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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 Release Delay & Filming Start Date Confirmed By Director


Fast and Furious 11
is facing a release date delay to Summer 2026 due to strikes, with director Louis Leterrier confirming the sequel will not be hitting its April 4, 2025 date.
Leterrier also confirms that filming starts in Fall 2025 after finishing a horror movie in September.
The final installment in the
Fast Saga
reunites Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto for one last ride, while also leaving the door open for other spinoffs.

After facing multiple delays due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes, Fast and Furious 11 is seeing its release date delayed. The next installment in the Vin Diesel-fronted franchise is expected to be the last mainline sequel, while development continues on the Dwayne Johnson-led spinoff Hobbs & Reyes, a mysterious standalone movie penned by Fast X’s Zach Dean and a potential female-led spinoff. While a filming start date was never confirmed, Universal had previously set the movie for an April 2025 release date.

During a recent interview with Collider at a CCXP MX panel, Louis Leterrier was asked for an update on Fast and Furious 11. The director went on to confirm that the final mainline installment in the action franchise will no longer be making its April 4, 2025 release date, instead now aiming for a Summer 2026 release window with the filming start date being set for this fall. Check out what Leterrier said below:

It’s happening. It’s happening very, very soon. I’m able to shoot a little horror movie this summer. I’m finishing my horror movie on September 15th, and I start Fast on September 16th.

Will Fast 11’s Multiple Delays Help Or Hurt The Sequel?

Much like the tenth film before it, Fast and Furious 11 has faced a few behind-the-scenes hardships in its road to getting off the ground, namely the delays stemming from the 2023 strikes. While the latest movie seems to have retained its core creative team in comparison to the shift in directors from franchise vet Justin Lin to Leterrier on Fast X after reported creative differences between the former and Diesel, this change didn’t seem to help much with the continued downward trend recent sequels have seen from critics. Check out how the franchise’s Rotten Tomatoes scores compare below:

Title RT Critical Score RT Audience Score The Fast and the Furious 54% 74% 2 Fast 2 Furious 37% 50% The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift 37% 69% Fast & Furious 28% 67% Fast Five 78% 83% Fast & Furious 6 71% 84% Furious 7 81% 82% The Fate of the Furious 67% 72% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 67% 88% F9: The Fast Saga 59% 82% Fast X 56% 84%

Even looking outside the Fast and Furious franchise, many movie sequels have found themselves hurt by various delays, be they from creative changes, general release shifts or other factors. The action genre in particular is one in which lengthier development periods can lead to diminishing returns, be it A Good Day to Die Hard, Rambo: Last Blood or Diesel’s own xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. While Fast and Furious 11 may only be getting pushed back by a year, the delay is nonetheless a concern that the final installment could find itself in trouble.

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) looking angry with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) looking unimpressed in Fast & Furious

Related 10 Most Exciting Things To Expect From Fast 11 Fast & Furious 11 will pull all the strings to become bigger than the previous installments, and here is why the film is worth being excited about.

On the other hand, the longer wait for Fast and Furious 11 to close out the mainline series of movies could actually prove beneficial for the sequel. Though Leterrier may be busy with another project in the lead-up to filming the next installment, writers Oren Uziel and Christina Hodson should now have more than enough time to really look back at the script and ensure it learns from the critical missteps of recent installments to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the Dominic Toretto saga.

Source: Collider

Fast and Furious 11 temp poster Fast and Furious 11 Fast and Furious 11 is the final movie in the Fast Saga. It reunites Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto with the rest of the cast for one last ride. However, the franchise is open for spinoff films like Hobbs & Shaw afterward.Director Louis Leterrier Release Date April 4, 2025 Distributor(s) Universal Pictures Writers Christina Hodson , Oren Uziel

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Vin Diesel Already Has His Perfect Fast & Furious Replacement Franchise With 51-Year-Old Remake


Vin Diesel’s dominance in Fast & Furious is ending, but Kojak could kick off a new action franchise for him.
Kojak’s reboot faces an uncertain future, but its similarity to Fast & Furious makes it a worthy project for Diesel.
Diesel’s potential shift from criminal racer to cop signifies a fresh start in a possible Fast & Furious-like series.

Vin Diesel’s days of playing Dominic Toretto are numbered, but the actor has already found his perfect Fast & Furious replacement. Diesel found a major breakout role in the early 2000s thanks to participating in The Fast and the Furious. The original 2001 street racing crime movie became the springboard for a sprawling franchise that has lasted for over two decades. The success of the Fast & Furious movies transformed Vin Diesel’s career, turning him into an even bigger star, especially in the action movie genre. But, Fast & Furious 11 is planned as the final chapter for him and the franchise.

