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Fast & Furious sequel downshifts as Universal delays F9 for Memorial Day debut

By Benjamin Bullard
Fast & Furious 9 character poster

Brace for whiplash, all you revved-up gearheads: Universal Pictures is cooling the engines on the planned release of the upcoming ninth chapter in the Fast & Furious franchise. Thanks to ongoing production and release stall-outs that’ve resulted in a cascade of film delays across the board, F9 is downshifting to cruise into theaters more than month after its originally planned release date next spring.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Justin Lin-directed FF sequel is slowing its roll for Vin Diesel and the rest of the unleaded F9 cast, switching its planned April 2, 2021, debut to instead cross the finish line nearly two months later, on May 28 — which will still give the hugely anticipated follow-up to 2017’s The Fate of the Furious a big Memorial Day weekend release.

As we’ve seen with many blockbusters already shuffled farther down the calendar thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the F9 delay is part of a larger studio trend that’s pushing some of the biggest big-screen names a little later into 2021. Earlier today, MGM revealed that No Time to Die — Daniel Craig’s James Bond swan song — is being pushed from March of next year until April 2 (which, totally by coincidence, was meant to be F9’s original premiere date).

The FF team has long hinted that the series would screech to a celebratory tire-shredding halt with its 10th installment, and Diesel earlier this year even teased the possibility that the final Fast & Furious could see a two-part release along the lines of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. With F9 staying in the spotlight for so long, though, there’s been no further word on the ultimate fate (ahem) of the franchise — and the fresh delay means new updates on how the series could conclude may have hit a temporary speed-restricted zone.

Although graduating as FF franchise alumni to star alongside Idris Elba in 2019's Hobbes & Shaw spinoff, neither Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson nor Jason Statham is slated to appear in the upcoming sequel. Starring Diesel alongside John Cena, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Cardi B, and Ludacris, F9 is nevertheless set to go full throttle — after its second (and hopefully final) delay — on May 28 of next year.