The Fast and the Furious is one of the few mega franchises that’s almost guaranteed to be a box office smash with each and every installment. Even the spinoff, Hobbs & Shaw, which released this past August and had a slightly slower start than its mainline fellows, made over $700 million at the box office.
What makes this more astounding is that many had written the series off. While the 2001 original is viewed by most fans as a classic that kickstarted the careers of not only Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, but also elevated rising talents like Michelle Rodriguez, that success didn’t immediately translate into the sequels.
The immediate follow up, 2 Fast 2 Furious, is considered so much of a disappointment that the franchise got a semi-reboot in the form of Tokyo Drift. When that didn’t click with audiences either, Universal went back to the starting formula, bringing back Walker and Diesel for a fourth installment.
And while that one fared a little better overall, it wasn’t until Fast Five, which featured Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as one of the primary antagonists, that fans and, even critics (somewhat), really latched on. Since then, the creative team behind the movies have pumped out billion dollar hit after billion dollar hit and that’ll likely continue with Fast & Furious 9 (or F9, as they’re now calling it), which Universal has begun the marketing campaign for.
After giving us a quick teaser trailer yesterday, ahead of the full thing on Friday, the studio has also now released some character posters which feature all of the main players. Including newcomer John Cena, who looks absolutely jacked here. Then again, would you expect anything less?
Speaking about the trials of joining such a tight knit crew, the wrestler turned actor had the following to say about his involvement in the Fast & Furious franchise:
The global connection the franchise has with its fans and the respect that the franchise has for its fans is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It allowed me to really look at the absolute analytics of the project through the people who have been working some 20 years on this. It really is a family atmosphere, there’s a lot of respect for the franchise, there is that expectation to deliver for the fan base, and it’s been like no other experience I’ve been on. You kind of have to earn your respect in so many ways, but once you do you are absolutely, unexpectedly welcomed into the family. It’s been really, really special, and I’m very fortunate.
It might have taken awhile for this series to become the juggernaut that it is, but it’s clearly well earned. What’s more, those in charge are taking it seriously and want to deliver the best product they can. Cena is right that fans have certain expectations and that the pressure is really on for Fast & Furious 9 to deliver. After all, when you live a quarter mile at a time, there isn’t any room for mistakes, right?