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'Fast and the Furious 9' and '10': Is the movie series a model of Hollywood diversity?

The smash success of 'Furious 7,' the most recent movie in the 'Fast and Furious' franchise, was attributed in part to the series' diverse cast.

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    From left to right: 'Furious 7' stars Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Walker, and Ludacris.
    Scott Garfield/Universal Pictures/AP
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More “Fast and the Furious” films are on their way, says series star Vin Diesel.

Diesel, who starred in movies in the series including the 2015 smash hit “Furious 7,” recently revealed that the eighth movie in the franchise will be released in spring 2017, while the ninth film will come out in the spring of 2019 and the tenth movie will be released in the spring of 2021. 

The actor posted the news on his Instagram account. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBUJBWKmPn6/?taken-by=vindiesel

The first “Fast” film debuted in 2001 and starred Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster. Actors that have joined the series along the way include Dwayne Johnson and Ludacris.

The newest movie, “Furious 7,” became the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2015 domestically and the highest-grossing film in the series. Grosses for movies in the series have steadily increased, and now studio Universal is doubling down on the series, if the three upcoming movies they’re planning are any indication. 

The diversity of the cast of “Furious 7” may have contributed to its smash success both in the US and worldwide. In the wake of the controversy around #OscarsSoWhite, noting the second year in a row with all-white Oscars acting nominees. (Prior to 2015, that hadn't happened since 1998.)

“By the fifth installment, [white actor Paul Walker] was just one of an impressively diverse entourage that included an Italian-American man, a Japanese man, two black men, a Latino woman, and an Israeli woman,” wrote Eliana Dockterman for Time.

An impressive 75 percent of the opening weekend moviegoers in North America were not white. “The importance of diversity of the ensemble cast in the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise has been an integral part of the success of the brand," Paul Dergarabedian of analytics company Rentrak told the Hollywood Reporter.

"There is literally someone within the cast that is relatable on some level to nearly every moviegoer around the world, and this has paid big dividends at the box office and also in terms of how casting decisions will be made in the future for these types of large-scale action epics.”

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