LAS VEGAS -- Following the box office success of the latest “Fast & Furious” film, “Furious 7,” the franchise’s lead actor, Vin Diesel, made a surprise appearance at CinemaCon in Las Vegas Thursday evening. In response to some speculation that an eighth film in the action series was in the works, Diesel confirmed “Furious 8” is officially happening.

“You have been so loyal all along. All of you made ‘Furious 7’ something of history,” Diesel told the audience of exhibitiors at the event before making the announcement. “We are making ‘Furious 8,” he said as the audience cheered.

The actor said the continuation of the series will honor of his late co-star and longtime friend, Paul Walker, who made his final appearance in “Furious 7." “I swear to you and I swear to my brother upstairs, we are going to make the best movie,” Diesel said. “This is more than a movie. It’s a movement.”

Diesel, who made his announcement during Universal’s 2015 slate presentation, also confirmed the next sequel’s official release date. “Furious 8” will drive its way into theaters April 14, 2017.