‘Fast and Furious’ Will Have Faster Spin-Offs and Furiouser Prequels

We’re surprised it took this long: Vin Diesel revealed today that Universal Pictures is hard at work on developing spin-offs and prequels to the highly lucrative Fast and Furious franchise, whose seventh installment – Furious 7 – grossed over $1.5 billion internationally this year.

“We’ve written out story lines for various characters,” Diesel told Variety. “We’ve been playing with it for a long time. It’s a very rich property and we’re committed to treating it with a lot of class.”

Those “various characters” are the reason why the Fast and Furious movies need to start branching out, in more ways than one. For starters, this franchise has a diverse cast of characters, male and female, from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. It’s great that one of the most lucrative film series in the world has an inclusive cast and characters (fundamentally proving that the industry standard, white male heroes need not be an actual rule), and giving the many characters their own fast and furious films with a built-in demographic could give Hollywood a real shot in the arm and change the marketplace.

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But from a practical standpoint, the Fast and Furious was probably always going to need to go in this direction if it was going to continue very long. That cast of characters may be popular but it is also unusually large for a summer blockbuster, meaning that scheduling all of the Fast and Furious actors at the same time could very well be a logistical nightmare, and paying them all the salaries they deserve could drive up the costs for sequels that were already pretty expensive.

Branching out and focusing on just one character at a time, or even a smaller handful, will not only focus the storylines, diversify Hollywood, but also save Universal Pictures a lot of money. It’s a win-win for everybody, and besides, the Fast and Furious movies have done this before. The third through sixth movies in the franchise were already prequels to the first two films, and the third film was practically a spin-off already, a drama unrelated to the events of the other movies except for a brief cameo at the end and a supporting character who wouldn’t even become important until Fast Five.

So for once, and maybe just this once, the financially prudent decision is also the ethical decision for Hollywood. Well done, Universal. Now… let’s ride! 

Photo: Universal Pictures

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.