Fast and Furious 9 director

Earlier this week, we wrote about how there’s a chance The Fate of the Furious director F. Gary Gray might not return for the upcoming Fast 9. But this is one of Universal’s biggest moneymakers, so somebody has to take on the tremendous challenge of leading the massive production as the series barrels toward its planned ending. Who could successfully shoulder the weight of a long-running film franchise yet still deliver an entertaining spectacle in a quick and efficient manner? I’ve come up with 10 filmmakers I think are up to the task, so read on for my list of who could be the Fast and Furious 9 director.

Michelle MacLaren and Andrew Lincoln - The Walking Dead

Michelle MacLaren

There’s a reason MacLaren’s name is a staple on any list of directors for major blockbuster projects: she’s simply one of the most qualified people working in the industry today. She’s thrived in worlds as varied as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones, keeping a focus on character while still crafting compelling action sequences, dramatic reveals, and moody atmospherics. Plus, series star Michelle Rodriguez recently threatened to bail if the filmmakers don’t “show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one,” and there’s no better way to jumpstart that conversation than to put a qualified female filmmaker in the director’s chair. We’re still waiting for MacLaren to make the jump into feature films, and considering that there have been multiple instances of directors being thrust into the blockbuster market after directing just one indie movie, it makes sense that MacLaren should at least be in the conversation each time a major release is looking for someone to lead it.

Sinbad movie

Miguel Sapochnik

Let’s move on to a different Game of Thrones director. Sapochnik has helmed three of the all-time great GoT episodes – “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards,” and “The Winds of Winter” – and has a proven ability to tackle complex battle scenes involving horses, fire, hundreds of extras, and intricate CG shots. Those qualities alone make him a valid choice to step in, but he also has feature directing experience (he directed Repo Men in 2010) and directing credits on shows like Fringe, Banshee, and True Detective. Compared to the budget and time restraints of working on large scale television, making a Fast movie should be a breeze for him.

Lin Cohen Wan

Justin Lin, Rob Cohen, or James Wan

In light of how much this franchise loves family, who better to slide back into the driver’s seat than a previous family member? Since F. Gary Gray seems to have taken his name out of contention, Rob Cohen, Justin Lin, and James Wan have all directed Fast movies before and might be willing to return for a victory lap. Universal reportedly wanted Lin back for The Fate of the Furious, so it stands to reason that they’d be looking to fill this new position with someone who’s utterly familiar with the ins and outs of this job’s requirements. Personally, I’d love to see Lin at least come back for the tenth and presumably final movie in the main Fast saga (the spinoffs will likely continue for a while beyond that), since he was largely responsible for bringing this whole thing back from the brink of obliteration, and I certainly wouldn’t mind if he came back for both 9 and 10. But I think we all agree that John Singleton can sit this one out, considering his 2 Fast 2 Furious is the worst movie in the series thus far.

lexi alexander

Lexi Alexander

Alexander has a track record of making potent, visceral movies like Green Street Hooligans and Punisher: War Zone, and she’s been waiting for another chance to show that she belongs on lists like these. She could easily handle the fast pacing and large scale of a Fast film, and she’d be able to bestow the inevitable fist fights with a down-and-dirty physicality that was missing from The Fate of the Furious.

Kathryn Bigelow Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow

Another regular on lists of this sort, Bigelow would be a fun choice to direct a Fast & Furious movie because she directed the 1991 action classic Point Break, which of course served as the cinematic template for 2001’s The Fast and The Furious, the film that kicked off this entire franchise. She can direct the hell out of a foot chase (Point Break’s is still one of the best of all time), and though her recent movies have leaned more toward realistic depictions of war and social upheaval (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Detroit), I have a feeling she’d be able to step into the ludicrous Fast universe and rock our worlds.

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