15 Things You Didn't Know About Fast 8 And The Furious Franchise

The franchise has raked in $4 billion worldwide and looks set to keep on running, maybe forever.

Get ready! It's going to be massive fun, massive speed, and massive adrenaline. Fast 8 or The Fate of the Furious rolled out on Friday, April 14th. Previews have left fans and critics sitting up and taking notes. It's been a long while since any film created this kind of buzz. The franchise has raked in $4 billion worldwide and looks set to keep on running, maybe forever. If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't worry. This is a spoiler-free overview of some of the stuff that's gone down since The Fast and the Furious hit movie screens back in 2001, and a look at what we know about the new film. It will contain some stuff that you've already seen in trailers. So, what do we know about the new film? Newbie Charlize Theron is the villainous hacker named Cipher. Also new to the franchise are a wise-cracking Kurt Russell as equally wise-cracking, fast-talking Frank Petty, and hunky Scott Eastwood as his totally straight lace law enforcement protégée. Plus, there's trouble brewing for "the family" and the film takes us on a rapid-fire world tour—from Iceland to New York to Atlanta to Havana and back again. And hey, it gets even better with two more installments planned over the next few years. But for now, buckle up, sit back, and let's hit the streets with the guys and girls who bring Fast and Furious to life.

15 Meet The Stars Of F8: The Cars!

We all know we go for the cars and the stunts and the crashes. So meet the new car stars. In F8, Dom's Dodge Charger has been modified to cope with the ice and snow that are a big part of the film. As Incar promises, "expect some serious ice smashing with this thing." And not to be outdone, Letty's (Michelle Rodriquez) Rally Cross coupe has some serious bull bar action going on. She'll cope just fine on the ice. But hey, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and his massive biceps (and ego) get an Ice Ram tank thing. Roman (Tyrese Gibson) is a bada** in his orange Lamborghini Murcielago. Want one yourself? A cool half million will put you behind the wheel. And when the guys spot Tej (Ludacris) on the ice, he's in a tank with a high-mounted machine gun. The ice chase scenes are going to be awesome!

14 Dom And Cipher Get It On In Front Of Letty

So, where did we leave our guys and girls at the end of the last film? Paul Walker died before they finished filming Furious 7. But still, at the end of the moviethanks to CGI and his brothers (Caleb and Cody) getting involved, his character, Brian, makes an appearance, decides to "retire," and rides off into the sunset. By that time, Letty's got her memory back and Dom has (more or less) come back from the dead to utter a funny line or two. Everything is totally cool with the "family" and Dom and Letty are all loved up. Cut to the new film and guess what? It seems that Dom has defected and gone over to the evil villain Cipher, played by the deliciously evil Charlize Theron (with weird-looking hair). Heck, it seems as if he is trying to kill Letty. Hey, Charlize and Vin Diesel get hot and heavy one time or two. Even better, Letty's watching. Well, The Rock and Vin may not be best buds, but we hear Charlize and Vin are very "close."

13 The Rock Calls Vin Diesel A "Candy A**"

The filmmakers have tried to play it down. But let's face it, Vin Diesel (Dom) and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Hobbs) are two way big guys with way big egos. They reportedly fell out big time during the filming of The Fate of the Furious. "I can bench press more than you can," says The Rock. Or words to that effect. Reportedly, Johnson called Vinnie boy a "candy a**." We can't see it ourselves, but there it is. So, everybody but everybody did everything they could to keep those two apart while filming. Like that fight would be epic to watch. It helped that Dom appears to have gone over to the bad guys' side, meaning he and Hobbs didn't have a lot of interaction in the film anyway. And don't expect to see happy snaps of the two together on the film's publicity tour. They are being kept apart for that bit, too.

