One aspect that has particularly allowed the Fast And The Furious to grow in popularity over the years is the way in which its regularly added to its central ensemble. Going back to Fast Five, which was the movie that brought Dwayne Johnson into the fold, there has been a pattern of not only casting notable names, but keeping them around for more than just one story. This is a list that includes Johnson as well as Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, and Luke Evans, and now Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren can be added to that list as well.
Mirren is already set to make her second appearance in the franchise later this summer with a small part in David Leitch's Hobbs and Shaw, but Vin Diesel is now confirming via his personal Instagram account that that both she and Charlize Theron will have roles to play in Justin Lin's developing Fast & Furious 9. There is no word yet about their specific involvement - including the sizes of their individual roles, or how they fit into the plot - but they join a growing ensemble that is also set to include Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, and newcomer John Cena.
Both actresses made their debuts in the series in the most recent chapter - F. Gary Gray's The Fate Of The Furious - but at this point they exist at very different points on the hero/villain spectrum. Helen Mirren plays Magdalene Shaw, who is not only the mother to both Owen (Luke Evans) and Deckard (Jason Statham), but a powerful criminal in her own right. You'd think that this would put her more on the antagonist side of things, but her biggest contribution to the larger story so far is helping Vin Diesel's Dom when he came to her requesting help protecting his son.
On the other hand, Charlize Theron's Cipher is a maniac and definitely one of the bad guys. She was the central villain in The Fate Of The Furious, which was a chapter that not only saw her try and start a nuclear war, but also kidnap and kill people that Dom loves. It's worth mentioning that a heroic turn may not be totally outside the realm of possibility, as there are many #JusticeForHan supporters who wonder why the Family decided to embrace Deckard Shaw after Furious 7, but it's far more likely that Cipher will simply be causing more chaos and havoc in Fast & Furious 9.
The upcoming sequel in the action franchise is now about three weeks into production, and they're likely trying to move quickly as Universal has plans to have the finished feature in theaters worldwide during Memorial Day weekend next year. Updates keep coming from the set on a regular basis, so be on the look out for more news about Fast & Furious 9.
For those of you who simply can't wait 10 months for more of this cinematic universe, you'll be happy to know that a perfect scratch for your itch is now just a few weeks away. Hobbs and Shaw, which is the first spin-off created for the Fast & Furious franchise, is set to arrive in theaters everywhere on August 2nd, and we'll have tons of coverage coming your way here on CinemaBlend.