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Tokyo Drift is Now One of the Franchise’s Key Movies

The yet-to-be-explained resurrection of Sung Kang’s fan-favorite character Han in Fast and Furious 9 has retroactively made The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift one of the most important entries in the long-running franchise about street racing and family (and now Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto possibly going into space). While the fan base waits to see if the upcoming film will give satisfying #JusticeForHan, a return to the series’ drift-centric third installment is more apt now than ever before.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is, at the end of the day, a supremely silly movie. It follows the adventures of Sean Boswell, a painfully forgettable carboy from Alabama who is sent to live with his estranged father in Tokyo, and becomes embroiled in an underground racing circuit tied to the Yakuza. Han serves as a drift-mentor to Sean, in a storyline that can best be described as “The Karate Kid with street racing.” It’s possibly the dumbest entry in the franchise (not least because Tokyo Drift legitimately broke the law), and one of the worst movies in the series for female representation, yet somehow it still manages to be a fun and uniquely entertaining ride, almost entirely off the effortless cool of Sung Kang’s Han.

Related: Fast & Furious 9: Will Luke Evans’ Villain Owen Shaw Join Dom’s Crew?

Due to Han’s popularity, and Justin Lin’s takeover of the Fast & Furious franchise in the wake of Tokyo Drift, it made sense to pull some narrative sleight-of-hand to keep him in the story a little longer. Subsequently, the next three films were all set prior to the events of Tokyo Drift, and all three featured Han in progressively larger roles. Even Han’s death was retconned and pinned on Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw – a move that spawned the online #JusticeForHan movement after Shaw become an apparent member of la familia in The Fate of the Furious.

The survival of Han casts all eyes back to his apparently-not-death in Tokyo Drift, but there are other reasons why the film is now one of the most important in the franchise. Despite being one of the more polarizing Fast & Furious entries, Tokyo Drift is as relevant now as it’s ever been. So without further ado, here are a few reasons why there’s never been a better time to rewatch Tokyo Drift, and why it’s now become one of the series’ most important films.

Justin Lin’s Return To Fast & Furious Recenters Han and Tokyo Drift
Han Fast and furious Tokyo Drift

It’s fair to say that Justin Lin’s directorial return to Fast & Furious might have something to do with Han’s resurrection. Lin and Kang first created Han for Better Luck Tomorrow, a 2002 drama about a group of Asian American high school students connected by a violent crime. While not canonically connected to Fast & Furious, the Han in Better Luck Tomorrow is undoubtedly the same guy, right down to the Mustang he drives and the cigarettes he smokes (both are alluded to as elements of his past in Fast & Furious). It’s a fun watch for any die-hard Han fans and a significantly underrated film in its own right.

The fact is, when Lin took over the franchise, he led with Han. The four straight films he directed – a run that made the Fast & Furious series an international sensation – all featured Han in increasingly prominent roles. Lin was then absent from the next few films, which saw Han’s death questionably retconned, and the eventual rise of his murderer Shaw to hero-status in the critically panned Hobbs & Shaw spinoff.

Related: Fast & Furious: Why Paul Walker Didn’t Return In Tokyo Drift

While he’s not credited as a writer on the series, Lin’s return to the director’s chair for F9 is seen by many as a return-to-form for the franchise and giving Han the justice he deserves is at the center of that. That means that however Han’s return is ultimately explained, it’s going to go back to Tokyo Drift. We’re going to have to see that crash, again, and exactly what happened in its wake. It also means that Han’s return must be more than just a plot device, which is how he’s been treated for the past few films. Sung Kang’s performance created one of the most unique and compelling characters in the greater Fast & Furious world, and with Lin at the helm, there’s hope that the best of his story is still to come.

Han’s Return In F9 Solidifies His Status As A Major Character
Han Fast And The Furious 9

While Han is ostensibly a secondary character in Tokyo Drift, there’s no question that he’s the primary force driving the movie (It’s certainly not the Drift Kid from Alabama, who was initially meant to be Vin Diesel’s Toretto). Despite filling a supporting role in later films alongside the likes of Ludacris, Gal Godot, and Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang is the only recurring cast member to headline a whole film in the series without another member of the crew by his side. And yet, he’s generally still considered a minor character. That is, until now.

