The Fast & Furious franchise is now a global hit. The successful journey started in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious that grossed $207 million worldwide. The action-thriller franchise made Vin Diesel and Paul Walker the biggest stars in Hollywood. The last two installments have each made over $1 billion worldwide and the ninth film has recently been released. The franchise will end with a tenth and eleventh installment. Now there are a few things that are known only by those fans that have followed the franchise since the beginning. Let’s look at the things that only die-hard fans know about Fast & Furious Films:
1. Han’s return is a result of the franchise’s fandom
Sometimes a character is loved so much by the audience that they don’t wish to let it go so easily. The same happened with Han. The character was killed at the end of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. But the character was loved so much by the fans that the next three films were written before the events of Tokyo Drift. This made the character return in the next three films. The character’s death scene was repeated in Fast & Furious 6. The #JusticeForHan started to trend on Twitter shortly after the release. This is the reason the character was brought back in F9.
2. The Fast and the Furious had different names
The first process in the making of a film or TV series is its title. A lot of discussions are done before they finalize one specific name for the film or TV series. In some behind-the-scenes footage, most of the cast calls the film Redline. But the title was changed later to the one we know it today. Producer Neal Mortiz has revealed in an interview that one more title being considered was “Racer X”. Before finalizing the title as The Fast and the Furious, the studio had to acquire the title rights since it was the same name of a film released in 1954.
3. Fast & Furious films almost went straight to video
The first film in the franchise did good business at the box office. The second film also grossed well, although it grossed less than the predecessor. But the third installment The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift underperformed at the box office. This made the production studios question the future of the franchise. Universal’s former co-president Jeffrey Kirschenbaum said that they were confused on whether to go for straight for video or no more sequels. The only thing that saved the franchise was Vin Diesel’s cameo in Tokyo Drift.
4. Some big-name actors almost appeared in the franchise
Producer Neal Mortiz has revealed once that the first choice for Dominic Toretto was Timothy Olyphant. The role of Mia Toretto was written for Eliza Dushku, but she turned it down. Others who auditioned for the role of Mia include Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst, and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Deadline reported in 2013 that Denzel Washington was offered a small role in Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7 but he turned it down. The role of Agent Hobbs was intended for Tommy Lee Jones. But someone suggested seeing Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel together on screen and the role was rewritten.
5. Furious 7 had a completely different ending
Paul Walker’s sudden demise in 2013 brought a lot of changes in Furious 7. The film was in the middle of production and after Walker passed away, the makers had to rewrite the ending. Now at the ending of the seventh movie, we see Brian and Mia taking retirement from the heist life and raise their son and soon-to-be daughter. But the original ending would have revolved around God’s Eye and seen the group preparing for a new mission. It would have been an open-ended finale and the start of a trilogy of films in the franchise. But the idea was scrapped after Walker’s death.
6. Vin Diesel thinks Paul Walker sent him John Cena
The idea of the ninth film was to bring Dominic Toretto’s estranged brother. Now the character just cannot be played by anyone. Jakob has to be something special and his casting would not have been an easy task. But Vin Diesel never had to worry about that since he felt Paul Walker sent John Cena from above. At an F9 press event, Diesel said that he met Cena when the latter came to his “Dom shrine”. Diesel felt something special when Cena came and said Pablo aka Paul Walker. Diesel said that his heart and gut feel like this was meant to be.
7. Fast & Furious 6 was almost split into two movies
In a director’s commentary of the film, Justin Lin revealed that they considered splitting Fast & Furious 6 into two separate movies. They were going to be called The Fast and The Furious. The tank sequence was supposed to be the ending of The Fast. Then the airplane sequence was supposed to be in Fast Five instead of the vault heist. The makers then reworked and rewrote Fast & Furious 6 into one film. But the strategy is now being applied for the final two installments. Fast & Furious 10 and 11 are two big films that will be split into two parts.
8. Letty and Brian were going to be romantically involved
One hard thing is to imagine in this franchise is Letty and Brian getting involved with each other. This was supposed to happen. But Michelle Rodriguez was not happy with the idea and she fought for the scene to be removed completely from the franchise. In an interview with The Daily Beast in 2017, Rodriguez said that it is not realistic for a Latin girl who’s with the alpha-est of the alpha males to cheat on him with the cute boy. Her insistence worked and her cheating storyline with Brian was removed from the script.
9. The franchise was inspired by a Vibe article
The inspiration for the first film came from a 1998 article from Vibe magazine. The article was named “Racer-X” and it explored the world of street racing and written by Kenneth Li. It revolves around Dominican street racer Rafael Estevez and the article discussed the aspects of the underground world. This includes thousands of dollars exchanged per race, the desire for power, and what it takes to get a car moving as fast as possible. Director Rob Cohen says that he was so inspired by the article that he attended a race in Los Angeles to get a better feel. The plot of the first film was the same as what was written in the article but a few portions were removed from it.
10. Ja Rule is the reason behind Ludacris’s casting
Ja Rule had only one scene in The Fast and the Furious. But he was given a more important role in 2 Fast 2 Furious. The director John Singleton says that the rapper ignored his calls when he tried to cast him in the sequel. Ja Rule also turned down $500,000 for the role. If he wouldn’t have turned down the role, maybe we might have never got to see Ludacris in all the upcoming films of the franchise. When Ja Rule rejected the role, Singleton approached Ludacris and he happily accepted the role. Now the character is an important part of the franchise.
So these are the things that you should know if you love the Fast & Furious films.