Fast and Furious 7 sees director change
Justin Lin is done with the Fast and Furious franchise and a new director is already waiting in the wings for the seventh film, well he's in negotiations at least, and at first glance he might not seem the perfect choice.
This franchise is all about the team, the camaraderie and the cars, although to be fair what Justin Lin and Chris Morgan did with the last film Fast and Furious 5 (Filmstalker review) changed direction in rather a big way. For that reason, and two others before it, he's going to be a big loss to the franchise.
Justin Lin announced recently that he wasn't going to be returning for the seventh film in the franchise, yes there's going to be a seventh, and that Fast and Furious 6 is the last one he's doing before moving onto new projects.
Lin has directed The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (Filmstalker review), Fast & Furious (Filmstalker review), Fast and Furious 5 (Filmstalker review) which marked a big shift for the series, and the upcoming Fast & Furious 6. However he announced that he's done with the series and is moving on.
There doesn't appear to be any animosity between the studio and the director other than the insider comment in the The Hollywood Reporter story that suggests the reason he's leaving is he can't race into the seventh film. The studio want it made almost immediately with a release date for next summer however Lin isn't committing to that.
It does sound rushed considering the amount of time usually between these films and how much time the recent and most successful outing took to make, and that's something Lin didn't want to commit to. He probably wanted a break too.
His big reason though, he doesn't want to rush it and you can see why, something the studio executives don't seem to give two hoots about. The fifth film was the most successful because it moved forward from concentrating on amazing car sequences and became a heist film, building on that powerful core of the family, the team, and the powerful leading character. It became much more of a story and of a film.
So the studio appear to be thinking that they don't have many films for next summer, the fan base has grown for Fast and Furious, so why not just quickly churn out a sequel and get people cashing in on the name?
Oh yeah, good one studio. It all sounds like spreadsheets and incoming budget forecasts, nothing to do with longevity of the franchise. They're going to force out a subpar film and drop the franchise back to where it was before Lin's work, or perhaps even worse destroy the franchise in the process.
We've seen this time and time again. A great film is followed by a fast, cashing in sequel and before you know it the franchise is dead and the studio have dropped it. It's going to happen here.
They're not wasting any time either as Deadline report that a director is in negotiations already to take over from Lin, and the experience he brings is interesting, horror films.
According to the story James Wan is in negotiations for the seventh film and that's despite the fact that they, according to the writer's sources, have been looking to names such as Baltasar Kormákur who directed Contraband and the soon to be released 2 Guns, Jeff Wadlow who directed Kick-Ass 2 and Harold Zwart who directed The Karate Kid remake and The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones.
The good news is that the production team stay the same and both Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are returning so perhaps they'll be able to keep the quality and the focus going on the franchise, but it does seem a big gamble that is more about profiteering on the title of the franchise.
Justin Lin is already behind the director choice as he said:
"I'm extremely proud to be part of the Fast franchise, it is an experience I will always treasure…It's time for me to move on to other things and I'm thrilled that Universal and Neal have selected James Wan to lead the franchise into its new chapter."
He may be behind the director but considering he was going to make the seventh film and now isn't, he's not behind the rushing out of the next instalment. Let's hope the studio executives aren't going to spoil what Lin has helped develop.