According to details released on F9, it looks like it will primarily focus on Dom Toretto’s rivalry and relationship with his long-lost brother, played by John Cena, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also make Han’s part of the story more important than it’s been in the past. That means potential for a number of interesting Han-centric storylines going forward, any one of which would be more compelling than The Fate of the Furious’s meager attempts at emotional stakes.

With Han possibly playing a more significant role in the series going forward (at least for F9 and the one after), it’s the perfect time to return to the movie that was all about him. From his tricked-out garage to his shady Yakuza connections, there’s a lot of threads that could be returned to now that Han’s back from the dead. Plus, Tokyo Drift makes a compelling argument that Han was the best driver in the Fast & Furious crew all along.

Related: Is Fast & Furious’ Drift King Real? Tokyo Drift Cameo Explained

Tokyo Drift Embodies What Fast & Furious Is All About
Han drifts through Tokyo in an orange and black Mazda RX7 in Tokyo Drift

At its core, Fast & Furious is still a series about… cars, and driving them quickly, and dangerously, and sometimes into or out of airplanes, and occasionally into one another on purpose. There are those who will take it a level deeper, and say that Fast & Furious, really, is about family. It’s a series about chosen family, and the power of different kinds of people to come together and form a whole greater than their individual parts. Then there are the people who majored in English solely so they could make this take: Fast & Furious is a series about atonement. Atoning for the past; atoning for the sins of the father (or brother); atoning for the ways your life affects the lives of others, for better or worse.

All right, yes, it’s a stretch – about as far as the jump between two of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Towers – but the fact remains, there’s something more to this absurd franchise – something beyond the ballistic action – that keeps fans coming back for more of their favorite characters. It’s the reason people were more excited to see Han come back than they were about any of the action in the F9 trailer. All stories, even very silly stories, are driven by characters.

Tokyo Drift is an embodiment of that multi-layered nature that has brought the franchise so much love and success. It’s got the shiny cars, the club tunes, and all the fun racing action you want. But it’s still driven by a simple, compelling character-centric narrative. It’s not Shakespeare by any means and Tokyo Drift also reflects a lot of the less admirable aspects of the franchise, like the corny storylines and intermittent sexism. Tokyo Drift is not necessarily pretty, but it still holds at its center the x-factor that has consistently set Fast & Furious apart from other equivalent blockbusters – at least as far apart as two of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Towers.

Tokyo Drift Offers A Potential Blueprint For The Franchise’s Future
Vin Diesel and Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift cast

It’s official that a tenth Fast & Furious movie is coming after F9, at the very least. But where does the series go after that? Where does a series go after it goes into space? Tokyo Drift could offer one possible answer. Despite being disconnected from the greater Fast & Furious story, Tokyo Drift still feels distinctly true to the spirit of the franchise. Of course, it wasn’t quite the moneymaker that the following films were, and there was never an official sequel, but it remains a beloved part of the series.

Related: Han’s Car In Fast & Furious 9 Is A Huge Tokyo Drift Easter Egg

Obviously, a franchise that is as monolithic and profitable as Fast & Furious isn’t going to just end – not even after ten core movies and a spinoff. That leaves a lot of options on the table. Hobbs & Shaw has already shown that spinoffs have the potential to win big at the box office, but the criticisms surrounding it also make it clear that when these movies lose their heart and soul, people notice.

To that end, Tokyo Drift might offer a better model for future Fast & Furious spinoffs and side projects. After all, the movie was basically a spinoff itself to begin with. If future projects embrace more of an anthology structure – with different stories being told around the world – but still focus on the core characters and themes that have made the movies resonate with fans, there’s real potential. Any number of characters from the core series could drop in or out, and the globetrotting adventure style that has become so central to Fast & Furious could remain intact. Whatever happens to the series going forward, there’s never been a better time to go back and give Tokyo Drift another watch.

Next: Fast & Furious: Every Car Han Drives In The Movies

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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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