What’s up guys, Frazier here for Complex News and after a week’s worth of melodramatic Instagram posts, sequel delays and spin-off greenlights, I’m officially worried about the fate of The Fast & Furious franchise.
It was all good two seasons ago, when Fast 8 dropped in April to a fat box office haul and, more impressively, middling critical consensus that agreed that even though this was far from the best film in the series, the franchise is already too big to fail. Fast 9 was greenlit, a 10 was expected. Someway, somehow the series that began with Vin Diesel stealing dvd players and included a C-list episode co-starring Bow Wow in Tokyo survived to become one of our sturdiest, consistently entertaining blockbuster events.
Now it might all crash and burn like Dom Toretto’s dad did on the racetrack. And somehow, the center of negativity seems to be...The Rock? The guy who seems like the nicest, most affable man on the planet? The guy who came to Hollywood with just seven dollars in his pocket only to become one of its richest and most bankable stars, a story he immortalized with the name of his production company Seven Bucks? How can you not root for that guy?
When The Rock vs Vin Diesel popped off—a dispute we wouldn’t know about, if Dwayne didn’t point our attention to it with his Instagram post, mind you—it was easy to imagine Vin as the diva and The Rock as the put-upon superstar who nevertheless is still committed to getting the job done painlessly and without fuss.
But this new scandal with Tyrese kind of implies fame and success might have created a voracious appetite within Dwayne that’s making him a bad team player. For those not up on the latest update: Tyrese’s public, somewhat deprecating, definitely desperate Instagram pleas to The Rock not to accept Universal’s offer for a spin-off that would derail Fast 9’s release schedule, have failed, shockingly.
Universal announced this week they’re moving forward with plans to give Rock’s character government agent Luke Hobbs his own film. It’s on the calendar to drop in summer 2019...the original release window for Fast 9. It’s rumored that Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw who went from bad guy to ally in F8, will co-star. For what it’s worth, most of The ROck’s scenes in Fate did involve Shaw, and a palpable buddy cop type of chemistry was noticeable. THR reports that nothing has been finalized, yet.
Anyway that bumps Fast 9 to 2020, a sabbatical that isn’t sitting well with Tyrese. “Congratulations for making the franchise about YOU” he lashed out in an Instagram post that he specifically says he will not be deleting even if the studio gives him a call. He even goes so far as to wonder if Rock is delaying Fast 9 just to deliver another action movie that’ll be received as poorly as Baywatch. Which, if you’re keeping up with Tyrese to Rock IG posts, he was not a fan of. Ouch.
What’s interesting is that Tyrese says “you thought I was hating, I was simply fighting to keep the family together.” And later “I got 3 years of venting on this clown.” So what was he trying to keep together? Is the family already splintering? The 3 years quote kind of implies either a longer history of internal strife that we didn’t know about, or that Tyrese plans to go in on Johnson for all 3 years F&F is out of theaters. And where’s Vin gonna land on this?
Look there’s no denying Hobbs was a shot of life the series needed, and I love his character. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing this film, and it’s hard to argue that even when he was pleading for a reschedule, Tyrese kind of came off as a jackass in his posts. But these are ensemble movies...it doesn’t matter if the plot is silly because they live and die off of the chemistry of the cast more so than any premise.
But if that chemistry is rotted on-set, it WILL show in the movie. Fate very blatantly does its best to not include Rock and Vin in any scenes together but we can’t make it two more films doing that, with multiple people.
What’s more, this isn’t even the only source of contention heading into Fast 9. Series OG Michelle Rodriguez recently said if the script for the next movie doesn’t quote “show love to women” then she might walk. Apparently the last few movies haven’t quite passed the Bechdel Test by Michelle’s standards.
There’s a silver lining in THR’s report, which cites a source saying Fast 9 was pushed back to allow Justin Lin the chance to come back. No disrespect to F Gary Gray, who broke amazing records directing F8, but Lin helmed the best movies in the series. His return would be worth the wait...if the cast has the patience for it.
Earlier in the year we thought this lovably ridiculous series might make it all the way to space, but now it’s survival isn’t so much a sure thing. In April this series had enough gas to make it to 10 films, now it might stall out.
That’s the news for now but for the latest updates on Tyrese’s IG activity and the franchises future subscribe to Complex on YouTube today. For Complex I’m Frazier.