Note: The following story mentions rumored spoilers for Fast & Furious 6 and future sequels.
The title of this post is sort of a joke headline, but there appears to be some truth to it. Ever since Marvel slapped down a franchise game changer with The Avengers, we've been seeing other studios take a similar approach with their own franchises. The Avengers may have sealed the deal, but Marvel's whole concept of connecting movies together in nerdy ways is quickly becoming a trend that will more clearly reveal itself when films like X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit screens. The days of the straight spin-off are gone (The Wolverine may mark the end of an era), and from here on out we'll most likely see characters spun off into other movies that connect to some kind of evolving universe.
Universal is smart because it knows it has a whopper of a franchise in the Fast & Furious movies, but it's also a franchise approaching its sixth installment. Sure it may have rediscovered itself with part four and peaked with part five, but how do the filmmakers keep it going into parts six, seven and eight without feeling too repetitive? Well according to AICN, Universal is ripping a page out of the Marvel handbook and attempting to establish a larger universe that expands on the mythology and connects characters to one another in somewhat nerdy ways.
AICN claims that a scene at the end of Fast & Furious 6 not only sets up the next movie, but it also introduces a major villain whose story will play out for at least part seven and most likely part eight. It claims that villain will be played by Jason Statham, who was originally rumored to play the villain in part six. Instead, from what it looks like, Universal signed him to play a tiny role in part six, but then a much bigger role in the following sequels.
AICN says his character also ties into Tokyo Drift, connecting that film's storyline to the current one. Here's where Universal, Justin Lin and his crew are beginning to expand the Fast & Furious universe, not unlike what Marvel is doing, by connecting movies together through characters and storylines, building to something bigger.
It'll be fascinating to watch it grow, and to see how the franchise's fans (many of whom have been described as "bros") adapt to a technique that's really only beginning to catch on throughout Hollywood. Warner Bros. hasn't shown its cards yet when it comes to building out the DC brand, and I'm curious to see if Lionsgate attempts something similar with a young-adult brand, expanding something like Twilight to TV and then back to the big screen, similar to what Marvel is doing with its SHIELD TV show.
Here's the new theatrical trailer for Fast & Furious 6, in theaters on May 24.
What do you think of other franchises experimenting with their own universe along the lines of what Marvel is doing? Any ideas on which franchise should do this next?
Follow along on Twitter @ErikDavis and @Moviesdotcom.