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'Fast and the Furious' movie series: Are prequels or spin-offs on the way?

The newest movie in the series, 'Furious 7,' was the highest-grossing film in the franchise so far. Will those behind the movies embrace the 'universe' model that's currently popular in Hollywood?

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    The 'Fast and the Furious' movies star Vin Diesel.
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Are spin-offs or prequels in the “Fast and the Furious” film series on their way? 

Seven movies in the “Fast” series have been released and now those behind the movies are reportedly looking at ways to continue the film series – no surprise, considering “Furious 7” is one of the highest-grossing movies of the year so far.

Donna Langley, chairman of “Fast” studio Universal Pictures, said they’re considering different strategies.

“We’re certainly in conversations about how we can expand the franchise now,” Langley said in an interview. “It’s an ensemble cast and there’s room to bring characters in and out.”

Meanwhile, series star Vin Diesel said of the movies, “We’ve written out story lines for various characters. We’ve been playing with it for a long time. It’s a very rich property and we’re committed to treating it with a lot of class.” 

The first “Fast” movie was released in 2001 and stars Paul Walker as Brian O’Connor, an undercover member of the police force who becomes a member of a drag-racing group that also commits crimes. The group is led by Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and also includes his girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). 

“Fast” became a big, fairly unexpected hit and has been followed by several sequels, with actors like Dwayne Johnson joining up along the way. While some movie series begin to show diminishing returns, last spring’s “Furious 7” became the highest-grossing film in the franchise.

With an unexpected hit series on their hands, if Universal does decide to explore prequel and spin-off films, the studio will be fitting the series to the current popular thinking in Hollywood. Marvel Studios, which releases superhero movies, has shown the advantage of thinking beyond the sequel route. While Marvel also releases direct sequels to their films, they also release “spin-off” movies, which can introduce new people or give side characters a chance to shine and usually set up other films. 

The “Star Wars” movie series will also be embracing this model, with the movie “Rogue One,” which will take place in the “Star Wars” universe but not center on familiar characters like Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia, set to be released in 2016. 

Those behind the “Harry Potter” film series are following this line of thinking, too – rather than film a new story with Harry and the gang, a movie with an all-new character, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), will be released. Newt’s story “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will come to theaters in 2016 as well.

These are some of the most successful movie series in Hollywood, so it’s no surprise Universal is looking to follow their lead with their already-lucrative franchise. It will be unexpected at this point if those at Universal decide against exploring more of the world of “Fast.”

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