Let’s start with what we know:
- The Fast & Furious franchise will end after the 11th film, leaving only the delayed ninth movie and a two-part mega-finale directed by the mastermind of the operation, Justin Lin
- The franchise is totally nuts on many levels, from the action (submarines, tanks, super-powered sports cars soaring through the air like birds), to the soap opera plot developments (amnesia, characters returning from the dead, heroes becoming villains and vice versa), to the pretzeled chronology of it all (the third movie, Tokyo Drift, slots in between the sixth and seventh, and Vin Diesel self-produced a short film that explains how we got from two to four)
- It is, allegedly, finally, headed to space in the ninth movie, whenever it comes out
- There is no hard limit on what is possible in these movies, and you are a fool if you believe for one second that there is
- I am not ready for the franchise to end
This last one is admittedly odd, mostly because 11 films over 20-25 years is an absurdly long run for any franchise that is still trotting out the majority of its original but ever-growing cast. This should be enough. It should be more than enough. I suspect it is for many of you. But it is not for me. This sucker could go for 100 years and continue on with the characters’ children and grandchildren and outlive us all and I would be perfectly happy. It’s so big and dumb and fun and getting more of each of those with each new film. I am genuinely excited to see how far they can push the limits of credulity.
And so, with that in mind, I have ranked 10 potential endings for the franchise. The rankings aren’t really organized in any particular order beyond “how much Brian would like to see them happen,” but still, I stand by all of them. Crank up “See You Again” and read this through your tears. Let’s get weird.
10. Some sweet ending about Family that doesn’t involve space or necromancy or a complete disregard for the generally accepted laws of physics
This is the most likely actual ending, like at the very end of the final movie in the franchise proper, if only because it is how most of the other movies end. Everyone sitting around for a barbecue with bottles of Corona strewn about like discarded canisters of NoS, Tyrese saying a pre-meal prayer, former adversaries showing up with potato salad three weeks after trying to blow up a casino and being welcomed with open arms like a long lost sibling, the whole deal. I know this is how it’s going to end. You know this is how it’s going to end. But it’s ranked last anyway because we can have way more fun playing make-believe with it all. So let’s do that.
9. Everyone stays in space and fights aliens
If, as has been teased multiple times and remains inevitable given the trajectory of this delightful bozo circus of a film franchise, the ninth movie takes one or more of the crew to outer space, even briefly, then that opens the door to Space Stuff as an ongoing development. There’s no reason the next movie can’t open with the government recruiting the Family, again, because someone is trying to blow up the moon. And while they’re on the moon — space buggy races for pink slips, etc. — they discover aliens. And then the whole last movie is them in the damn cosmos shooting lasers out of spaceships they know how to fly for some reason, except for Tyrese, who shouts “Oh HELL no” and just rides with Ludacris and complains the whole time.
Be honest. You can see this crystal clear in your head right now. Do not lie to me on Vin Diesel’s internet.
8. Shot-for-shot remake of Infinity War and Endgame
Look, if we’re going to end the franchise with a massive two-part final chapter, and we’ve already more or less turned the movie’s characters into science-defying comic book heroes, and I just convinced myself that aliens can be looped into this without it being a completely unreasonable reach, then I don’t see why we can’t just go ahead and be hilarious about it. Put Vin Diesel in a full-on Iron Man suit. Let Ludacris be Spider-Man. Let The Rock be Hulk. Let Statham play Captain America even though he has a British accent thicker than The Rock’s thighs. I could keep going.
And I will. Jordana Brewster is Black Widow. Michelle Rodriguez is Captain Marvel. Sung Kang is Star-Lord. Tyrese is Black Panther. Charlize Theron is Thanos. Groot is there but is voiced by Ja Rule as his character from the first movie, to avoid confusion. Just mash it all up into a ball and heave it into my big stupid face. That’s all I ask.
7. Gisele comes back too and she and Han get married
If this franchise can bring back Han after killing him off in the third movie and fudging the chronology to bring him back for films 4-6 and then revealing he was murdered by Jason Statham and then making Statham a good guy by the eighth movie, there is absolutely no reason they can’t also bring back Gisele, played by Gal Gadot, who died in the sixth movie, and end the franchise with a huge ceremony where she and Han get married. I’m picturing everything in these next bullet points:
- Ceremony officiated by Ludacris because if he can go from Miami mechanic and jet-ski race referee to world’s greatest computer hacker in a span of about four films, he can certainly get ordained, too
- Gal Gadot drives a supercharged neon Honda down the aisle to the altar
- She is given away by Vin Diesel who drives a huge muscle car next to her and sheds a single tear of joy
- Instead of the traditional wedding march, they walk — er, drive — no, DRIFT — down the aisle to “See You Again,” performed live by Wiz Khalifa even though it folds the movie’s universe on top of itself
- Car cake
I will 100 percent cry if this happens. I feel okay about it.
