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Fast & Furious Spy Racers Sahara

Dom’s favorite cousin, Tony Toretto, is back in Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Sahara. The third season of the beloved franchise’s animated spin-off sends its heroes to North Africa on a mission to rescue their mentor, Ms. Nowhere.

Since the show premiered on Netflix in 2019, Tony and his crew have been busy taking down nefarious crime organizations across the globe despite merely being teenagers. This season, not only do they move from the rainforests of Rio to the deserts of the Sahara,  they must also contend with internal crises of confidence throughout.

Related: Fast & Furious Spy Racers: Voice Cast & Character Guide

Showrunners Tim Hedrick and Bret Haaland spoke to Screen Rant in anticipation of the December 26 release of Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Sahara. They teased the journeys for Tony, Echo and Layla as well as shared which characters they’d like to see in the live-action films.

fast and furious spy racers - Gary & Ms Nowhere

How do you approach the right tone to make sure that it worked for both fans of the movies and kids just getting into it?

Tim Hedrick: I think that, at the very beginning, the goal was just for the show to be really fun. We knew that people expect a certain amount of action, and they expect this  amount of spectacle that we had to hit. And those were all production challenges that we knew were in it, but we just wanted it to be like a really fun ride that the whole family could take together.
It’s not that difficult, honestly, to tone back on the overly sexual stuff or, if things get a little too real or a little too violent, to tone back on that. And then it also gave us an opportunity to push other areas artistically, so that the colors would be really vibrant. When they’re driving through Los Angeles, there’s never tagging; it’s all beautiful graffiti.  We create this really hyper, pushed world that we can put our characters in, and really hit what animation can do so well. Just back off on some of the stuff that’s a little too violent for kids.

Speaking of the animation, you’ve put out some great animation very quickly. How far in advance do you plan and how much work goes into deciding the locations and color palettes of each season?

Bret Haaland: Basically, in general, we finish our full animatics an entire year before we finish an episode, and there’s many notes back and forth between our overseas animation studios over the course of that year.
In terms of color palette, we have an incredible design team and incredible comp supervisors and lighting supervisors, so that we’re almost approaching it in terms of cinematography, again and again, over and over throughout the different iterations of the production. It’s not so much that we’ve set everything up front; we set it and then revise it again and again all the way through.

This season in particular has a lot of character development going on, especially because Tony starts off feeling a little insecure. Can you tease how his abilities as a leader will be tested?

Tim Hedrick: This season really has Tony questioning what it means for him to be a Toretto, and what that means for him as an individual. Dom is his idol, the super alpha action star of all time. This is the guy who he’s been looking up to his whole life, and he starts to realize, “What if that’s not me? What does that mean?”
We see him really down at the beginning of the season, and I just think that’s totally relatable for a 17 year old to be questioning who they are and be completely depressed about their life. We’ve all been in that situation. And it’s also a characteristic that you’ve never seen before in a Fast and Furious movie, where everyone is totally sure themselves and going 100 miles an hour the whole time.
Tony’s really questioning, “What’s it mean to be a leader? What’s it mean to be the head of the family, and how do I fit in? What if I’m not the leader? What if I hand off the reins to Echo to be the leader of the team? Am I not a Toretto anymore?” I think those are all questions of self that everyone can kind of relate to.

Speaking of Echo, she’s getting new responsibilities and facing new challenges because of them this season. How would you describe her trajectory?

Tim Hedrick: Echo is an interesting character, who I think has evolved just through the creation of the show. We’ve really discovered her as we’ve gone along, and Charlet [Takahashi Chung] really adds a lot with her performance. When she came in to audition and did this voice, it was like, “Yeah, now I get who this is.”
It really put her into perspective; here’s this artist who is all about graffiti. She’s kind of a part of this crew, but it doesn’t really seem like she should be. It’s like, how do these people all fit together? But you realize that she’s got this really tough side. She’s kind of the strong silent type, and she gets a chance to express that through them becoming spies. She just blossoms, and it’s this opportunity that she never knew she was going to have. All of a sudden, she can be this ultimate spy character.
This season really becomes where the rubber hits the road for her, and she actually has to put on the jacket and become Ms. Nowhere. Heavy are the shoulders that wear the jacket, you know? It’s a tough gig, so it’s exciting to see where she goes. She’s definitely one of my favorite characters.

