With the ever-accelerating Fast & Furious franchise currently raking in a half-billion box office dollars from hardy (and, let’s be honest, cinema-starved) global audiences, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges is on top of the world. Or out of this world, as the trailer confirmed that Luda’s team tech expert Tej and costar Tyrese Gibson’s Roman take the next logical step in the series’ “fast things go fast” métier and drive/fly some sort of technically-still-a-car conveyance into outer space. Appearing on the Wanda Sykes guest-hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday, Ludacris was happily unconcerned that, just perhaps, the venerably over-the-top movie franchise had jumped the shark along with the surly bonds of gravity. Telling Sykes that would-be plutocratic space jockeys like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Tom Cruise “can kiss my ass,” the actor and rapper laid claim to being first in line to drive an earthbound automobile out of Earth’s atmosphere. (Note to Musk that simply shooting an empty car worth more than many people’s houses into space does not count.)
Luda boasted with all due (and sort-of justified) pride that the throngs of F9 fans currently enjoying the latest adventures of his big screen found family of street-/sky-racers may have just “saved the movie theater industry.” (Well, with some notable and heartbreaking exceptions, but even Vin Diesel still has some limitations.) Sykes congratulated the longtime F&F sideman, while gently chiding Luda that maybe, just maybe, the series’ escalating, top-that stakes suggest that literally nothing is off the table going forward. (At this point, it’s de rigueur to remind everyone that the 2001 original The Fast And The Furious was about Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and crew stealing TV/VCR combination units. On Earth.)
Pointing to internet chatter (the most reliable and levelheaded type of chatter) that’s currently crowd-sourcing a script where Dom, Tej, and company vroom through whatever’s left of Jurassic World, Sykes demanded an answer. Luda wasn’t having it, sadly, telling Sykes, “that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life,” asserting in no uncertain terms that people driving hurriedly away from rampaging dinosaurs just isn’t the Fast & Furious brand. It’s a blow to anyone currently fan-scripting a scene where a panicky Tej says “must go faster” while Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty engages their car’s supercharged electromagnet to smash everything in their path (again, see F9's trailer), compounded by Bridges’ assertion that Godzilla (and presumably Kong) are similarly out of the question. But, hey, the actor did admit that he wasn’t expecting to leave the planet when he first opened the F9 script, so we’re leaving the door open for this franchise where “it’s all about family,” but the ninth film reveals that its lead character and father figure has an actual, flesh-and-blood brother that nobody ever heard about until John Cena wanted to hop on board.
While F9 won’t be available for home viewing until later this year (at the earliest), continue to listen to the experts (and your own sense of COVID safety) as to whether to see it in theaters.