Helen Mirren once said in an interview with Yahoo News that it was her great ambition to be a "baddie" or a "mad driver" in a Fast and Furious movie. Her wish was somewhat granted with this movie: although she doesn't get to drive, she plays an influential underworld figure who is also the mother of two previous bad guys, Owen (Luke Evans) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).
When the crew is shown the garage of all the cars including the army tank, you can see Paul Walker's GTR that his character drove in the 7th instalment up on top of one of the 3 tier car racks. A subtle tribute to the late actor.
When Mr. Nobody explains the "top 10 most wanted" list, and that Roman was number 11, he says people in the room are numbers 6, 8, 9, and 10. The missing number 7 is a tribute to Paul Walker, who died during production of movie #7. His character, Brian O'Conner is now out of the life.
A week before filming ended, Dwayne Johnson posted an infamous message on Instagram, confirming that the production had endured its share of on-set frictions: "This is my final week of shooting #FastAndFurious8. There's no other franchise that gets my blood boiling more than this one. An incredible hard working crew. Universal has been great partners as well. My female co-stars are always amazing and I love 'em. My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't. The ones that don't are too chicken shit to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I'm not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling - you're right. Bottom line is it'll play great for the movie and fits this Hobbs character that's embedded in my DNA extremely well. The producer in me is happy about this part. Final week on Fast 8 and I'll finish strong. ;/ #IcemanCometh #F8 #ZeroToleranceForCandyAsses". The post came after co-star and executive producer Vin Diesel reportedly canceled some of Johnson's planned scenes at the last minute. On several occasions, Diesel had also reportedly refused to show up on set as he was scheduled, leaving hundreds of cast, crew and extras waiting on set for him for more than six hours. Diesel confronted Johnson in a secret meeting one day after Dwayne's message was posted online. Johnson later told The Hollywood Reporter that the meeting cleared up a few things. He confirmed that he and Diesel did not shoot scenes together because of "a fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach filmmaking and collaborating", but that he was "grateful for that clarity". Although he did not provide details, it was later revealed that the announcement of Johnson's spin-off movie Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) was one of the main reasons for Diesel's behavior (as it would split up the franchise and delay Fast & Furious 9 (2020)). Johnson stated that he would probably pass on Fast & Furious 9, but wished Diesel "all the best and I harbor no ill will there, just because of the clarity we have. Actually, you can erase that last part about 'no ill will.' We'll just keep it with the clarity".
At the beginning of the film, before the race, Dom tweaks the engine of the car he is about to use to make it faster. He uses the opener ring of a soda can to attach a hose to a part of the engine, calling it a "poor man's turbo". Later during the race, when he engages it, he says, "Ok Buster, lets see if this works," hinting that Brian O'Connor taught it to him. Dom's crew constantly referred to Brian as "The Buster" or "Buster" throughout the first film.
Paul Walker's character, Brian O'Conner used to drive Japanese imports in the franchise. His replacement, Little Nobody (played by Scott Eastwood) who is his close friend in real life also drive these type of cars (Subaru BRZ and Subaru Impreza WRX STi) in this movie. These indicates a tribute to late Paul Walker from Scott as these type of cars were his favorite in the Fast and Furious franchise as Brian O'Conner and in the real life.
In April 2016, The Fate of the Furious (2017) filmed in Iceland (standing in for Russian territory for the third time in a blockbuster movie, after "A View to a Kill" and "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider"), including the largest explosion to be filmed in that country.
While backstage at the 2015 MTV Movie Awards, Vin Diesel hinted in an interview that this film would be set in New York City. He stated that "Furious 7 (2015) was for Paul and The Fate of the Furious (2017) will be from Paul". Before his tragic death, Paul Walker told Diesel that 'Furious 8' was guaranteed to be made. Diesel reiterated the dedication in numerous other interviews while promoting this movie. This explains why the beginning of the film does in fact open with a street race, paying homage to the first two films in the series whose opening scenes contained street races involving Paul Walker's character.
The ritual dance that Hobbs and his soccer players perform is a traditional Pacific island war dance called the Haka, the Siva Tau, the Cibi, or the Kaiao, depending on the tribe of origin. The New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, etc. international rugby teams perform these dances at the starts of their matches as a sign of strength and prowess.
