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Fast & Furious Showed How To Continue The Franchise After Vin Diesel 17 Years Ago (With A Catch)

Summary

Universal Studios should consider making more standalone films in the Fast & Furious franchise, taking inspiration from the success of Tokyo Drift. The success of standalone films requires a delicate balance of novelty and nostalgia. Universal must satisfy the fan base while also introducing new characters and engaging plots. While making standalone films is a risk, it could be the fresh start the Fast & Furious franchise needs to combat audience fatigue.

Fast X is the beginning of the end for Dominic Toretto and his crew, but Universal should look to the series’ 2006 cult classic for inspiration on how to continue the Fast & Furious franchise. The 2023 movie is the first of a two-part ending, but Universal Studios has every reason to keep the adrenaline pumping. After all, the saga has raked in over $7 billion worldwide (via The Numbers), making it one of the studio’s most precious IPs. The legacy of Toretto and his family is not just a collection of high-octane thrills but a revenue powerhouse that Universal is unlikely to put in the garage any time soon.

The upcoming Fast & Furious movie slate includes Fast & Furious 11, Hobbs & Shaw 2, a Hobbs solo movie, a female-led spinoff, and potentially Fast & Furious 12. Universal is developing more movies in the series despite it supposedly coming to an end. However, the most exciting prospect for the franchise’s future might lie in a return to its roots. The early chapters of the Fast saga were self-contained street races, packed with thrills and a sense of fresh independence in each installment, a format that could be the key to the franchise’s continued success.

RELATED: Fast 11: Release Date, Cast, Story & Everything We Know About The Fast & Furious Movie

Tokyo Drift Is A Standalone Fast & Furious Movie — And It’s Great

As Paul Walker didn’t return for Fast & Furious 3, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift explored the underground world of drifting, imbuing the series with fresh teenage angst and a distinctly Japanese flair. Being almost totally disconnected from the previous movies was a gamble that paid off, with the film achieving cult status and a passionate following that appreciates its standalone storytelling. The movie’s unique blend of East meets West, paired with its new, younger cast and a focus on the art of drifting rather than raw horsepower, resonated with audiences and added a layer of cultural richness to the franchise.

Dominic Toretto still appeared in Tokyo Drift but only in a cameo role in the final minute of the movie.

The fresh Tokyo setting provided a vibrant backdrop that was rich with neon-lit streets. The film’s commitment to authenticity, both in terms of Japanese culture and the sport of drift racing, added a layer of raw energy and excitement that distinguished it from other entries in the franchise. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift wasn’t just a departure in terms of location and characters; it was a bold narrative choice that enriched the Fast & Furious universe by proving it could thrive on the exploration of new stories and themes.

Where to watch The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Fast & Furious Should Do More Standalone Films After Fast X, Part 2
Dante hanging out with some corpses in Fast X

After Fast X, the franchise’s roadmap could lead to a series of standalone tales, akin to an anthology, where each new film is a self-contained adventure set within the Fast & Furious universe. While Tokyo Drift is technically the first standalone movie, the first three films essentially served as an anthology of high-stakes, adrenaline-fueled crime dramas against the vibrant backdrop of street-racing culture. The first movie introduced audiences to a world where street racing and heists collided; the second ventured into a buddy-cop dynamic with new alliances and a Miami backdrop; and the third transported audiences to Tokyo’s drift scene.

RELATED: Every Fast And Furious Movie In Chronological Order

Each film was anchored by the thrill of racing but didn’t depend on a continuous narrative. Universal has the chance to recapture that early magic by focusing on new characters, locations, and stories while maintaining the essence of what made the franchise a global juggernaut. This approach allows for creative freedom and the opportunity to explore new facets of the world without being constrained by Dom Toretto. Given that critics and audiences are beginning to feel fatigued by the Fast & Furious franchise — made clear by the declining Rotten Tomatoes scores and box office performances — standalone movies could be the fresh start it needs.

Why Making Standalone Fast & Furious Movies Is Difficult
Vin diesel looking worried in Fast X

It may be what’s best for the franchise, but the challenge of delivering a successful standalone Fast & Furious movie is significant. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift initially underperformed at the box office, making just $159 million (via Box Office Mojo) and prompting a return to the original formula with actors like Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. The franchise’s success is not just about crafting a compelling movie; it’s also about satisfying an audience that craves the comfort of its stars and interconnected storylines. Going standalone is risky. It requires an engaging plot and new characters that resonate, as well as a delicate balance of novelty and nostalgia.

With the Fast & Furious timeline only getting more confusing, the future may lie in standalone films, but the catch is maintaining the series’ essence. The risk is two-fold: alienate the existing fan base with too much change or fail to innovate and watch the new entries sputter and stall out. The studio will have to decide whether to cling to the star power and established storylines that have fueled the franchise thus far or venture into uncharted territories. A standalone Fast & Furious movie is a tall order, but with the right story and a lower budget, it could be exactly what Universal needs.

Source: The Numbers, Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo

Fast X Poster Fast X Release Date: 2023-05-19 Director: Louis Leterrier Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, Nathalie Emmanuel, John Cena, Sung Kang, Helen Mirren, Brie Larson, Scott Eastwood, Jason Momoa Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 141 Minutes Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime Writers: Justin Lin, Dan Mazeau, Gary Scott Thompson Budget: $340 Million Studio(s): Universal Pictures Distributor(s): Universal Pictures Sequel(s): Fast and Furious 11, Fast & Furious 12 prequel(s): Fast & Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, The Fast And The Furious, Fast 5, Fast and Furious 6, Furious 7, Fast and Furious 8, F9: The Fast Saga1 Franchise(s): Fast and Furious

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

Summary

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

Summary

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)

Summary

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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