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10 Behind The Scenes Facts About Tokyo Drift

Given that it’s tied to a huge Hollywood movie franchise but seemingly has nothing to do with any film that came before it, it’s hardly surprising that there are loads of fascinating stories behind The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. After losing/firing the two men who carried the franchise up to this point, the studio armed themselves with Justin Lin, a hot, young, and fresh director at the time.

RELATED: Every Fast & The Furious Movie, Ranked By Letterboxd

Though there were a lot of times where it looked like the movie was in jeopardy, such as crew members getting arrested and completely different script treatments, it all worked out in the end. But just like with The Fast and the Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious, Tokyo Drift is a well of fascinating behind-the-scenes facts.

Lin Was Hired Because Of “Better Luck Tomorrow”
Han smokes a cigarette in Better Luck Tomorrow

Though Justin Lin is one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood when it comes to established blockbuster series, as he also directed Star Trek Beyond, his big break was Tokyo Drift. The studio came to the decision to hire Lin based on his low-budget crime movie, Better Luck Tomorrow.

It was one of the most well-received movies of 2002, received a perfect four stars from Roger Ebert, and also starred Sung Kang, who plays Han in both movies. It was probably the best decision the studio ever made, as Lin spearheaded the whole Furious-verse up to the sixth movie, turned it into the gravity-defying series it has become, and returned for the newly released F9.

It Was Originally Going To Be About Dom Solving A Murder
Dom points a shotgun in F9

According the writer of the movie, Chris Morgan, the studio didn’t know which direction to take the series in, which was clear given that it features a ton of unknowns and is almost completely unrelated to the first two movies. But at one point, Morgan pitched a totally different movie to what the final result was.

It was still Tokyo Drift, but it was going to see Dom’s proper return, and it was he who had to learn the new racing style of drifting. But along with the street racing, the screenplay saw the character trying to solve a murder.

Lin Found Original Drafts Of The Script Offensive
Seand and Takashi confront each other in Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift

Before he agreed to direct the movie, Lin actually turned it down, even though it was his first shot at making a movie with a massive budget. After reading the script, Lin thought the movie was offensive.

RELATED: Fast & Furious: 10 Characters That Deserve Their Own Spin-Off Movie

Lin felt that the screenplay was filled with cliched, out-of-context Asian imagery, like buddhas and temples, and riddled with racist jokes. The studio finally told Lin that he could change whatever he wanted because they wanted him that bad. And though he had a few uphill battles with producers, just as most directors do, Lin stated that for the most part, they stayed true to what they promised and were fair and reasonable.

Part Of It Was Shot Illegally
Han drifts through Tokyo in an orange and black Mazda RX7 in Tokyo Drift

When it comes to shooting movies on location, producers and the director have to get film permits, and if it’s outdoors, then entire streets have to be blocked off. However, Tokyo works a lot differently from the rest of the world when it comes to those sorts of things. No film permits are given out, so Lin and his crew had to shoot a lot of the movie on the fly.

This meant that civilians would walk right through the set, as nobody could stop them, and the crew was constantly getting kicked out of places.

Lin Inadvertently Got A Man Arrested
Vin Diesel and Justin Lin Fast & Furious

Because a lot of the movie was shot illegally, Lin and his film crew weren’t just kicked out of places, they were also often hassled by the police. According to Lin, as mentioned in the same Digital Spy article above, the police were kind enough to let him finish getting his shots before they hassled the crew, but that they did try to arrest him.

When they asked who the director of the movie was, a random member of the crew told the police that he was. It turned out that the crew member was hired by the studio to be Lin’s “fall guy,” and Lin had no idea.

The Studio Thought Paul Walker Was Too Old
Fast and Furious Pail Walker as Brian

One of the biggest surprises about Tokyo Drift upon being announced over a decade ago was the absence of Paul Walker. The late, great actor wasn’t reprising his role as FBI agent Brian O’Conner, the main character in the first two movies.

There isn’t necessarily one reason why Walker didn’t return, as it seems like an amalgam of reasons, whether it was the story changing so many times during development or the underperformance of 2 Fast 2 Furious. However, one of the primary reasons was apparently because the studio thought he was too old, which is why the characters of Tokyo Drift are all still in school.

Rob Cohen, Director Of The First Movie, Was Very Critical Of Tokyo Drift
Rob Cohen directs Vin Diesel behind the scenes of The Fast and the Furious

Along with the first sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Rob Cohen cast a critical eye on Tokyo Drift, and felt it was just “done for the money.” The director went on to say, “If you were to just watch Tokyo Drift, you’d say ‘I never want to see anything related to Fast and Furious again.’”

RELATED: 10 Plot Holes From The Fast And Furious Movies That Make No Sense Whatsoever

Though he’s the person fans have to thank for the series existing in the first place, and the first movie is an incredible crime drama, he couldn’t be further off target here. Not only does Tokyo Drift have a huge cult following, which is why all the characters return in F9, but there’s even a Tokyo Drift 2 in development.

Vin Diesel’s Cameo Was Added After Poor Test Screenings
Dom Toretto meets Sean in Tokyo Drift

In an interview with the Huffington Post, David Twohy, the director of Riddick, explains why the studio wanted Vin Diesel to cameo in the movie. Though one early treatment of the movie was about Diesel’s character Dom solving a murder, the final script didn’t actually feature the cameo.

However, the movie wasn’t testing well with audiences at screenings, so the studio brought Dom in for a cameo that equated to less than one minute of screentime. But it’s just as well, as it ended up being the best scene in the movie.

Vin Diesel Didn’t Want Money For The Cameo, Just The Riddick Rights
Riddick as the Lord Marshall in Riddick

Though the movie has a great cast of characters, including Han, the best character introduced after the first movie, the studio was desperate for the Diesel cameo. But when it came to the studio pulling Diesel in to actually agree to do the cameo, as he had already turned down 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift, Diesel named his price, or rather, his franchise.

Diesel didn’t want to be paid an actor’s fee, but instead asked for the film rights to the Riddick series, a franchise the actor loved but had been laying dormant for years. The studio agreed, Diesel produced the third Riddick movie, and there’s a Riddick 4 currently in development.

Almost 250 Cars Were Destroyed
Sean drives out of a half built house in Tokyo Drift

Though the Fast & Furious series has veered off into a territory in which characters are now flying in shuttles and Dom Toretto has practically become a superhero, the franchise was most focused on street racing in Tokyo Drift. Almost 250 cars were destroyed in Tokyo Drift, which is more than almost any other Fast & Furious movie, beat only by Fast 5 and Fast & Furious 6.

It’s hardly surprising, as the drift races not only burn wheels, but cars are slamming into pillars, tumbling down hills, and straight-up exploding.

NEXT: The Fast & The Furious 10 Actors You Forgot Were In The Hit Franchise

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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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