12 Seven Films And $514 Million Wreckage

Okay, the franchise has grossed around $4 billion worldwide, leaving in its wake a veritable graveyard of cars, trucks, trains, and even buildings! You name it. In fact, that means that about 12 percent of the profits went into stuff that got destroyed. But with the wrecked cars, there was a special problem. They had to totally smash up merely damaged cars, so that keen and eager fans didn't roll up and make away with the wrecks with a view to making them roadworthy again. The film insurance guys were freaking over that prospect. So, literally, there are car graveyards! According to the Wall Street Journal, in Furious 7 alone, some 230 cars, including expensive Mercedes, were wrecked and then smashed up into unrecognizable heaps of metal. Do you know that the stunt drivers in the films build the stunt cars to be wrecked, saving the "hero" cars to live another day?

11 Speaking Of Cars: The BEST Car Stunt So Far!

Admit it, Cinemablend raved, "the minute the safe chase started, your jaw hit the floor and you were hooked." Fast 5 combines Oceans 11 thieving and Mission Impossible reckless stunt driving. The boys (Dom and Brian) crash (literally) into a bank in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil, and steal an entire bank vault. A freaking bank vault is pulled through the streets, reaching speeds of 50 miles an hour. Hey, it had 100 million dollars in it. It was totally worth the effort. Some physicists at Harvard did the calculations and said it was impossible. Of course, it's freaking impossible. That's the whole point, isn't it? We see the impossible happen again and again and again in the Fast and Furious movies. That's why we go. Like duh! Who gives a toss about the acting?

10 Flipping Best Easter Egg So Far

In 2015's Furious 7, Luke Hobbs, played by The Rock, lands in hospital with a cast on his arm, which by the way, he causes to crumble when he flexes those biceps. Anyway, he's watching TV and up comes a clip of a college football game. Reportedly, it was the November 1991 game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles. And there's Number 94, a defensive tackle by the name of D. Johnson. Yep, it was The Rock way back when he was crushing bones on the football field. Wait until you see what The Rock is bench pressing in The Fate of the Furious!

9 Of Snow And Ice And Submarines: F8 Gets Insane

This bit is in the official trailer. So, it's not really a spoiler. OK, they were filming in icy Iceland. Surprise, surprise! It's a chase scene and Dom and his crew are against The Rock, Letty, and the rest. Then all of a sudden, what breaks through the ice is nothing but a giant submarine. Like the biggest submarine we've ever seen. It creates a tidal wave of ice and snow that the guys are doing their best to get the heck away from. Hobbs takes one look at the thing and delivers one of the funniest lines in the film—"We're going to need a bigger truck!" Talk about an understatement. A fleet of bigger trucks is more like it.

8 How The Death Of Paul Walker Nearly Killed Off Furious 7

In November of 2013, Paul Walker was back in California on a Thanksgiving break, having flown in from filming in Atlanta. On November 30, he appeared happy and relaxed at a fundraising event before waving goodbye and climbing into his friend Roger Rodas' Porsche. Minutes later, the car crashed, probably at a high speed. Rodas was killed instantly. Walker probably lived long enough to know what was happening. The filmmakers seriously considered scuppering the whole project, as they were only about halfway through filming when Walker died. But in the end, his look-alike actor brothers and a fair amount of CGI saved the day and the film ended with the Walker character Brian, "retiring." The original ending? The boys were hinting at more outrageous capers to come.

7 The Day Movies Changed: Opening Scene Of Fast And Furious

In 2001, no one saw what was coming with The Fast and the Furious. The first film didn't have a huge budget or big stars. But from the opening scene, when an impossibly young Paul Walker revs up his day-glow green 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse and hits the track, we enter a different world of speed and illegal street races and adrenaline fueled highs. The 2-liter, 16-valve, 4 cylinder engine was souped up big time and capable of 435 hp. Whoa! Still, Brian loses his first race against Dom and has to forfeit his car to the winner. While the stunt car version of the Eclipse was totaled in the film, the real deal was reportedly snapped up by a fan for $15,000!

