Ah, the Fast And Furious franchise. Some will argue that it didn’t really get good until Fast 5. While others will argue that the series needs to get back to its racing roots, a la, Fast 1-3. And the less we talk about Fast & Furious (number 4), the better. But with F9 coming out in May, we thought it might be interesting to talk about how the Fast And Furious series could actually improve, and we need to look no further than the MCU for inspiration.
While you might think there is no connection between Marvel’s cinematic universe and the Fast films, we’d beg to differ. Both feature larger than life characters, and both are really just live-action cartoons if we’re being completely honest with ourselves. But where the MCU is flourishing, the Fast series seems to be a little stagnant, which is kind of odd for a film series that is all about momentum and speed. But here are a few ways that the Fast series can learn from the MCU. Beep beep, vroom vroom!
While yes, Hobbs and Shaw is a step in the right direction, why has Dominic Toretto, played by the always spectacular Vin Diesel, not gotten his own solo flick yet? Why hasn’t Tej Parker, played by Ludacris, had his own adventure? I’m not saying these films should be massively-budgeted enterprises like their tent pole series, but smaller films that relied more on the characters’ actual talents and stories would be a smart move. Marvel has been doing this for over a decade now, putting individual characters in their own solo adventures, and then having them meet up again for huge event pictures like The Avengers.
My question is, why hasn’t the Fast series done the same? Hobbs and Shaw had a questionable start at the box office, but later amassed huge numbers. But the main reason for doing this is to always keep the Fast series in the public eye, much like Marvel does with its franchises. Then, it's easy to interconnect them to the main web of the MCU. For example, I don’t really care all that much for Black Widow, and I honestly know next to nothing about The Eternals, but I’ll be seeing both of them day one because they connect to the larger universe of the MCU. The Fast series needs to do that too, and they can, with solo pictures.
Doing Female-Led Movies
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the last point, but a string of female-led movies could bring new blood into the Fast series. Sure, there was that possible female-led series hinted by Vin Diesel, but the Fast series needs to be more open about this.
President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has long been talking about how Marvel films can be more inclusive to women, and Captain Marvel is evidence that people will support female-led films if the character resonates with audiences, and it is attached to a large cinematic universe. The Fast series could really benefit from a Letty led movie. Or, how about a team-up movie featuring Letty and Mia? Honestly, how has this movie not already been made yet? People love fast cars. It really doesn’t matter who’s driving them.
Yes, there is that animated show on Netflix, Spy Racers (my son likes it), but Marvel has struck a deal to have shows on Disney+ that will become canon to the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe, and the Fast series should do that, too. Like I said up top, the budgets for these shows don’t have to be outrageous, especially since the Fast series might be coming to an end with 10.
But who says the series has to end with the movies? The Fast series could live on indefinitely if it were moved to television. It could be live-action, just like the MCU shows. And why not be creative with it, just like Wandavision? Perhaps we finally could get that Tej and Roman side story that Tyrese apparently turned down. And why not make it weird? It doesn’t have to be about fast cars. By this point, the Fast series has gone so heavily into the action territory that nobody will really care that it’s not like the movies. We just like the characters. They could put them in anything and we'd probably still watch.
If the MCU has taught us one thing, it’s that meaningful character deaths are impactful. Infinity War had fans waiting with bated breath for over a year when they saw most of their fan favorites in the MCU turn to dust at the snap of a finger. The Fast series could have a similar impact if they have meaningful character deaths or retirements. Read that again: "Meaningful."
Letty and Han have both already been “killed” off, but as we can see, Letty’s been back for a while now, and Han is on his way back for the next movie. But there is nothing like a truly meaningful character death to get people to pack in the theater. Given that Paul Walker died for real, it would have to be tastefully done since this is a series that has actually dealt with real tragedy. But Paul Walker’s character was effectively “retired”, so why not retire a major character like Dom or Hobbs? Even if the Fast series is does end at 10, maybe if they make it clear that Dom is riding off into the sunset for one last time, much the way Infinity War closed out the stories of a couple of key characters.
But what do you think? Is there anything the Fast series can do to remain in the public mind like Marvel has done with the MCU? Are TV shows the answer, or should there be even more movies and side projects that keep the mantle like Hobbs and Shaw did (Remember, it was Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw). Or, do you think it would be better if the series just ended with the movies? Sound off in the comments below. And remember, it’s all about family.