My well-documented love for the Fast & Furious franchise is the only reason I’m writing this piece because the source seems incredibly shaky, and based on his wording, I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up not being true. But Deadline’s Mike Fleming has the following to say about director Justin Lin possibly returning to the Fast franchise:
I am not getting anything from the studio on this, but here’s what I hear: I expect Lin and Universal to begin talking again about him directing a multi-part production that will lead to multiple movies shot together and will wave the checkered flag on the Fast & Furious franchise.
So he’s not hearing anything from studio sources, but he is hearing that he’s expecting talks to begin? Who’s he hearing that from? Himself? Like I said, this sounds super shaky to me, almost completely like speculation on Fleming’s part – except for the bit about a multi-part production leading to multiple movies shot simultaneously that put a bow on this series of films. That leads me to believe that he does have someone on the inside who’s feeding him info. If this was a story about any other franchise, I’d ignore it because of how questionable it sounds, but because I really, truly love these movies, I figured it was worth parsing through just in case it ends up being true.
Lin returning to the franchise makes a good amount of sense, especially if it’s indeed true that Universal wants to end the franchise. Lin and writer Chris Morgan have been the guiding creative force throughout the majority of these films, so it stands to reason that Lin would want to come back to finish it off on his terms. He has some freedom in his schedule now that the Bourne Legacy sequel he was supposed to make with Jeremy Renner has been indefinitely bumped in favor of Matt Damon’s reunion with Paul Greengrass in the Bourne franchise, and Fleming expects talks to begin after Lin knocks out the first two episodes of “True Detective” season two.
But does Universal actually want to end this franchise? That’s the big question, because it’s a massive moneymaker for them, and in the blockbuster culture we live in today, it seems like they’d want to hang on to a sure thing for as long as possible. But we’re going on 15 years since the original film debuted, and Vin Diesel and company can only pull off these crazy stunts for so long before it starts turning into a new Expendables. Maybe Lin will be able to set up a passing of the torch scenario to a younger generation so Universal can keep revving this up every few years, but I feel like a lot of the magic from this franchise (as goofy as it sounds) comes from the sense of family created by this particular iteration of the cast.
Handing it off to a new group worked in The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift (although that’s one of my least favorites in the franchise, personally), but will it work again? We’re years away from finding out the answer to that question, but for now, the future of the Fast franchise is up in the air after Furious 7 director James Wan announced his return to the world of horror films, and I would love to see Lin come back for another film or two to bring this story to a close. What do you think?
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