6. Voltron ending
In order to defeat their most powerful enemy yet (let’s say, oh, I don’t know, a Tyrannosaurus rex controlled by Tilda Swinton), the Family is outfitted with a fleet of cars that can link together to form a 50-foot robot with arms and legs and a head and that throws NoS-powered haymakers at the dinosaur in the middle of Paris and then climbs the Eiffel Tower and leaps off of it to deliver a crushing elbow to the throat to finish the battle. I barely think about this at all. Only like an hour every night. That’s less than five percent of the day. Like I said, barely at all.
5. Dominic Toretto is elected President
See, on paper, a convicted felon who escaped a prison transport bus and was hunted to Brazil by a powerful government agency and who used to make his living stealing DVD players from moving 18-wheelers in coordinated highway heists would be, like, a pretty bad candidate, but please consider these two things: One, picture Dominic Toretto grunting and growling his way through a debate; two, what if he wins the election without campaigning at all, just through a coordinated national write-in movement, possibly after the incumbent president reveals himself to be an evil mastermind who kills his opponent in a plot to become King of America and is defeated by Dom and Company in an adrenaline-thumping final battle that involves Mia Toretto driving a hovercraft down the Potomac?
Not so far-fetched now, is it? I mean, for this franchise.
4. Jason Statham and The Rock break bad and we have an inter-Family battle to the death
The Fast & Furious franchise has a long history of characters flipping from good to bad. Letty became a villain for a minute when she had amnesia after almost dying. Dom was a villain for a chunk of the eighth movie when he was blackmailed. Statham’s character straight-up murdered Han and tried to blow Dom out of the Abu Dhabi sky with a bazooka, and now he’s a lovable goof with a spin-off. It takes no death-defying leap of logic to get from any of that to “Hobbs and Shaw break bad or maybe break good and try to take down the heroic/felonious family once and for all.”
I really want to see this. I know they all have that alleged clause in their contracts about how they can’t lose fights but that almost makes it better. Close this sucker out with an hour-long battle in the streets and cut to the credits as it’s raging on, with no resolution beyond the implication that the ruckus rages on in perpetuity. Everyone driving high-performance cars that have been outfitted with hood-mounted cannons, laying waste to an entire city without harming each other at all, speeding around and through rubble until the end of time in a cloud of dust and anarchy. It’s kind of perfect.
3. Dom drives to Hell and fights the Devil
I don’t have much to add here. Someone suggested it to me on Twitter and I laughed out loud for like five full seconds. I’m glad I was in an otherwise empty room when it happened. I do not think I would have had fun trying to answer the question, “What’s so funny?” But I did have a lot of fun picturing it. That’s what matters here.
2. Jacob’s Ladder situation
Do you listen to How Did This Get Made? I hope so. It’s a good podcast. One of their running bits features Jason Mantzoukas suggesting that a movie — any movie, no matter how BBC silly or dumb — could end with “a Jacob’s Ladder-type situation,” a reference to the 1990 movie with the twist ending that — spoilers, I guess? — the whole thing was a hallucination.
My working theory for how this plays out in the Fast & Furious universe is that Dom actually slipped into a coma after the crash at the end of the first movie…
… and everything that has happened since is just his brain going wild while he is hooked up to machines in the hospital. The crazy thing is that this is somehow both completely insane and kind of the most logical way to explain how a franchise that started with a small-time criminal who runs a lunch counter evolved into a globe-trotting adventure involving multiple death ruses and amnesia and submarines and secretive government organizations and maybe a trip to outer space. I almost want it to happen now. I would do such a weird groan/laugh/shout combination that people in the theater might think I’m dying.
1. Everyone travels back in time to before the events of the first movie, with the knowledge of everything that has happened since, and lives happily ever after in a world where they get to wink at each other and smile knowingly
I swear to God, if Ludacris doesn’t build a time machine before this franchise ends, I will eat one of my shoes. Please keep in mind here that I called the submarine in the eighth movie and have been banging the drum for outer space for years now. I am not a crackpot.
I mean, I am a crackpot, sure, but in a way that lines up well with the madness of these movies. I will miss them so much.