, citing a lack of legitimate tentpoles. That would mean Lin would have to start prepping Fast 7 as he finished post-production on Fast 6. That’s a grueling cycle.
Secondly, THR says Fast burnout also led to his eventual departure. The director has worked tirelessly on Fast films for years now, and there’s little doubt that he’d like to do more with his career than figuring out new ways to dangle Vin Diesel off of a speeding car.
THR says that Universal will now turn its attentions to finding a new director to dive right in and help Fast 7 stay on track for that coveted 2014 release date. They’ll have to play nice with franchise stars Diesel and Paul Walker, who no doubt will be on board for the next chapter in the series. But could the departure of Lin mean the exit of other components in the series? Could The Rock walk without Lin in the director’s chair? Or could a new filmmaker bring fresh faces that could help revitalize the series, as it has managed to reinvent itself time and again over the years? It’s time for Lin to try something new. I’m excited to see what he does next, just as I’m excited to see which director is going to have an opportunity to play in this established, high-octane sandbox.