Fast & Furious 8 A Long Way Off

With “Furious 7” already at $392.3 million worldwide and on its way towards the billion dollar box-office club, you would think that Universal Pictures would be moving fast on an eighth chapter in the franchise. That does not appear to be the case though.

Last year it was indicated that the studio planned to make ten films in all, and that remains the plan for now. No writer has been hired for the next outing yet, though in previous cases the film’s release date is set first and then Vin Diesel works with producer Neal Moritz and scribe Chris Morgan on the story, set pieces and narrative.

The big question though right now is in regards to director. James Wan originally signed on for a two-picture deal, but the lengthy shoot on “Furious 7” and all the assorted headaches that came in the wake of Paul Walker’s death meant the studio allowed him a break from his contract so he could shoot “The Conjuring” sequel this October.

Will Universal wait for him to finish, or will they move on to someone else? Justin Lin, who helmed the previous four films, is busy with “Star Trek 3” for much of this year so he’s likely out as well.

Then there’s the cast, with some of the ensemble having run through their contract options. This means deals will beed to be renegotiated, including that of the increasingly busy Dwayne Johnson whose involvement is negotiated on a film-by-film basis. One person who does have an outstanding option though is “Fast and Furious 6” villain Luke Evans, so don’t be too surprised if his hospitalised Owen Shaw character returns.

Moritz tells THR: “Honestly, we’re just bathing in the success of this. We’ll probably get together in a week or so to talk. [The story] is going to have to be something enticing for all of us. It has to be as good as or better [than Furious 7].”

The first news about the film that some are expecting to here is a possible release date to be announced as early as the CinemaCon convention in late April.