Though it’s still packed to the rafters with blockbuster action and ridiculous stunts, Universal’s Fast and Furious franchise has arguably matured since the tragic passing of Paul Walker.
What was once a series defined by outlandish storylines and flashy cars has incorporated solemn themes of loss, grief, and heartfelt family drama, all of which came to a head in the Justin Lin-directed sequel, Furious 7, which is an unashamed love letter to Paul Walker.
But with Fast & Furious 9 now on the horizon, series stalwart Christopher ‘Ludacris’ Bridges hopes the upcoming sequel can continue to honor the late Walker – and even Kobe Bryant – when it speeds into theaters later this year.
Chatting with Entertainment Tonight, Bridges revealed:
We start off with prayers, we always talk about family and how important family is and this is a whole family. This entire cast, I’m talking about on and off-screen. I think that’s what makes our chemistry so well. It’s always in remembrance and in motivation of how we’re doing our duty and honoring Paul Walker and now even Kobe Bryant. Making sure we do everything in our power to make the best movie possible. So that it resonates with everyone.
For all of the film’s flashy style, Fast & Furious 9 will still take a moment to remember those no longer with us, including Walker and Bryant. The former will still appear in the forthcoming action sequel, though it’s now being reported that Universal has cut – or at the very least scaled back – any screentime allocated to Brian O’Connor.
Said to be the penultimate chapter in this bombastic saga, Fast & Furious 9 has been locked in for a release on May 22nd. It will, of course, leave the door open for a tenth – and presumably final – installment, though we recently learned that Vin Diesel and Co. are weighing up the possibility of splitting the franchise’s curtain call into two movies a la Harry Potter.