6 The Rock Bench Presses What?

As Vox commented, "The unspoken truth of the Fast & Furious franchise is that it’s really an undercover superhero film." According to the site, The Fate of the Furious "goes full superhero, and leans into the absolute ridiculousness of its characters." So The Rock, playing Luke Hobbs, becomes a kind of spoofed out superhero, who ends up (wait for it) ripping a concrete bench from its moorings and then doing a bicep curl with it. Remember when he broke off an arm cast by flexing his muscles in Furious 7? The Luke Hobbs in the 8th film makes that guy look like a wimp. So, we have gone from illegal street races, through impossible heists sequences and now enter into superhero la-la land. We're loving it. And you know what else we love? The Rock's 20 inch biceps. That's getting onto 2 feet of biceps.

5 The Hottest Bromance Ever

Now that Paul Walker's Brian has shuffled off and Dom has been "recruited" by Cipher, reports are that The Rock's Luke Hobbs character and Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw character are all bro-loved up. According to Vox, they have more chemistry onscreen (and off, as well?) than Dom and his lover/wife Letty. Hobbs is calling himself "Daddy" and cracking heads, while Shaw is hurling insults at such a rapid rate that you think the two are going to collide. You may remember that Shaw is a nutcase special forces assassin that Dom banged up in the last movie. So, they don't start off the new film as the best of friends.

4 Of Bad Acting, Poor Scripts, Flying Cars And Skiing Bank Vaults

Let's face it. The critics have a great time panning the franchise. They say the acting is bad and the scripts and plots are totally nonexistent. So? Tell us something we don't know, guys. That's the whole point. The thrilling combination of witty one-liners, guns blasting, things blowing up, and cars doing impossible stunts are precisely why fans keep coming back for more. Throw in an occasional hot love scene and what's not to love? Where else are you going to find a car flying through the air to land on a yacht or cars parachuting from planes or bank vaults skiing through Rio? There's something about watching car crashes and trainwrecks and the like, that's...well, fun and escapist. You can't argue with this—Fast and Furious is the most successful movie franchise. Like ever!

3 Getting Steamy: Vin Diesel And Charlize Theron

For much of the movie, Charlize Theron's Cipher is sitting at a bank of computers, pushing buttons and making things like submarines break through the ice. On the other side, wise-cracking law and order type Frank Petty (gloriously played by Kurt Russell) is recruiting for the good guys and coming out with witty put-downs and one-liners. Hobbs is talking about "Daddy going to work" while he cracks heads. Dom is smoldering and angry. Then, finally there is the lip-lock scene between Cipher (with those weird dread-lock plaits) and Dom. Where? Right in front of Letty. Apparently, everyone had a good time that day! Letty is the stick in the mud, telling him he has betrayed his family.

2 WTF? They May Bring Paul Walker's Character Back

According to the dead actor's brothers, Caleb and Cody, who were stand-ins for their brother in Furious 7, the filmmakers are considering doing a similar "resurrection" in a future installment of the franchise, using both Walker's two brothers and a spot of CGI to bring the Brian character back to life. Sounds a little (or a lot) creepy to us. After Furious 7, there was talk (mostly by the hopeful brothers) of the dead actor having a part in Fast 8 (or The Fate of the Furious or whatever) with a little help from his hoping-to-work siblings and a bit of computer magic. But alas, it was not to be. It would be hard to see how on earth they could make the return of Brian work. Anyway, the franchise has moved on from where it was in 2015.

1 What Next?

Well, we're getting into superhero territory already. So, no telling what The Rock's Luke Hobbs will get up to in future installments. Flying through the air, maybe? Doubtful. The Rock is angling big time for a spin-off with his Hobbs being (of course) the lead. Take that Vinnie boy. Meanwhile, Diesel is telling Variety that potential spin-offs for the series were in the early stages of development. Meaning, don't hold your breathe, Rock. But for certain? Look for the ninth and tenth films to come out between April of 2019 and April of 2021. By that time, The Rock will be pushing 50. Meanwhile, Caleb and Cody Walker live in hopes that they get to play their dead brother again.

Sources:  flipboard, wsj, vulture

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15 Things You Didn't Know About Fast 8 And The Furious Franchise