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Fast & Furious Needs Another Tokyo Drift (But Not A Sequel)

Despite its initial failure, Tokyo Drift has impacted Fast & Furious in major ways, and the series could use another installment like it. “Didn’t these films used to be about street car racing?” has become an all too common refrain among Fast & Furious detractors over the last decade, and not without reason. In the beginning, the franchise always kept one foot planted firmly in the crime genre, with 2001’s The Fast and the Furious bearing more than a passing resemblance to Kathryn Bigelow’s hit 1991 crime-thriller Point Break. Similarly, the John Singleton-directed sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, borrowed more than a little from the interracial buddy cop movies of the ’80s when it arrived two years later.

Yet, as much as they were crime movies, these films were also about the street car racing cultures in urban areas like South Central Los Angeles and Miami. That continued to be the case with 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, a sequel that took the franchise overseas to Japan for a story that (save for the very end) didn’t include any characters from the previous installments. Initially, the movie was a critical disappointment, and it still ranks as the lowest-grossing Fast & Furious film to date. Yet, in the years since then, Tokyo Drift has been widely reappraised, and is now seen by many as a key turning point for the property at large.

Related: How Tokyo Drift Saved The Fast & Furious Franchise

With the upcoming Fast & Furious 10 (which could be a two-parter) due to end the mainline series, the Fast & Furious franchise will once again find itself at a crossroads in the next few years. And while there are already plans in motion to keep the brand going with multiple spinoffs after that (including, a sequel to last year’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw offshoot), the franchise would arguably benefit more from a Tokyo Drift-style installment. Before getting into that, though, it’s best to take a look back at Tokyo Drift and how the film’s reputation has changed over time.

Why So Many Fast & Furious Fans Love Tokyo Drift
Han and Sean in Tokyo Drift.

Critics were generally unimpressed with Tokyo Drift when it premiered, and validly so, citing Lucas Black’s wooden acting as the film’s protagonist Sean Boswell, the one-note supporting players, and the lack of connection to the storylines and characters from earlier installments. Yet, there were also prominent critical voices who championed Tokyo Drift, with Roger Ebert praising the movie in his review, particularly the way it “uses its Japanese locations to make the story about something more than fast cars.” Moreover, despite the larger public’s waning interest in the Fast & Furious films at that point, those who did see Tokyo Drift seemed to by and large enjoy it, as evidenced by its A- CinemaScore.

Beyond that, Tokyo Drift introduced two important names to the franchise, in the forms of director Justin Lin and Sung Kang as the ever-cool (and always hungry) racer Han Lue. From the very beginning, Lin arguably brought a greater sense of sleekness to Fast & Furious’ car racing sequences than his predecessors had, along with a deeper appreciation for the series’ themes of found family and multicultural brotherhood. Tokyo Drift also possesses a sense of self-awareness that’s often lacking in the first two films, along with a plot that’s fresher and less derivative than those of the movies before it. This, in turn, set the stage for future sequels to go bigger and more ridiculous with their set pieces, but without losing sight of the simple character drama that makes Tokyo Drift surprisingly effective.

Fast & Furious Needs Another Movie Like Tokyo Drift
Fast and Furious 9 characters poster

Presently, the Fast & Furious brand is more popular than ever, yet finds itself in a bit of a creative rut. By moving away from street racing to heist action with Fast Five in 2011, the franchise was not only able to find a wider audience, it convincingly evolved its core characters from everyday outlaws into, essentially, superheroes who come together every few years to battle mercenary terrorists, while at the same time saving one of their one (or, in the case of Furious Seven, avenging one of their presumed-to-be fallen brothers). Problem is, in doing so, the plots of the more recent movies have started to blur together a little, and the explanations for why Dominic Toretto and his family keep having to come out of retirement, time and time again, have only grown sillier, even by the property’s standards.

Related: Mission: Impossible Deserves To Be As Successful as Fast & Furious

For that reason, these films could stand to shake things up after Fast & Furious 10 closes out the primary Fast Saga. Indeed, that might be the perfect time for another installment like Tokyo Drift, e.g. a movie that explores a whole new street racing culture in the Fast & Furious universe while introducing several brand-new characters into the series’ canon. The franchise need no longer worry about ostracizing those who aren’t gearheads either; at this point, going back to car racing would probably come as a refreshing change of pace to the series’ more hardcore supporters, and possibly even allow the property to reinvent itself yet again. And if it’s done well, it would give the brand a new lease on life by bringing in a younger generation of actors to lead the next phase of Fast & Furious adventures.

Fast & Furious’ Future Should Be More Than Just Be Spinoffs
Fast and Furious movies Nathalie Emmanuel Dwayne Johnson

Just to be clear, this isn’t to say the franchise should make a direct sequel to Tokyo Drift; as important as that film ended up being to the direction of the overarching series, it’s served its narrative purpose and ought to be left as is. At the same time, Fast & Furious could use a new mainline storyline that unifies everything after Fast & Furious 10, as opposed to trying to get by with character spinoffs. The Hobbit & Shaw movies wouldn’t suffice in that respect, either: the first entry in that series has already laid the foundation for a whole new narrative separate from anything else Fast & Furious-related in the future (complete with a brand-new roster of sidekicks for The Rock and Jason Statham to lead).

This’s all the more reason for Fast & Furious to return to the Tokyo Drift formula (in a broad sense, anyway) and release a movie with similar ties to the greater franchise, but one that isn’t so tangentially connected that it might as well be its own thing a la Hobbs and Shaw. It wasn’t just the change in genre that allowed the franchise to expand its audience after Tokyo Drift, it was also the way it carried over that movie’s stronger elements (including, its style), while at the same time giving its overarching plot a clearer direction for viewers to become invested in following for years to come. A series of spinoffs would simply struggle to accomplish the same thing, and risk burning out the Fast & Furious fanbase along the way. In that respect, another Tokyo Drift, in a manner of speaking, could prove to be exactly what the series needs to keep its wheels spinning smoothly instead.

NEXT: Fast & Furious Broke the Law For Real While Filming Tokyo Drift

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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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