Family can be hard to say goodbye to, which is why the Fast & Furious franchise will be wrapping up with two more movies after F9, instead of a tenth one as had been envisioned by series star Vin Diesel all those years ago.
"That's always what was discussed. Even as far back as 2012, 2013, it was something that [the late Paul Walker] and I would discuss, finishing on the 10th one. That just felt right," the actor beyond Guardians of the Galaxy's Groot told Entertainment Weekly. "And being part of the Marvel franchise, seeing that possibility that when you have that much story you can end with two films. It was something that we'd talked about that became real," he said. Of course, as fans know, Marvel Studios ultimately decided to tell its latest Avengers saga in two parts: Avengers: Inifinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Diesel also added, "It's just been such a wonderful, wonderful run, and we'd always envisioned that 10 would be the farewell, the finale, and that is what our story is working towards."
The latest instalment in the possibly-space-travelling franchise sees the return of a few familiar faces, as well as a new one: John Cena (James Gunn's Suicide Squad) as Jakob Toretto, the younger brother of Diesel's Dominic "Dom" Toretto. A deadly assassin and expert driver, he'll be teaming up with Cipher (Old Guard's Charlize Theron reprising her role) to take down Dom — but not if their sister Mia (The Faculty's Jordana Brewster) and the rest of the crew has anything to say about that.
"There were so many elements that were most exciting but bringing back the Mia character in a real solid way just added that many more dimensions to the complexities of the family," said Diesel of Brewster's character's return to the franchise, having been missing from the previous film's line up as it would have been hard to explain her appearance without that of her onscreen husband (played by Walker). "And she's so good in it, as she always is. The true fans of Fast & Furious recognize how critical she is in understanding the whole Toretto family. It was a blessing, I was so excited about it, it opened up so much more story."
Of course, the return that has fans all abuzz is that of Han Lue (We Can Be Heroes' Sung Kang) who'd previously been thought to be deceased and whose onscreen death had even launched a whole #JusticeForHan campaign on Twitter.
"Han is an integral character in this franchise. If you remember, he's kind of responsible for the away years of Dom Toretto," explained Diesel. "He's the one doing jobs with him in Mexico, he's the only one who knows where Dom is, and in many ways is the bridge for Dom when Dom comes back in Tokyo Drift. So there's something very special and magical about the Han character."
F9 is directed by Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond) and also stars Michelle Rodriguez (The Fate of the Furious), Tyrese Gibson (Furious 7), Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (The Fate of the Furious), Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones) and Helen Mirren (Red).
It is currently scheduled to speed into cinemas on May 28.