Fourteen years into the Fast and Furious franchise, and Hollywood’s most unlikely blockbuster movie series shows no signs of slowing down (not sorry). Over the course of seven movies – seven! can you imagine what you would have said to someone who told you back in 2001, when The Fast and the Furious first zoomed into theaters, that there would be seven of these films? and they would be widely adored? it’s genuinely boggling – the story of a boy, another boy, and a bunch of cars has morphed into a jaw-dropping action franchise that boasts some of the most brain-breaking stunts in modern cinema. How exactly the series did just that, moving from car racing trifle to action powerhouse (with an emphasis on family that is entirely unironic), is still surprising, but there’s no debate that it’s worked.
With Furious 7 hitting screens this weekend, the series is tasked with moving in a new direction, not only because of its ever-evolving narrative choices, but because of the tragic loss of one of its central stars, Paul Walker. Walker’s death shades the newest film (we’ll leave it at that for now), and while his Brian O’Conner will never again return for more high-speed adventures, the series is far from over. So where can it go next?
Spoilers ahead for Furious 7. Enter at your own risk, brother.
1. A New Trilogy
As part of his press tour duties, star Vin Diesel hit Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk about what’s next for the franchise. Although Fast and Furious 8 (F8st?) has not yet been officially announced, Diesel maintains that Furious 7 is intended to kickstart a new trilogy and that hints as to what’s to come are scattered about the new feature. Diesel’s new trilogy theory is solid – while the first three films are the most incongruous of the bunch, the fourth, fifth, and sixth films go together in terms of tone, direction, and plot. If the first trilogy was about racing, the second was about heists, and now we’re moving into genuine espionage territory.
2. A New Location
So how about a new location? This is a bit of a no-brainer, as every film in the franchise has literally braved new territory – Los Angeles to Miami, Tokyo to Mexico, Brazil to London, Abu Dhabi to the Caucasus Mountains, the franchise has gone almost everywhere. Well, except New York City. Another Diesel tidbit: the eighth film in the series will at least partially take place in Gotham. I’m already picturing some kind of heist involving cars in the subway system and I am getting actual chills.
3. The Return of the Shaws
One of the biggest shocks in Furious 7 is the reveal that Fast & Furious 6 baddie Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) is still alive, despite being tossed from a plane at the end of the last film. Sure, he doesn’t look so good, but his ticker is still clicking right along. Also alive? Owen’s brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), who popped up at the end of Fast & Furious 6 to launch his nefarious revenge plan against Dom and Brian’s crew. Despite getting the crap kicked out of him during Furious 7, Deckard does not die in the film, he just gets tossed into a maximum security black site that is (supposedly) impossible to break out of. Deckard’s last on-screen appearance? Vowing to break the eff out of said black site. Both Shaws are still alive, and that’s got to be for a reason.
4. The Addition of Old Friends
Although we’ve lost plenty of family members along the way, there are still scads of crew members still out there that are due for a return to the series, like all the goofballs who turned out for Fast Five and weren’t seen again. With the ranks dwindling, the series needs some new blood, which just might translate to old blood.
5. Making New Pals
Or, yes, actual new blood, too. Furious 7 ends with the addition of a new member of the crew – Nathalie Emmanuel as hacker Ramsey (someone who, quite notably, does not possess any car-driving skills whatsoever) – along with a new boss-man-type in town (Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody, who Diesel also vows will be back for more). These are the kinds of characters who will likely help steer the direction of this new trilogy – again, one that will likely be all about espionage, black ops, and the crew working more closely with the government (or, at least, government types) – to something still less car-heavy.
6. Probably Like, Cars or Something
There are always going to be cars, you guys.