The Fast & Furious franchise’s end will put Vin Diesel in an unfamiliar position of not having a major franchise to lean back on. This presents the actor with various options, such as changing the course of his career to pursue non-franchise roles. However, the more likely outcome is that Diesel will attempt to find a new IP that can replace Fast & Furious. He has had trouble in that regard recently, with franchises like xXx or Riddick running cold and Bloodshot and The Last Witch Hunter failing to launch franchises. There is another option for Diesel, though.

2:03 Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto from The Fast & Furious Franchise

Related Vin Diesel May Have Spoiled Fast & Furious 11’s Ending With $2.7 Billion Movie Comparison Dom’s death happening in Fast & Furious 11 may have been spoiled already, with Vin Diesel comparing the upcoming movie to another big franchise.

Kojak Can Be Vin Diesel’s New Action Crime Franchise After Fast & Furious
Diesel Has Been Developing The Reboot Since 2015

The impending conclusion of the Fast & Furious franchise means it is finally time for Vin Diesel’s Kojak reboot to get off the ground. The project was announced back in 2015 with Diesel re-teaming with Universal Pictures, the studio behind Fast & Furious, to develop a movie based on Kojak. The original TV series starred Telly Savalas as Theo Kokaj and ran for three seasons after debuting in 1973. The series revolves around Kojak, a New York detective known for being willing to go beyond the law and a love for cars and lollipops, and follows him as he investigates different cases.

Kojak was rebooted in 2005 as a TV show starring Ving Rhames, but it only ran for six episodes

Development on Vin Diesel’s Kojak movie has not been very active in the nine years since it was announced. However, it still maintains the base similarities to Fast & Furious, which makes the project a worthwhile endeavor for Diesel in terms of finding a new action franchise. He would now have another big action series about cars and crime, essentially making Kojak into a newer version of Fast & Furious. The irony here is that Diesel takes on the role of a cop after playing criminal racer Dominic Toretto.

Vin Diesel’s Involvement Can Morph Kojak Into A Major Action Franchise
Kojak Could Be A Fast & Furious Clone
Telly Savalas talking on the phone in Kojak

Looking at the original TV show, Kojak might not necessarily project to be a major blockbuster action franchise akin to Fast & Furious. The TV series was relatively grounded and small due to the nature of its production. However, the fact that Diesel and Universal pinpointed this property as something they wanted to revive together is telling. The announcement of Kojak’s reboot came months after Furious 7 debuted in theaters and took the franchise to new heights at the box office and in terms of how ridiculously big the action and story could get.

It’s sometimes difficult to remember that Fast & Furious started off with a story about DVD thieves who were also street racers before Diesel helped turn it into something much bigger. With that experience and success already behind him, it would be understandable if a similar path was envisioned for Kojak. The series could then morph into a Fast & Furious clone, one that gives Vin Diesel a new franchise to headline and Universal a “fresh” action franchise to grow.

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The Rock’s WWE Run Means Fast & Furious 11 Must Make 1 Major Hobbs Change


Hobbs from Fast & Furious 11 needs a gritty edge like The Rock’s WWE character to keep the franchise fresh and exciting.
The Rock’s time away from the Fast & Furious universe provides the perfect reason for Hobbs to return with a personal vendetta and a more savage attitude.
While Hobbs shouldn’t become a full-fledged villain in Fast & Furious 11, adding some edginess and dirty tricks could make his character more intriguing and dynamic.

Fast & Furious 11 must make one major Hobbs change after The Rock’s incredible WWE run. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s WWE return surpassed his recent movies, with the actor creating some of the best work of his career. Having returned to a thunderous reception, The Rock was able to flip the crowd’s reception by becoming a heel and playing a major part in WrestleMania’s main events. The Rock hasn’t played a villain on screen for years, as even his depiction of Black Adam lent more into the character’s anti-hero side, which made his wrestling run all the more refreshing.

While his wrestling character may not perfectly translate into the Fast & Furious universe, there is one aspect of The Rock’s WWE run that the franchise should attempt to implement. After debuting in Fast Five, The Rock’s best Fast & Furious scenes helped contribute to the movie series becoming so popular, with Luke Hobbs becoming an instrumental part of the story. He was even given his own spinoff alongside Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and is set to get a solo movie in the future. Despite this, Hobbs would still benefit from adding one key aspect of The Rock’s WWE run.

