Justin Lin Won't Return to Helm <i>Fast &amp; Furious 7</i>

Justin Lin's magic number apparently is four, at least when it comes to directing the Fast and the Furious franchise.

He joined the blockbuster series in 2006 with The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, which he followed with 2009's Fast & Furious, 2011's surprise hit Fast Five and the next installment, Fast & Furious 6, which opens next month. Initially, it was thought Lin would shoot 6 and 7 back to the back, but that turns out to not be the case -- and now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the franchise will need a new director for the next installment.

Reports indicate that Lin bowed out of directing Fast 7 for timing reasons. Universal Pictures wants to keep the franchise in theaters and aims to have the next installment ready to roll next year. There's also word that Lin wants to diversify his filmography. Aside from a few shorts and episodes of Community, his output has been almost entirely fast and/or furious.

In the meantime, Universal is revving up for the sixth installment, which is scheduled for a May 24 release. Here's the film's official synopsis:

Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead the returning cast of all-stars as the global blockbuster franchise built on speed races to its next continent in Fast & Furious 6. Reuniting for their most high-stakes adventure yet, fan favorites Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Elsa Pataky are joined by badass series newcomers Luke Evans and Gina Carano.

Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian’s (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete.

Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again.

Building on the worldwide blockbuster success of Fast Five and taking the action, stunts and narrative to even greater heights, Fast & Furious 6 sees director Justin Lin back behind the camera for the fourth time. He is supported by longtime producers Neal H. Moritz and Vin Diesel, who welcome producer Clayton Townsend back to the series.

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