Despite a considerable portion of the film being set in New York City, the only actual filming that took place there was for second-unit "B-roll" footage. Only "picture cars" were used for these scenes, and none of the lead actors were present for filming. All of the actual action sequences set there were filmed in Cleveland or Atlanta, given the logistical impossibility of closing down major streets in Manhattan for any extended length of time.
During the London premiere of Furious 7 (2015), Helen Mirren raved about the film and her wish to appear in a role if there would be a sequel been made. She would reiterate her wish in an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, saying that she wouldn't need 'to act' and would just have fun on the movie. Word got round to Diesel who wrote a role for her in this movie.
Vin Diesel and the producers of the film wanted to shoot some large action sequences in Metro Manila in The Philippines. Producers were requesting government agencies to close down a large piece of a major highway in Manila called "EDSA". Which is known to be one of the busiest highways in the country. The Philippine government turned down the request of the producers due to a major crippling of the City's thoroughfares.
At one point in the movie Jason Statham's character calls Dwayne Johnson's character 'Hercules'. This is a reference to the 2014 blockbuster Hercules (2014) in which Johnson starred as the title character.
The movie quite purposely contains a number of references to other movies, in addition to events within the F&F series itself dating back to Fast Five (2011). Deckard Shaw compared Hobbs to Hercules, which is particularly notable given the fact that Hobbs' role in Furious 7 (2015) was deliberately minimized because Dwayne Johnson was slated to film Hercules (2014) (as its titular character) during most of Furious 7 (2015)'s original filming schedule. After filming was postponed following Paul Walker's death, making Johnson available again, the producers retooled that film's ending to incorporate Hobbs as a major part of the action. Other references include a riff on "Miss Parker" (Ramsey) based on a line from Friday (1995), also directed by F. Gary Gray, and "Jaws," when Hobbs comments - while on the run from the submarine under Cipher's control - that "we're gonna need a bigger truck." Deckard woken up by his mother in the ambulance also references the Crank (2006) movies in which Jason Statham starred.
As was the case in the previous three F&F instalments, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) bought product placement in the movie, but this time at a considerably broader level. Everyone on Dom's team except for Hobbs is shown driving a Dodge Challenger during their attack of the Berlin facility, and Hobbs' latest truck is depicted as a Ram (another FCA brand). Further, the producers revealed shortly before the movie's debut that all of the Challengers are 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demons, an all-new variant of the model that FCA used the movie to introduce. The Demon is the most powerful factory-spec Challenger ever made, with an 840-horsepower engine and a quarter-mile time in the nine-second range. Also, nearly all of the "zombie cars" Cipher assumes control of during the New York sequence are either Jeeps, Chryslers or Fiats, including the ones seen falling from a garage onto the street below. Finally, both of the vintage muscle cars Dom drives are Chrysler-family vehicles: the 1971 Plymouth GTX from the Manhattan-set scenes, and a heavily modified 1970 Dodge Charger - the same one driven by Dom throughout the series - in the ice sequence.
When Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is taken into prison, Shaw (Jason Statham) taunts him by saying that he only needs to "dig through 11 feet of concrete, or so I'm told". The person who told him that was Hobbs himself, at the end of Furious 7 (2015).
The vehicles driven by the team during the Manhattan action sequence include a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette (Letty); a 2016 Mercedes AMG GT S (Tej and Ramsey); a 2016 Jaguar F-Type (Shaw); a 2016 Bentley Continental GT (Roman); a 2017 Subaru BRZ (Little Nobody); and an International MXT (Hobbs). By necessity, the team drives mostly customized vehicles for the climactic ice sequence, but the two street models used in it - given that both are equipped with all-wheel-drive - are a Lamborghini Murciélago(driven by Roman) and a Subaru WRX STI (Little Nobody). Hobbs drives an "Ice Ram," a heavily modified Dodge Ram truck with tank-style tracks instead of wheels, and Letty drives a customized Local Motors Rally Fighter.
At the beginning Dom uses a soda can top ring to make "a poor man's turbo", however the motor can clearly be seen to have a turbo on the right hand side of the engines during the racing scenes as it is glowing red.