The Rock’s WWE Run Proves Fast & Furious 11 Needs To Give Hobbs More Of An Edge
Fast & Furious Would Benefit From Hobbs Adopting Some Of The Rock’s WWE Tendancies
Dwayne The Rock Johnson in Black Adam, WWE, and Hobbs and Shaw

Given how electrifying The Rock’s recent WWE run was, there is no doubt Fast & Furious 11 needs to give Hobbs more of an edge. Although the character has had his more serious moments, like most of the Fast & Furious cast, Hobbs tends to mix action with comedy. Hobbs and Shaw are supposed to be two of the more stoic heroes, yet they are constantly at each other’s throats and cracking jokes to help maintain the franchise’s lighthearted core. However, giving Hobbs a grittier side would help the character thrive upon his return.

The Rock’s Fast & Furious return may redeem Fast X’s box office, but the character needs to come back stronger than ever. By allowing him to be more ruthless, he can still maintain some elements of comedy but also become more interesting in the process. Johnson proved that despite being a detestable heel, he was still as hilarious as ever during his recent WWE tenure. This proves that he can maintain Fast & Furious’ tone and humorous style while being more layered; therefore, Hobbs adopting some of The Rock’s WWE characteristics could make him even more entertaining.

Fast & Furious Already Has A Reason For Hobbs To Be More Savage
Hobbs Has Been Away From The Franchise For Several Years

Making a major change to Hobbs’ character could be tough to explain, but Fast & Furious 11 already has a great reason to make him more savage. His four-year absence from the franchise gives him a perfect excuse to come back with a vengeance and potentially have a personal attachment to Fast & Furious 11’s villains. Hobbs’ time away from the main story could be explained through a connection to Fast X’s secondary villain, Aimes. Aimes’ villain twist in Fast X was well executed and suggests he’ll be around for the sequel, which is the perfect reason to bring back Hobbs.

Having a more personal story with one of the villains could allow Hobbs to continue his great quips and one-liners, but it would also give him more of an edge.

Fast X never explained why he’s back, but having a personal vendetta against Aimes could be an intriguing reason. Given Dom and Dante are the focal point of the franchise’s conclusion, Hobbs returning to take down Aimes would avoid overshadowing the main story while still giving him an interesting role. Having a personal story with one of the villains could allow Hobbs to continue his great quips and one-liners, while also giving him more of an edge. This provides The Rock with the perfect reason to implement some of his heel traits while still portraying a morally good hero.

2:34 Image 147 Related Predicting The Ending Of All 13 Fast & Furious Characters In Fast 11 The Fast Saga is set to conclude with Fast & Furious 11 – or Fast X 2 – but how will Dom Toretto and his family’s stories come to a definitive end?

Why Fast & Furious Can’t Bring The Rock Back As A Villain
Hobbs Already Appeared As An Antagonist In Fast Five
A custom image featuring Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs in the Fast and Furious movies Custom image by Debanjana Chowdhury

Although The Rock’s villainous tendencies worked well in the WWE, Fast & Furious can’t bring him back as an antagonist. Johnson already played the main villain of Fast Five, as Hobbs was originally an enemy of Dom and his crew before becoming an ally. Hobbs’ role in Fast Five was one of his best, but despite being the main antagonist, he always had a level of integrity. Dropping all of this to make him a villain in the final movie would be completely unnecessary, especially as the franchise needs him to remain a hero for his spinoff.

Fast & Furious 11 may end the main story, but The Rock will be part of the franchise beyond this, and altering his character so drastically wouldn’t make any sense. Instead, adding some extra edge to his character would have the same effect and would avoid stealing the thunder from Dante and Aimes. Although Fast & Furious 11 shouldn’t make him a villain, the film can still allow Hobbs to play dirty and pull some cheap tricks in order to show a grittier side, while letting him taunt his enemies when he inevitably helps save the day.

Fast & Furious 11
is scheduled to be released in theaters on April 4, 2025.

Fast and Furious 11 temp poster Fast and Furious 11 Fast and Furious 11 is the final movie in the Fast Saga. It reunites Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto with the rest of the cast for one last ride. However, the franchise is open for spinoff films like Hobbs & Shaw afterward.Director Louis Leterrier Release Date April 4, 2025 Distributor(s) Universal Pictures Writers Christina Hodson , Oren Uziel

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