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Fast & Furious spinoffs are on the horizon

The Fast & Furious franchise isn't speeding off into the distance anytime soon.

According to Variety, Vin Diesel has already confirmed that Universal Pictures is in the preliminary stages of developing spinoff films based on a couple of the franchise's characters. Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley backed up Diesel's statements, adding that the studio has been looking for a way to expand the series for quite some time.

"It's an ensemble cast and there's room to bring characters in and out," Langley told the magazine.

Whom the spinoff films will focus on is still unknown, but Dwayne Johnson has previously said that he thinks his character, Special Agent Luke Hobbs, would be perfect for a standalone film.

Despite the announcement that the studio is looking into branching off into spin-off territory, Diesel has also previously said that there are at least three more Fast & Furious titles in the main franchise to go, including the upcoming eighth installment.

The question is whether Universal wants to approach the Fast & Furious world like Marvel has with its cinematic universe or Disney has with the Star Wars universe, scheduling spin-off films between main installments.

Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, said that while the focus right now is certainly on the three announced sequels, the studio was flexible with the number.

"Vin has a vision in his mind for three more, so let's get three more done and then see where we are from there," Shell said.

Although he couldn't offer any other additional details about plans for the spinoff films, Diesel did talk a little about what people could expect to see in the upcoming Furious 8, which is being helmed by Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray.

"We have a director who is going to bring the darkness out and bring out the character," he said.

It was a sentiment echoed by Shell, who said that eventually the focus has to be on these characters' stories and not so reliant on the mind-boggling action sequences the series has become famous for.

The eighth movie will be the first film without star Paul Walker, who died in 2013 while the seventh movie was being filmed. Although his character, Brian O'Connor, was given a peaceful send-off in the film, not having his character around in Furious 8 may be one of the reasons the overall tone is darker for Diesel's Dominic Toretto.

Furious 8 is scheduled to hit theaters Apr. 14, 2017.

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