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'Fast & Furious' ending? Justin Lin could be back for finale

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Justin Lin
Giles Keyte

When Justin Lin joined the Fast & Furious series with 2006’s Tokyo Drift, the automotive action series appeared to be in decline. Over seven years and four movies, Lin presided over a critical and commercial ascension unparalleled in Hollywood blockbuster history. Each of the four Fasts directed by Lin earned more than the previous one; film critic Wesley Morris famously described 2011’s Fast Five as “the most progressive force in American cinema.”

After Furious 6 came out last year, Vin Diesel began talking about a new Fast & Furious trilogy. But Lin had already announced his intention to depart the franchise, at least partially because Universal wanted to accelerate the production schedule and release Furious 7 one year later. The studio hired The Conjuring director James Wan to helm Furious 7. Lin kept one foot in Universal’s playground, attaching himself to the studio’s Bourne Legacy sequel; there were also rumblings that he might make a 3D remake of the martial arts classic The Shaolin Temple.

The release of Furious 7 was delayed into 2015 following the passing of franchise lead Paul Walker. And the fate of Bourne Legacy 2 became complicated, following the news that Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass were planning their own, Renner-Free Bourne sequel. In the meantime, Lin helmed the pilot for the new series Scorpion and will direct a couple episodes of True Detective‘s second season, colloquially known as True Fast 2 Detective. But now it looks like Lin might return to the Fast franchise…just in time to watch it end.

The news comes from Deadline‘s Mike Fleming, who reports that Universal could soon begin serious talks to bring Lin back to direct not just an eighth Fast & Furious movie but multiple movies, shot simultaneously, which would serve as a finale to the entire Fast & Furious saga.

Universal did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment, and even if negotiations have taken place, it’s almost certainly still very early in the development process. Still, there’s plenty of logic to support Fleming’s predictions. Star-producer Diesel told EW that he’s long wanted to film multiple Fast movies back-to-back—and that production schedule would give Universal the annual-release strategy it attempted with the rapid production of Furious 7. Universal itself is a bit franchise-starved compared to its superhero-powered competitors, so it makes sense that it would want to double down on the Fast & Furious cash cow. Directing two more movies in the franchise would make for a total of six Fast films by Justin Lin. It might seem unusual for a director to make so many films in a single saga—though it’s worth remembering that Peter Jackson has now made six Middle-Earth films, at least one of which was twice as long as Tokyo Drift.

Let’s assume that Universal is reaching out to Justin Lin, and let’s also assume that Lin would be amenable to triumphantly returning to a hugely popular megabudgeted blockbuster franchise. Would Universal really end the Fast & Furious series? It seems more likely that proposed films—let’s call them Fast: The Final Fury and Fury: Fast, Finally—would wrap up a quote-unquote “trilogy” that starts with Furious 7. It’s important to remember that like half of the Fast movies so far have focused on “one last job,” and also important to remember that franchises don’t really end in Hollywood anymore. (See also: Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Bourne 4: The Fourne Identity.) Still, Universal could be looking towards a series-wide reboot. It remains entirely possible that there will be new Fast & Furious movies until your grandchildren have grandchildren and they all live on Mars.

In conclusion, here’s Jason Statham and Vin Diesel flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

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