Some franchises add numbers to their sequel titles. Think Spider-Man 2 or Iron Man 3 or Final Destination 5. Other franchises opt for more eccentric, colonized sequel-subtitles, like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End or Thor: The Dark World or the inadvertently flipped The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Sometimes franchises get particularly fanciful with how they incorporate the original film’s title: Die Hard beget Die Hard With a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard, and A Good Day to Die Hard, titles which are uniformly better than their movies. But if a franchise is especially cool, they’ll just avoid the original title all together. We’re talking The Dark Knight, or The Road Warrior, or The Empire Strikes Back, which is what the second Star Wars movie was called before it was retitled Star Wars:
Episode II Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (Special Edition).
Then there’s the Fast & Furious franchise.
The first movie was released in a month that also featured Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Swordfish and Evolution and because everyone loves a good frontslash, Crazy/Beautiful. By comparison, The Fast and the Furious looked out of place: Two definite articles, a conjunction, two alliterative words which described action (Fast!) and state of mind (Furious!) Then came a sequel with possible the goofiest title ever: 2 Fast 2 Furious. It sounded like a parody. (Fortunately, the movie kind of was a parody.) Then came the Subtitle To End All Subtitles. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. To the moviegoing population of 2006, that name conjured nonsense. “Tokyo Drift”: A city that heretofore had nothing to do with the franchise, followed by a verb (or was it a noun?) which probably sounded really cool and skateboard-y in a meeting. What was next? Moscow Swipe? Bangkok Slide? Helsinki Flow?
Then. Fast & Furious. Not just back to basics. Beyond the basics. Who has time for “the”? Who has time to actually spell out “and”? This is the future, baby. But all of that was just prologue to Fast Five. It’s so stupid it’s brilliant. By spelling out the number, the franchise maintained the FF alliteration. It also seemed to vaguely imply that “Fast Five” was the name of a superteam – “Dominic Toretto and the Fast Five!” – even through, crucially, no one in Fast Five ever says the phrase “Fast Five.” (For that matter, I’m pretty sure no one in a Fast & Furious movie has ever said the word “Furious.”)
So when the trailer for the sixth Fast movie aired during this year’s Super Bowl, you had to be just a little disappointed with the title they chose. Fast & Furious 6. Less of a title than a brand extension, a new product launch; might as well have titled it Fast & Furious ‘13. But here’s where things start to get complicated. Almost everyone involved in the movie generally calls it just plain Fast 6 – or perhaps Fast Six, depending on the accent. But if you’ve seen the movie – and most of you have – then you know that the opening credits conclude with the movie’s title… and onscreen, the movie’s title is Furious 6, which is clearly a much better title, partially because it sits nicely next to Fast Five and partially because it sounds like the name of a team of supervillains. “Dominic Toretto and the Fast Five vs. Owen Shaw and the Furious Six” – has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
So what gives? When contacted for clarification, Universal confirmed that the title card of the movie is indeed Furious 6 – but also insisted that the official title of the movie is Fast & Furious 6. Admittedly, there is some history of the film’s onscreen title card not matching the actual official registered title. (When Kill Bill Volume 2 was released in theaters, its opening title sequence credits it simply as Vol. 2.)
So that’s the official answer. But I choose to respectfully disagree with corporate reality on this one. Onscreen, the sixth Fast & Furious film is clearly titled Furious 6; hence, that is how it shall be referred to forevermore. And now we have many months to ponder the title of the seventh film. Furious & Fast? Fast Fast Bang Bang? The Seven Fast Furies? Given the latest updates on director James Wan’s Instagram, perhaps The Fast and the Furious: Abu Dhabi Barrel Roll?
Just for fun, here’s an exclusive video from EW’s Vine of the first scene from Fast 7. Spoilers, natch:
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