Layla is another great female character, and one that I think really embodies the concept of family – which is at the heart of all things Fast and Furious. Would you say she’s fully integrated into the family by the season, or is there room left there to grow closer?

Tim Hedrick: I think that what’s interesting is that the first season you see her with SH1FT3R, and that’s kind of her family that she’s adopted. Then in this season, you find out that there were others before: she’s only one of them that’s been around the world. The rest of the team has never left LA; they’re a bunch of rubes. She has this experience, and this worldliness.
I do think she is a part of the family, but I will say that – as anyone with family knows- it’s not an easy ride. People can come and go, so I wouldn’t say that she’s totally secure in the family. But she definitely is putting down roots.

fast and furious spy racers - matsuo mori

I think the diversity, even off-screen, is admirable for the show and for the franchise as a whole. How does the creative team ensure that it’s not just diverse but also authentic? For example, this season has some Bedouin characters who are happy to correct stereotypes.

Tim Hedrick: DreamWorks has cultural consultants that are part of the conversation from the beginning. So, when we say, “We want to go to the Sahara,” it’s a question of where specifically is that, and what parts are we going to explore. Because it’s a gigantic desert that spread to all across North Africa, so there are a lot of different people there.
We find our region that we want to go with and work with. Then as we create the characters, there are dialect coaches that come and work with our actors, so that they make sure that they have the correct French-inflected, African accent that’s proper for the Western Sahara region where these people would be. We do a lot of old school research, like reading and watching documentaries and trying to find authenticity. We see the actual people as much as we can.
It’s fun when you get it, because then it’s more material to bring out. You don’t have to make it up; these are real people out there.

Do you have any favorite new characters you’re introducing this season, or any favorite aspect of taking on the Sahara?

Bret Haaland: I think that Matsuo is going to be an intriguing character, with this cybernetic arm of his. I think in terms of overall sense of place, which is basically a nod of respect to our effects team, it’s these incredible storms that we generated and the tornadoes and things like that, as well as the sense of the desert itself.
They’re really out of their element this time; there aren’t a lot of roads out there, and they’re still driving vehicles. That was a fun challenge, as well as even riding camels. That was that was fun for me.
Tim Hedrick: Yeah, I was really excited to get Cleve Kelso back, because I think he’s hilarious. He’s such an arch bad guy, kind of a Yosemite Sam almost. He’s really fun. He’s played by Dave Thomas, who’s a great comic actor and brings a lot to the role.
And then the camels. I mean, the camels look great; we got camel racing. If you want to go on a fun deep dive on the internet, look up camel racing and camel beauty pageants. There’s so much there to explore, and there was a real-life Botox scandal with a camel beauty pageant. Look it up.

Every season, you top yourselves with Ms. Nowhere and Gary. Their banter and antics always have me on the floor laughing. How do you find new ways to incorporate their humor, and how much of it is the actors?

Tim Hedrick: The actors inspire you, for sure. Renée is incredible, and it is a dream having her on the show. It’s really great to work with her. Tru Valentino, who plays Gary, also plays Julius. He’s awesome; he does a ton of voices. He is a hilarious actor and a very good singer.
Actually, those two have never been in a room together. Somehow, it all comes together. But writing for those guys is a dream. They are a dream gig, for sure.
The show has had strong connections to the movies from the start, given that Tony is Dom’s nephew. Is there any chance, with some producing overlap, that we could see  these characters in the movies one day
Tim Hedrick: I hope so. I think it’d be great. I think Tony Toretto is a natural for these films, and I think Tyler Posey could play the role. I think, honestly, he would fit right in. Also, I’d love to see Ms. Nowhere in there. That’s up to somebody else, but it would be great.

Aside from the franchise itself, what are some of the stylistic inspirations for Spy Racers?

Bret Haaland: Well, we’re going to look at a combination of things involving spies and teenagers. Everything from James Bond to Fast and Furious, and even the Harry Potter franchise. You want to keep a light-hearted balance between the action and the humor. For the way kids relate to each other, we’re constantly watching all kinds of movies to get that going.
But I think a lot of it is also just coming out of the situations. That’s the beauty of storyboarding in animation: you sort of find your way and you’re drawing. It’s surprising how these characters can stand on their own and just evolve themselves without really having to copy some outside character.

