Furious 7's James Wan opted out of helming the next installment in the turbo-charged franchise, choosing to hand the reins over to F. Gary Gray. The Straight Outta Compton director is now tasked with crafting a follow-up that honors the previous outing and also keeping stagnation at bay. As most of the movies revolve around a similar premise - fast cars! explosions! family! - he's going to have to branch out into new territory to keep things fresh. When asked by Collider whether it's character or action he intends to explore, Gray had this to say:
“It’s a combination of both. When you look at someone like J.J. Abrams who gives you the spectacle and great action set pieces but also gives you character and plotting and narrative, I think it’s my job—and my intention—to do both. You amp up everything, you work on the performances, you work on the story, you work on the action; it’s just not one thing. Hopefully I bring more to it, that’s part of the point is to bring something different to the franchise while still satisfying what the fans want.”
What fans want is another show-stopping action reel that the series has grown increasingly fond of featuring. The last movie included that insane cars falling out of a plane scene that makes you wonder, where on Earth can they go next? Vin Diesel has dropped hints that it's taking place in New York City, and Gray's also remaining quiet on all things plot-related:
“I’m probably not at liberty to go too far into detail. All I have to say is I’m extremely excited about the direction we’re going in, and we’re really pushing to make sure the audience feels like it’s not more of the same. They feel like it’s fresh, they feel like the characters they’ve come to know and love are there, but this is gonna be different, and that’s probably the most I can give you right now.”
Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris and Jason Statham, Fast and Furious 8 is due to open in the US and UK on April 14, 2017.