Who’d’ve thought that 2001’s underground racing film The Fast and the Furious would be the film to launch a multi-billion dollar franchise? If you had asked me back then, I would have hoped it was the case, but in a time where big-budget franchises on this level weren’t the norm, it would not have seen plausible.
Seven films later, we are now approaching the end of the franchise, with a total of ten films supposedly planned, not including next year’s Hobbs and Shaw spinoff. It’s a vision that not even Fast and the Furious director Rob Cohen could have envisioned when he set off on that original journey. Speaking with ScreenCrush, Cohen discussed how the series has changed over time.
“The franchise went from a Los Angeles story built around a family of multicultural brothers and sisters to what I’ll call “pure spectacle.” The beauty is that the audience has ridden along with it for these 18 years. I’m very proud that the characters I created in 2001 are still in the lexicon. There‘s still a Dominic Toretto appearing every two years, or a Mia Toretto, or a Letty. It had to evolve, and it evolved in a way that was ultra-worldwide commercial. And the heartbeat of it is: We live in a world with no gravity, cars can do anything. They can burst out of the nose of airplanes. People can jump across freeways. They can take down helicopters. It’s like, ‘Okay, anything for the spectacle.’
They spend $350 million on these movies, so they’ve got the money to pull this stuff off. And the audience is eating it up. The last one still did $1.25 billion. For my kids’ college fund, I’m very happy that it’s had this longevity.
I started out to do a different thing, but the thing that I did implanted this world and these characters deeply in that audience. And they’re still coming for a hit of it. And most of the time when you go on the internet and [read] Which was the best Fast & Furious?’ It’s almost always mine.”
Clearly, he’s very proud of what he established, and seems to think very highly of how his own entry stacks up against the others in the franchise. As of this writing, Fast & Furious 3, 4, 5, and 6 helmer Justin Lin is back to close off the series for its ninth and ten entries, but when asked if he would have liked to come back, Cohen said:
“I always wished Universal would come back to me to direct the last one.”
At this point you never know. While Vin Diesel has discussed the 10th entry likely being the final, it’s hard to imagine Universal voluntarily killing off their golden goose. Who knows? Cohen could still come back at some point!
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