More: Fast & Furious: All The Movie Connections In Netflix’s Spy Racers

Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Sahara launches exclusively on Netflix December 26.

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Fast & Furious 11 Needs Hobbs Vs. Dom (To End The Rock & Vin Diesel’s Feud)


Fast and Furious 11 needs to feature an epic fight between The Rock and Vin Diesel to resolve the real-life feud and bring closure to their characters’ relationship. The clash between Dom and Hobbs in Fast Five was a game-changer, and revisiting that epic confrontation in Fast 11 would elevate the action and add nostalgia. A showdown between Dom and Hobbs in Fast 11 could serve as a decisive moment of reconciliation, reaffirming the underlying themes of family and unity in the franchise.

Now that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has returned to the Fast Saga, Fast and Furious 11 needs to include an epic fight between Johnson and Vin Diesel. In the high-octane world of the Fast and Furious franchise, the thrill of fast cars and heart-stopping action has always been amplified by the magnetic on-screen chemistry between its stars. However, a real-life feud between The Rock and Vin Diesel has been brewing since 2016. Director Louis Leterrier achieved the impossible by bringing The Rock back into the fold. Now, he must find a way to reunite Luke Hobbs and Dominic Toretto on-screen.

Ever since Fate of the Furious, the void left by The Rock’s absence has grown more conspicuous. The actor’s feud with Vin Diesel has cast a shadow over the franchise, making it increasingly difficult for the writers and directors to craft a cohesive narrative. As Fast Saga fans await the next installment, all eyes are on Leterrier to weave a compelling story that not only showcases jaw-dropping action but also offers a chance for Hobbs and Dom to partake in an epic showdown.

Hobbs & Dom Fighting In Fast & Furious 11 Would Bring Their Arc Full Circle
Vin Diesel's Dom confronts Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs in Fast Five

Fast X and Fast and Furious 11 act as sequels to Fast Five in many ways, so it makes perfect sense for the upcoming installment to build on the fight scene between Dom and Hobbs from Fast Five. The clash between the two powerhouse characters left an indelible mark on fans. Revisiting that epic confrontation could elevate the adrenaline-fueled action and add a layer of nostalgia to Fast and Furious 11. Now that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has had a change of heart and returned to the Fast Saga, the anticipation for a rematch between his and Vin Diesel’s characters has reached a fever pitch.

Dom and Hobbs’ showdown in Fast Five was a game-changer for the franchise, propelling it to new heights with its intensity and raw energy. Given the unresolved tension between the two stars in real life, a meticulously crafted fight scene in Fast 11 has the potential to invigorate the climax of the series and provide a cathartic experience for the actors and fans alike. As Fast 11 may be the final chapter in the Fast and Furious universe, all eyes are on this anticipated clash. Hopefully, a brotherly fight will be the defining moment that brings harmony back to the Fast Saga family.

The Rock & Vin Diesel Can Put Their Feud To Rest On Screen
Hobbs holding on to Dom in Fast and Furious 5

Vin Diesel and The Rock’s personal history adds a layer of complexity to any potential fight between their characters in Fast and Furious 11. Given their real-life feud, it’s unlikely either actor would be portrayed as the clear winner or loser. Moreover, from a storytelling perspective, it would be counterproductive to have Dom excessively harm or kill Hobbs or vice versa. However, as the series approaches its potential end, a showdown between Dom and Hobbs could serve as a decisive moment of reconciliation. After all, throughout the Fast and Furious films, audiences have witnessed a recurring pattern of men engaging in physical conflicts before eventually forming unbreakable bonds.

For instance, Fast and Furious sees Dom and Brian’s tumultuous relationship evolve into a deep brotherly connection after a series of knock-down, drag-out fights. This same sort of understanding between Dom and Hobbs would reaffirm the underlying themes of reconciliation and family that have contributed to the franchise’s enduring popularity. By embracing the notion that they are, in a sense, brothers, Dom and Hobbs could mend their on-screen relationship and deliver a broader message of unity. This would ultimately give fans a satisfying conclusion to their relationship in Fast and Furious 11.

