The Fast and Furious franchise has grossed more than $3.8 billion at the box office worldwide so far. (Go ahead and take a moment to soak that in.) The most recent installment, Furious 7, has earned more than $1.5 billion of that since its release in April. While those figures are mighty impressive, what’s even more impressive is that the films have remained tremendously appealing to fans, a combination of a good-looking cast, outlandish and kinetic action sequences, and stories that are resolutely focused on the importance of family.

Now, of course, Universal Studios is intent on mounting a new installment, unofficially known as Furious 8. And it looks like a director has finally been chosen.

Straight Outta Compton

Who is F. Gary Gray?

According to Vin Diesel’s most recent Facebook post, F. Gary Gray (above) has been chosen to direct the next Fast Furious installment. His most recent film, Straight Outta Compton, was a box office success for Universal Studios. He’s also directed automotive action in The Italian Job (2003), worked with Vin Diesel on A Man Apart (2003), and Dwayne Johnson on Be Cool (2005), back when he was known as The Rock. He’s a veteran and is accustomed to working in the studio system with big stars.

He’s also something of a hot director following the success of Compton, with many hoping his name would come up with regards to a superhero movie like Black Panther. But considering his history with both Diesel and Universel, F. Gary Gray makes the most sense as director, and we wonder if anyone from his Compton “family” will join him in the sequel, due in theaters on April 14, 2017.

 

But why can’t recent Furious directors return?

Justin Lin took the directing reins effective with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), and guided the series through four films, enjoying increasing success with each one. As he was finishing Fast Furious 6, he decided to step away, since Universal wanted to fast-track Furious 7. James Wan (above with Vin Diesel), known for horror films like Saw and The Conjuring, stepped in, and what may have seemed like a dream assignment became far more challenging when star Paul Walker was tragically killed in an automobile accident.

By all accounts, Wan navigated those challenges successfully, but rather than plunge into Furious 8, he moved on to direct the horror sequel The Conjuring: The Enfield Poltergeist. Meanwhile, Justin Lin snared another high-profile sequel, Star Trek Beyond, which is currently filming.

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