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Those sitting on the edge of their (car) seats for the next installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise will have to wait a little longer.
Universal Pictures, the studio behind the insanely successful series of Fast and the Furious movies, has just announced that the release date for the ninth film in the series has been moved back from April 2019 to April 2020. Universal’s decision will make the time gap between this year’s The Fate of the Furious and Fast 9 (or whatever clever title with which it’ll ultimately be bestowed) the biggest since 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious and 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
But don’t start tearfully listening to “See You Again” on repeat just yet. Even though Universal provided no reason for the move, we have a few theories as to why the release date got pushed back. In April, rumours of a possible Fast and the Furious spinoff starring Jason Statham (Deckard Shaw) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Luke Hobbs) started swirling, meaning that Universal could be pulling a Star Wars by releasing an F&F offshoot before revisiting the “main” franchise.
Johnson’s co-star Tyrese Gibson (who plays ex-criminal Roman Pearce) clearly thinks that’s the case, as he recently took to Instagram to criticize Johnson for purposely delaying Fast 9 and sarcastically question whether or not the spinoff will be “another Baywatch.” Ouch.
In June, Fast and the Furious star Michelle Rodriguez posted a message to her own Instagram account expressing her frustration with the amount and quality of female representation in the F&F series as a whole. “I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one,” Rodriguez wrote. “Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise.” Rodriguez, who plays mechanic Letty Ortiz, expressed a similar sentiment in an interview with Entertainment Weekly a month prior, pointing out that she’s “been making movies with Jordana, who plays the sister of Dom Toretto, for 16 years” and yet has spoken only a handful of lines to her.
So it’s certainly (and hopefully) possible that Universal pushed back the release date so that the minds behind Fast 9 can step it up and do whatever they can to avoid losing one of F&F’s biggest characters. Of course, another explanation is that everyone is too focused on producing the Fast and the Furious live show to worry about making a silly little movie.
Apart from Universal’s announcement, there’s still a lot about Fast 9 that we don’t know. What will it be about? Who will be in it? Who will direct? And will Universal push Fast 10’s April 2021 release date back too? Until we find out more, maybe listening to “See You Again” on repeat isn’t such a bad idea, after all.