Vin Diesel has posted a new poster for Furious 8 on his Facebook page, and many are seeing it as a poignant reminder of the jolt the franchise withstood during the filming of Furious 7. Obviously, we’re referring to the tragic loss of Diesel’ best mate, castmate and vehicular soulmate, Paul Walker, who died in a car accident in November 2013. With a tagline of New Roads Ahead, and Diesel alone and staring off into the distance, it’s no stretch to imagine the message he wanted to convey.

 

furious 8, vin diesel, poster, paul walker, dom toretto

 

This will be the first Fast & Furious film without Walker, who was as much a part of the franchise as Diesel himself. Although the accident which took his life occurred while Furious 7 was still in production, the use of existing film, in addition to CGI and Walker’s two younger brothers filling in as doubles, enabled his final film to be completed posthumously.

Walker’s death hit pop culture hard, but it was nothing in comparison to how it affected Diesel. Since then Diesel never misses an opportunity to pay homage to his late friend, even going so far as to name his daughter Pauline, born only a few months after Walker’s death. Despite the sad turn of events, though, Diesel reassured fans quickly that the show would go on, and three more Fast & Furious films would follow Furious 7.

Interestingly, the title of the film seems to change pretty frequently. First, it was Fast and Furious 8, which was then shortened to Fast 8 by the time its first poster was released in January. However now it seems Furious 8 is where we’re at now. Truthfully, we’re all for naming it 8 Fast 8 Furious. Not to mention we’re all waiting for the inevitable: Furious X.

Furious 8 sees the return of Diesel (as Dom Toretto) plus Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Jason Statham, Lucas Black and (allegedly) Eva Mendes. Newcomers to the franchise are Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood and Kristofer Hivju (best known as Tormund Giantsbane on Game of Thrones). Rumors swirled that Walker’s brother, Cody, would also return as Brian O’Conner’s (Paul Walker) brother Jack, but as of yet there is no official word on that role.

There are some big shoes to fill for this installment as Furious 7 managed to pull in an astounding $1.5 billion globally, due in part to Walker’s death as well as the film’s quality. Furious 8 is set to release April 17, 2017.

 

Images via Vin Diesel (Facebook), Universal