Universal



Nearly two decades into its run, the engine is still revving on the "Fast and Furious" franchise, with filming beginning this week on the ninth outing in the venerable action series.

Several stars shared social media posts commemorating the first day of production, including Vin Diesel, who has played lead Dominic Toretto since the first flick back in 2001. In a video message on Instagram, Diesel, alongside fellow returning star Michelle Rodriguez, marveled at the insane achievement of reaching the nine-film mark.



"It feels like a miracle," Diesel says in the clip. "We're just so grateful."

Diesel went on to thank studio Universal for its support throughout the years, as well as the franchise's large cast and crew. But the star's biggest thanks were aimed at the fans.

"We're so blessed, and we love you so much," Diesel said.

Costar Nathalie Emmanuel ("Game of Thrones"), who joined the franchise in 2015's "Furious 7," also marked the occasion, tweeting out a note of excitement that "the team is back together."



Entertainment Weekly deciphered the emojis in Emmanuel's tweet to determine which other actors would also be returning, surmising that the actress was most likely referring to "Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and Rodriguez’s Letty, ... Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pearce, Jordana Brewster’s Mia, Ludacris’ Tej Parker, and Emmanuel’s hacker Ramsey."

Fans will have to wait a little less than a year to find out for sure. "Fast and Furious 9" is due in theaters on May 20, 2020. A tenth film in the franchise is also slated for release in April 2021.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]