An April 14, 2017 release date has been set, a script is being written, but there’s one thing Universal needs before they can start moving ahead with the followup to the $1.5 billion dollar earning “Furious 7“: a director. That’s right, the next installment in the massively successful “Fast & Furious” franchise can’t seem to get someone behind the camera, and the studio is looking under every rock they can to find someone.
THR reports that while James Wan made a huge and very successful leap from horror to blockbusters with “Furious 7,” the gruelling production apparently “compromised” his health, so he’s bowed out, choosing to go to back to his bread and butter and make “The Conjuring 2” next. And while the trade doesn’t have a list of contenders yet to step in, apparently Universal is looking at both seasoned hands and newbies to take on the gig, floating an offer to Jaume Collet-Serra (“Orphan,” “Non-Stop,” “Run All Night“), who was unable to do it, and reaching out to Justin Lin (“The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift,” “Fast & Furious,” “Fast Five“) who decided to make “Star Trek Beyond” instead.
One scenario they reportedly don’t want to see play out is Vin Diesel, who apparently has big sway over the franchise — including consultation on the filmmakers who get hired — deciding to do it himself. Depending on who you talk to, the actor was either meddlesome or collaborative during “Furious 7,” lending his input to big action sequences and the script, causing filming to be held up at times. There is a rumor that Universal has a “fear” that Diesel will want to get behind the camera, though others say he wouldn’t take such a risk.
At any rate, Universal has a pile of money with which to convince someone to take on the gig (a tactic Universal used to try and snare Wan for “Furious 8” after Lin turned them down). In the meantime, here’s the Diesel directed “Los Bandoleros,” a short that’s a prequel to 2009’s “Fast & Furious.”
Update 9/23: Reps for James Wan deny THR’s report that Wan’s health was “compromised” during the shoot of “Furious 7,” and say he turned down “Furious 8” due to scheduling issues with “The Conjuring 2.”