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Vin Diesel Posts Paul Walker Tribute On 10th Anniversary Of His Death


Vin Diesel shares a touching tribute to Paul Walker 10 years after the actor’s tragic death on November 30, 2013. Diesel expresses that “more smiles manage to break through the tears” as years pass because he knows his bond with Walker will be stronger than ever when they eventually reunite. Walker’s character, Brian O’Connor, remains alive in the world of Fast and Furious, and Diesel has previously teased that the franchise won’t end without a proper farewell to Brian and Walker.

Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel takes to social media to share a touching tribute to Paul Walker, 10 years after the actor’s death. First released in 2001, the debut installment in the long-running Fast and Furious franchise introduces Diesel as Dominic Toretto and Walker as Brian O’Connor. Both characters would return for a number of sequels, but Walker tragically passed away on November 30, 2013, during the production of Furious 7.

Now, on the 10th anniversary of Walker’s passing, Diesel has shared a touching tribute post on Instagram to honor his late Fast and Furious costar. Check out the actor’s emotional post below:

Accompanying an image of Walker with one of his daughters, Diesel reminisces about an important lesson learned from the late actor and how his legacy still lives on today. Diesel’s full caption is included below:

I was listening to a song this morning…‘That Lucky Old Sun’… thought of you, racing around Heaven all day. Hahaha…
The family of the Mourning, feels like it has grown since a decade ago… feel’s like that experience of losing someone is far too common today. Leaving more and more of us in search for meaning, trying to make sense of this complex existence…
Oh, I have finally understood what you use to do with the phone, “phone Fasting”… you had the insight to turn off your phone for long stretches of time. I started this year to do just that. You used to say, Vin and I can go years without talking, and our brotherhood will always be stronger than we left it, the ones who truly love you will always be there.
Amen to that.
This is one of my favorite images ever taken… You knew how proud I was when my daughter, the Alpha Angel, your niece would play the piano… well last night she was playing Moonlight Sonata… it took me back to the night before she was born. Me and you were working late… you were telling me that the best moment in life would be witnessing my child being born. That priceless smile you had when I told you the next day that I had cut the umbilical cord…
The next song she started playing on the piano is by an artist you would have loved, named Billie Eilish, ‘What was I made for’… when she started to play, the other angels all came and joined her at the piano and they started singing… wow…emotions… angels, I know you were listening.
After ten years… I know these days of beautiful remembrance will be filled with tears. But as time rolls on, with each year that passes… more smiles manage to break through the tears. Cause I know, when I see you again… our brotherhood will be stronger than we left it.
Miss you.

Will Brian Be Seen Again In Fast & Furious?
Furious 7 Reveals How Paul Walker’s Character Can Return
CGI Paul Walker in Furious 7.

Walker’s death in November 2013 came with a great deal of sadness, but it also created problems for the Furious 7 production, which was about halfway done. It was ultimately decided that Walker’s remaining scenes would be completed with a digital recreation of the actor, with his two brothers, Cody and Caleb Walker, serving as body doubles. Although Walker may have passed away, Brian remains alive and well within the world of the films, though he has not been seen in the flesh since Furious 7’s emotional ending.

The closet audiences have come to seeing Brian again (outside of the flashbacks featured in Fast X) is at the end of F9: The Fast Saga, when the character’s iconic Nissan Skyline pulls up at Dom’s house. This summer’s Fast X supposedly sets up the conclusion of the franchise in an 11th and potentially 12th installment (in addition to the announced Dwayne Johnson Luke Hobbs spinoff movie), and it’s very likely that the final movie will see Brian return in some capacity.

Diesel has also essentially teased as much, telling Total Film (via GamesRadar) earlier this year: “I couldn’t imagine this saga ending without truly saying goodbye to Brian O’Conner.” It’s unclear if this will mean a substantial digital recreation of the actor for extended portions of the film or a quick cameo at the very end, but it seems like audiences haven’t seen the last of Brian just yet. Even in death, Walker remains a key pillar of Fast and Furious, and it’s fitting that the final film will feature another heartfelt goodbye to further honor the late actor.

Source: Vin Diesel/ Instagram

Fast and Furious 11 temp poster

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All 4 Fast & Furious Heroes Who Stayed Dead (& Which One Is Most Likely To Return)


Fast & Furious franchise is known for bringing back dead characters, but there are a few heroes who have remained dead. Jack Toretto, Dom’s father, died in a racing accident and his death should not be undone in the franchise. Jesse, a member of Dom’s crew, was killed in a drive-by shooting, while Vince was killed during an ambush. Elena, Dom’s love interest, was killed by the villain Cipher.