In the movie Kurt Russell plays Mr. Nobody, one of his base of operations was he refers to as "No Where". Russell also plays Ego (The living planet) in the MCU Guardians Of The Galaxy franchise that has the floating head of an ancient celestial being which is called "Know Where".
Luke Hobbs, played by Dwayne Johnson, in one scene is performing the Haka, a traditional Maori (from New Zealand) chant, which is similar with dancing by Maui, characters from movie Moana (2016), which was voiced by Johnson himself. The Haka has its roots throughout Polynesian culture all the way to Hawaii, the one Hobbs dances with his girls soccer team is Maori, there are variants through the islands in the Pacific,.
The car chase in Iceland is very reminiscent of a Bond film Die Another Day (2002) that also has a car chase like the one in this film, with another Bond title actually filmed some scenes there. Many other chases appear that are either inspired by Bond movies such as Skyfall; Lodge Blowing, Dom's house blowing up and the gas tank chase similar to the gas tank chase at the end of the film of Licence to Kill (1989). Rick Yune starred in both Die Another Day (2002) and The Fast and the Furious (2001).
During the kids soccer game, Hobbs tells the government official who was asking him to go on the Berlin assignment to cheer for his daughter's team or risk having "them, being Tay Tay fans kicking his ass" - Tay Tay referring to Taylor Swift. Co-star Scott Eastwood appeared alongside Swift in her music video, Wildest Dreams.
This film, along with The Expendables 3 (2014), Furious 7 (2015), The Transporter franchise, and The Meg (2018) are the only Jason Statham movies to be rated PG-13. All other Jason Statham movies are rated either R16 or R18.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Writer of the series Chris Morgan has stated that having Dom name his son Brian just felt like the right thing to do. Not only was it a way to honor Paul but also a way to honor the character of Brian for everything he and Dom have been through throughout the saga and pay tribute to how much Brian has changed Dom's life. It also imitates Diesel's real-life homage to Walker who named his daughter, Pauline, after the late actor in March 2015.
When Cypher asks Dom what is important to him, Dom answers, "Family." Cypher corrects him and says, "It's the 10 seconds between start and finish when you're not thinking about anything: no family, no obligation; just you, being free." These are the same words spoken by Dom to Brian on the The Fast and the Furious (2001) when they were talking in Dom's garage after showing his dad's black Charger.
There is a scene in the movie involving the Shaw brothers (Luke Evans and Jason Statham) where they use a jet pack to fly into a plane. Once inside, Deckard quips "Now, don't get any ideas. You and planes don't have a good history." with Owen replying "No shit." This is a reference to the never-ending runway scene and what happens to Owen at the end of Fast & Furious 6 (2013).
During the fight inside the ship towards the end of the movie, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) uses his wresting finisher "the rock bottom" to slam a guard onto a rail. This is the second time he shows off this move, the first being when he uses it to slam Deckard Shaw through a glass table in Furious 7 (2015). He also used another wrestling move in Fast Five (2011) against Dom Vin Diesel, the German Suplex.
The outfit Hobbs wears after Mr. Nobody breaks him and Deckard out of prison is the outfit he wears for the whole movie after that. He doesn't change or alter his outfit until the last act of the movie.
At the end of the movie when the Shaw brothers enter Cipher's plane, Deckard makes a joke about Owen and planes, leading to his brother looking at the ramp with anguish. This is a nod to the sixth movie of the franchise, in which Owen was the main villain and was thrown out of a plane during the final fight.
The first trailer shows Mr. Nobody (played by Kurt Russell) breaking Deckard Shaw (played by Jason Statham) and Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson) out of prison, so he can recruit Shaw into helping them find, and get Dom back. This can only mean that Deckard Shaw will switch from antagonist to protagonist in this movie. He was the main antagonist in the previous movie.
Although Paul Walker died and his character Brian O'Connor retired at the end of Furious 7, Brian does not appear in Furious 8 but his character lives on and is mentioned by Tej in one scene. Furious 8 contains tributes to Walker, particularly Dom naming his son Brian in honor of his brother-in-law.
In Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) is last seen getting thrown from the cargo hold of a plane. In this film Owen makes his return through the cargo hold of Cypher's (Charlize Theron) plane.