Universal Announces Plans to End Michelle Rodriguez’s Fast & Furious Franchise with Two Final Films

It’s the beginning of the end for Michelle Rodriguez.

Universal Pictures is planning to wrap up its Fast & Furious core film franchise, starring the 42-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress, with two final movies that will bring to a close a franchise.

Michelle Rodriguez The Limit

The Fast & Furious films have revved their way to become the highest-grossing movie series in the studio’s history. Justin Lin, who’s in post-production on F9, is in talks to direct the final two installments and bring a saga that began nearly 20 years ago to a close.

It’s early days on when this will begin production but it seems likely they will tell a big story over two films that will focus on franchise patriarch Vin Diesel and bring back Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel and Sung Kang.

F9 — which is the fifth film in the franchise directed by Lin and which premieres next Memorial Day — continues the storyline of the core cast and Charlize Theron, and adds John Cena, Helen Mirren, Grammy-winner Cardi B and reggaeton star Ozuna. They are just beginning to put the final two vehicles together. There’s speculation that Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham — core cast members who peeled off for the F&F spinoff Hobbs & Shaw after Johnson and Diesel had a falling out — will be back for the finale.

There’s also an opportunity to pull off the motorhead’s answer to Marvel’s Avengers, a configuration that might include Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot, also part of the ensemble earlier in her career.

It might not have seemed probable back when The Fast & Furious launched the franchise in 2001 with Diesel and Paul Walker as lead-footed protagonists, but the entire series has eclipsed Jurassic Park to become Universal’s biggest. The eight movies and the spinoff have grossed around $5.7 billion; Jurassic is also over $5 billion and has its next installment, Jurassic World: Dominion, shooting in London.

The Fast franchise survived the tragic death of cornerstone star Walker, but it’s always good to end the race before the vehicle runs out of gas. There are still plans for other movie spinoffs and TV shows, so there will be no call for the studio to be calling Kars for Kids to cart away a junker.

It is likely that the final two installments will be produced by Diesel through his One Race Films banner, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Lin, Neal Moritz, Joe Roth, Clayton Townsend and Samantha Vincent. They are the producers of F9.

Lin berthed his Perfect Storm Entertainment banner at Universal in a multi-year overall film and TV deal in late summer, and these two films will likely keep him busy for a long time.

Universal Moves Release Date of Michelle Rodriguez’s “F9” to Memorial Day 2021

Michelle Rodriguez is getting some push back…

Universal Pictures has announced plans to move F9, starring the 42-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress, to May 28, 2021, which is Memorial Day weekend.

Michelle Rodriguez F9

The move comes after MGM moved its James Bond pic No Time to Die, starring Ana de Armas, to April 2, 2021 — which had been the release date for this latest installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise.

In March, F9 drove out of its original May 22, 2020 global day-and-date release amid the coronavirus lockdown. The studio had previously reserved that April 2021 date for Fast & Furious 10.

Justin Lin returns to direct F9 a cast that includes Rodriguez, who portrays Letty Ortiz, Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Cardi B and Ozuna.

The entire franchise, including spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, through nine movies counts $5.9 billion at the worldwide box office.

MGM Moves Release Date of “No Time to Die,” Starring Ana de Armas, to Easter 2021

Ana de Armas’ big Bond moment will have to wait…

MGM’s latest James Bond film No Time to Die, starring the 32-year-old Cuban-Spanish actress, is officially moving to April 2, Easter weekend, and vacating its November 20 release date.

Ana de Armas, No Time to Die

This puts the Bond film starring Daniel Craig on the same weekend with Universal Pictures’ F9

“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience. We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing No Time To Die next year,” said the studio in a statement.

MGM was the first studio to foresee how the coronavirus pandemic was going to stall exhibition, and jumped No Time to Die from its Easter weekend release date of April 10-12 to the Thanksgiving frame.

No Time to Die stands to make $1 billion worldwide, so the studio has pushed back the release date several times now in hopes of having it come out in an optimum, vibrant global marketplace.

de Armas will be making her debut in the film, portraying the character of Paloma, a CIA agent assisting Bond.

Ana de Armas’ Bond Debut Delayed as “No Time to Die” Release Moved to November Due to Coronavirus

Ana de Armas’ big Bonddebut will have to wait…

With the coronavirus affecting the box office, MGMEon and Universal are postponing the next James Bondmovie, No Time to Die from its UK and international release date of April 2 and its U.S. Easter weekend global day-and-date of April 10.

Ana de Armas, No Time to Die

The 25th 007movie will now open on November 25, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilsonand Barbara Broccoli, announced today that after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace, the release of No Time to Diewill be postponed until November 2020. The film will be released in the U.K. on November 12, 2020 with worldwide release dates to follow, including the U.S. launch on November 25, 2020,” said a statement given exclusively to Deadline by the three studios.

The decision to move the film to November is purely an economic decision, and not one based on growing fears over the coronavirus. 

Bond is a day-and-date worldwide release, and with the franchise back in the hands of MGM fully post Sony’s distribution of the last four Daniel Craigmovies, along with Universal, all parties involved need to have all foreign territories working at their maximum in order for the latest Bond to be a continued box office success. For a tentpole of this size and scope, that kind of decrease in business would have a significant and detrimental impact on the film’s ultimate global take.

All together, the last four Craig 007 movies – SpectreSkyfallQuantum of Solaceand Casino Royale— have grossed $3.2B in the overall near $7B franchise, with Skyfallbeing the highest grossing film of all-time in the 58-year-old series at a whopping $1.1B. Failing at the box office is not an option for Bond, and for the studios to stick to their original release plan would be a disservice to their partners in exhibition.

No Time to Die features Craig in his fifth and final outing as the fictional MI6 agent. It’s directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga from a screenplay by Neal PurvisRobert Wade, Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Léa SeydouxBen WhishawNaomie HarrisRory KinnearJeffrey WrightChristoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles from previous films, with de Armas, who portrays Paloma, a CIA agent assisting Bond, joining the cast. Other new additions include Rami MalekLashana LynchDali BenssalahDavid Dencik and Billy Magnussen.