Vin Diesel has responded to news that Fast & Furious 9 is being delayed a year while Dwayne Johnson focuses on making a franchise spinoff co-starring Jason Statham. The decision to push back a ninth core Fast & Furious film to 2020 has been met with criticism not only from fans but also some of the film's stars, including Tyrese Gibson who spoke out against Dwayne Johnson in a recent Instagram post.
Johnson has responded to the criticism coming his way from Gibson and others over the Fast & Furious 9 delay, insisting he just wants to make a fun movie and "build out the franchise." Nevertheless, Johnson continues to be accused of hijacking the franchise while long-standing series stars like Vin Diesel are pushed off to the side. Diesel and Johnson have long been involved in a simmering feud, with Johnson once calling out Diesel on social media for being a "candy-ass."
With Johnson, Gibson and others having already weighed in on the controversy, it's now Vin Diesel's turn to break his silence and give his two cents. Considering his prior beef with Johnson, you might expect Diesel to have strong words for his co-star, but in fact Diesel is out there playing peacemaker. In a Facebook post from his private jet, with his Fast & Furious co-star Ludacris in tow, Diesel called on everyone to tone down the war of words and keep things upbeat:
Keep it all positive out there. We love everybody. We're so proud of the Fast franchise and the fans.
Diesel went even farther in an Instagram post, saying it's "unfair" to blame anyone for the Fast & Furious delay.
Brotherhood... and all it's complexities. This scene was filmed in Puerto Rico, I can remember it like it was yesterday. Such a beautiful island, the people were so warm and welcoming. I turned 43 that summer... and my son Vincent was born. A woman named Jan Kelly responded to a question I had asked on Facebook, 'who they would like to see me work with?' She said would love to see me work with Dwayne... I listened to her request and he became Hobbs. I know there has been a lot of speculation as to why the Fast 9 release date was pushed... but it would be unfair to say it is anyone's fault. As we plot the course to expand the Fast & Furious universe, one must be mindful to take stock of the roads we took to get here. The pillars of authenticity, family and most importantly, our loyal fan’s perspective has been instrumental in procuring success. However, like any vehicle that has run around the globe 8 times, the franchise is in need of maintenance. My good friend and the godfather of Universal, Ron Meyer has granted me the time to do just that. We have some very exciting news to share soon... stay tuned. Yours truly, Dom #FamilyAlways
Diesel clearly is not interested in getting involved in any further beef with Dwayne Johnson over which of them is the Alpha Male in the Fast & Furious universe. Diesel may be an actor with a lot of pride, and may not be the biggest The Rock fan at the end of the day, but he is also a producer who has a major financial stake in the franchise going forward. A little public beef might help from a promotional standpoint but when fans get too invested in the negativity it doesn't do anyone any good, so it's probably the proper grown-up move for Diesel to step in and try to put out the fire.
Fans may be irritated that they will have to wait an extra year for Fast & Furious 9, but at least they have the consolation of a spinoff film coming in the meantime. With action movie maven Shane Black reportedly being pursued to direct, the spinoff should provide all the same thrills that the core Fast & Furious movies have always delivered (just without most of the regular cast). Unlike a lot of other long-running franchises that seem to be running out of steam, Fast & Furious appears to still be roaring full-speed ahead, and Universal would like to keep it that way.
Source: Vin Diesel
- Fast & Furious 9 (2020) release date: May 22, 2020