Fast and Furious 9 is one of many films to be disrupted by Covid-19
Fast and Furious 9 is squealing its tires towards a cinema near, you, eventually. In the world of cinematic franchises, the Fast and Furious movies (officially known as the Fast Saga) are unique. For a start, unlike most other members of the multi-billion-dollar box office club they’re not really sci-fi or fantasy – though 2019 spin-off Hobbs & Shaw did cross the line with its cybernetically-enhanced bad guy.
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew of multi-talented drivers/tech experts return for Fast and Furious 9, the ninth of the series – or tenth if you include Hobbs & Shaw. Justin Lin, who directed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth instalments in the long-running saga – and is described as an “architect” of the franchise by Diesel – is back behind the camera, having made a detour to the 23rd century for Star Trek Beyond.
You’ve now got a long wait ahead of you with the movie’s new 2021 release date, but what can we expect when Fast and Furious 9 revs up? We’ve looked under the bonnet of the most souped-up film series on the planet to explain so you know what to expect.
Fast and Furious 9 release date delayed by coronavirus
Fast and Furious 9 (or F9 as it’s known in the United States) has been delayed for over a year until April 2, 2021 in the US over coronavirus concerns. The official statement above highlights the importance of safety and the fact that plenty of fans may not have been able to even access the cinema to watch it.
Since the new date clashes with that of the tenth movie, it’s highly likely the franchise finale will also be pushed back. It’s not known so far whether F10 will be delayed by the same amount of time into 2022, however.
When news of the delay emerged, F9 became the fourth Hollywood production to be delayed by the virus. The latest Bond movie, No Time To Die, plus A Quiet Place II and Peter Rabbit 2, also got pushed back.
The original release date for F9 was in 2019, but it was postponed a year to May 22, 2020, apparently at the request of Fast Saga star and producer Vin Diesel. “Like any vehicle that has run around the globe 8 times, the franchise is in need of maintenance,” Diesel told his Instagram feed in October 2017. “My good friend and the godfather of [distributor] Universal, Ron Meyer has granted me the time to do just that.”
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Fast and Furious 9 trailer: first look at the movie
An epic Fast and Furious 9 trailer, running at nearly four minutes long, debuted on January 31, 2020. That’s all we’ve seen of the movie so far.
It starts slow, with Diesel’s Dom Toretto retired to a quiet rural life with wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Brian, the young son whose existence was revealed in Fast and Furious 8. “I used to live my life a quarter mile at a time,” Toretto says in voiceover. “But things change…”
This is the Fast Saga, however, so things don’t change that much, and it’s not long before we’re plunged back into some familiar high-octane action. There are bus-top battles in Edinburgh, a Pontiac Fiero strapped to a rocket engine (yes, really), and cars flying off beautiful cliffs in Thailand – but don’t worry, there’s a “magnet plane” standing by to make sure at least one of them doesn’t go tumbling into the sea.
It looks like there’ll be just as many fireworks between the humans, too. Most importantly, we meet Dom’s previously unmentioned younger brother Jakob (played by WWE wrestler and Bumblebee star John Cena), and it turns out there’s no love lost between the two siblings. So much so, in fact, that Jakob’s in league with cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron), the returning Big Bad who was revealed as the all-controlling Blofeld of the Fast Saga in Fast and Furious 8. She’s still very much at large…
“Your whole life you pushed yourself to be faster than Dom,” she tells Jakob. “Smarter than Dom. Stronger than Dom. But could you kill him? Because I’m ready if you are.”
But the trailer saves its biggest revelation for the end, as Han (Sung Kang) – presumed dead after his car was totalled by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift/Fast and Furious 6 – rejoins Toretto and his crew. Hands up who saw that one coming…
Fast and Furious 9 story: what’s revving up?
Aside from the fact it’ll feature familiar faces, very fast cars and the usual quasi-espionage shenanigans, the inner workings of Fast and Furious 9’s plot remain carefully under wraps. The taglines in the trailer offer up a couple of big clues, however.
“Justice is coming” could refer to several simmering revenge angles. Cipher clearly wants to get back at Dom for ‘betraying’ her in Fast and Furious 8, while Dom has plenty of beef with her – everything from masterminding the criminal schemes of the three previous movies to the cold-blooded murder of Elena Neves, the mother of his son. There’s also the not-so-small matter of Han’s ‘murder’ – though it it’ll be interesting to see who Han thinks is responsible, now that Deckard Shaw (driver of the offending car) has effectively been absorbed into Deckard’s crew.
But it’s the “Not all blood is family” line that’s set to have the biggest impact on the plot – not least because the adopted “family” Dom Toretto has built around himself is one of the main themes of the Fast Saga. His crew may not be blood relatives, but they’re every bit as tight-knit – much closer, it seems, than Dom is to the people he shares DNA with.