The Fast & Furious franchise has brought many characters back from the dead, but a handful of its heroes have remained killed off after their demise. The Fast Saga has taken its characters on a wild ride from street racing to the most outlandish adventures possible. The running theme of the Fast & Furious franchise has long been family, with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) building quite a large family indeed over the course of the Fast Saga’s run.

On top of its embrace of ridiculous, superhuman feats as a staple of its action scenes, the Fast & Furious movies are also well known for bringing back seemingly dead characters for more missions. The returns of Sung Kang’s Han in F9 and Gal Gadot’s Gisele Yashar in Fast X would be especially noteworthy in emphasizing the notion that no Fast & Furious death is irreversible. However, that is not entirely true, as there have been a few Fast & Furious heroes who have died and never come back.

RELATED: 10 Fast & Furious Characters Who Must Return In New Hobbs Spinoff

4 Jack Toretto
An image of Jack Toretto driving a car in F9

Jack Toretto (J.D. Pardo) is the father of Dom, Mia (Jordana Brewster), and Jakob Toretto (John Cena), and is first seen in a flashback to 1989 in F9. Jack is a highly skilled race car driver who instilled that talent in his children, with Dom and Jakob being part of his racing pit crew. However, Jack’s racing career took a tragic turn when his car malfunctioned and crashed, killing him. Dom later beat his father’s racing opponent, Kenny Linder (Jim Parrack), almost to death with a wrench, believing him responsible for his father’s demise.

This tragedy also led to Dom and Jakob falling out, with Dom later coming to believe that Jakob set up their father’s death since he was the last one to work on his car. However, Jack was intentionally attempting to throw the race in order to get his family out of debt. He had asked Jakob to help tinker with his car so that it would fail, with Jack’s death being unintentional on both their parts. While his return has been theorized by fans, of all the characters killed off in Fast & Furious, Jack Toretto’s death should never be retconned.

3 Jesse
Jesse in The Fast and the Furious pic

One of the early members of Dom’s family in the original The Fast and the Furious, Jesse (Chad Lindberg) was the brains of Dom’s crew in his enterprise of stealing DVD players. Jesse went on the run after losing a street race to Dom’s rival, Johnny Tran (Rick Yune), having bet his MK3 Volkswagen Jetta in the race. Jesse was later killed outside of Dom’s house when Johnny Tran and his associate Lance Nguyen (Reggie Lee) arrived and performed a drive-by shooting. Dom and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) then chased down Johnny Tran and Lance Nguyen to avenge their fallen friend.

2 Vince
fast and furious 5 vince

Vince (Matt Schulze) was another member of Dom’s crew in The Fast & the Furious, and he was badly injured during a truck heist in that first movie. After his recovery, Vince fled to Rio de Janeiro where he later reunited with Dom and family in Fast Five. Despite Vince having settled down with a wife and a baby son, he agreed to join Dom’s daring heist of Rio’s most feared crime boss Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). Unfortunately, Vince was killed during an ambush by Reyes’s team. After successfully pulling off the heist, Dom left Vince’s intended share of the money with his wife and son.

1 Elena
Elena Neves walks with her gun drawn by a car

Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) worked alongside Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in apprehending Dom and his crew in Fast Five. She and Dom gradually developed feelings for each other, however, and departed for Spain with Dom at the end of the movie. After Dom learned that his wife Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) was still alive despite her apparent death in Fast & Furious, Dom and Elena had an amicable split, only for it to later be revealed that Elena is the mother of Dom’s son in The Fate of the Furious.

RELATED: How (& Where) To Watch The Fast & Furious Movies In Order By Release Date & Chronologically

After Elena was killed by the villainous Cipher (Charlize Theron), Dom and Letty raised the boy together, with the two naming him Brian after Brian O’Conner. Meanwhile, Dom later met Elena’s sister Isabel (Daniela Melchior), who joined Dom’s crew in Fast X. While Elena remains deceased as of Fast X, the arrival of her sister Isabel and Fast & Furious’s habit of not truly killing off characters makes her the most likely thought-to-be-dead hero to potentially return as the franchise speeds towards its finale.

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