The Fast Saga suddenly introducing important relatives we’d heard nothing about is nothing new: Fast and Furious 6 antagonist Owen Shaw turned out to have an angry big bro called Deckard, while Dom Toretto learned he had a son in Fast and Furious 8. So it’s not that surprising that Dom should have a younger brother who’s gone unmentioned until now. Their father’s death in a stock car racing accident – and Dom’s subsequent revenge attack on the driver he blamed for the incident – is bound to be a major bone of contention. And then there’s the return of their younger sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), to think about. Could she be a potential mediating factor between the Toretto boys?
After Hobbs & Shaw’s cyborg villain took the franchise into genuine sci-fi territory for the first time, we’re also wondering whether Fast and Furious 9 will follow suit. Beyond the now-traditional bending of the laws of physics, there’s nothing in the trailer to suggest that’s the case – though long-time Fast Saga writer Chris Morgan (replaced by Daniel Casey on Fast and Furious 9) has hinted that a trip to space may be on the cards one day. “Nothing’s out of the question,” Morgan told Polygon in 2019. Maybe that rocket-powered Pontiac in the trailer does more than just drive…
Fast and Furious 9 cast: who’s behind the wheel?
The tragic death of franchise mainstay Paul Walker (who played cop-turned-racer Brian O’Conner) left a major hole in Dominic Toretto’s crew for Fast and Furious 8. Heading into part 9, however, the Fast Saga’s core “family” is pretty much unchanged. That means Vin Diesel’s back as Dom, backed up by Michelle Rodriguez (Letty), Tyrese Gibson (Roman), Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges (Tej) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey).
Among the returnees to the gang, Sung Kang is the biggest news, back as the unexpectedly not-dead Han, but Jordan Brewster also makes a comeback as Dom’s younger sister, Mia – she sat out Fast and Furious 8, as Mia settled down with Brian to raise their family.
There’s also franchise returns returns for Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift vets Lucas Black (Sean), Bow Wow (Twinkie) and Jason Tobin (Earl), and for Helen Mirren as Magdalene, the Shaw matriarch busted out of prison in Hobbs & Shaw.
There’s been no confirmation, however, on whether we’ll be seeing more from Kurt Russell (Mr Nobody), Scott Eastwood (Little Nobody), Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs) or Jason Statham (Deckard Shaw) – we wouldn’t be surprised if any of them popped up for a cameo,
Charlize Theron, a brilliant addition to the Fast and Furious 8 cast, is back with a new short haircut to front the villains as uber-hacker Cipher. She’ll be joined by John Cena as antagonistic Toretto sibling Jakob.
There are also roles for Guardians of the Galaxy’s Michael Rooker (Buddy) and singer Cardi B.
Will there be more Fast Saga movies after Fast and Furious 9?
You can bet on it. In fact, at least one more is a certainty, because – as Diesel revealed in a Facebook post after the release of Fast and Furious 8 in 2015 – parts eight, nine and ten have been planned as “one last trilogy to end the saga”. Various reports have suggested that Lin will be back to direct part 10.
A 2020 interview with Total Film magazine (via GamesRadar) went further, with Diesel hinting that the tenth movie could be split into a two-part finale, à la Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.
“I started planning for Fast 10 before we started filming Fast 9,” he said. “The universe is so robust and so rich with talent and rich with story that, on one level, it’s totally feasible to have spin-offs, and I think that’s something that is inevitable. Universal deserves it because of how much they’ve invested in this little saga, and it’d be good to give back to Universal. And for the fans, should Fast 10 parts one and two be the conclusion, it would be nice for this world to continue for generations to come.”
Diesel’s comments are slightly ambiguous, but it doesn’t look like there are any plans to park the franchise any time soon. There’s already a Fast and Furious: Spy Racers animation on Netflix, while the success of Hobbs & Shaw means there’s every chance Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham will rekindle their love-hate relationship in a follow-up. There have also been rumors of a female-fronted spin-off.
The Fast Saga will be 20 years old in 2021, but there’s no reason it can’t manage another couple of decades – though the fact the crew will probably be driving electric cars by then means the franchise could sound very, very different.
Fast and Furious 9 is exactly what we need right now
The Fast saga has come a long way. It’s been a long stretch of road from where the franchise began with 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, a fun but unremarkable movie about street racers with a sideline in audacious auto-heists. Now the films have their own bizarre alchemy, an unlikely blend of very fast cars, elaborate heists and relationship drama that occasionally veers into soap opera territory.
It’s exactly the kind of escapism we could use more of in these worrying times, so the corona-induced delay is unfortunate for everyone, not just petrolheads. Here’s hoping that that year delay comes around fast, and that we won’t have to wait another year for Fast 10 after that.