The Fast and the Furious is one of today's most interesting film franchises. Besides having a dedicated fanbase, several grade-A Hollywood stars, and the box-office power other franchises only dream of, fans sometimes forget that it started out as a movie about an undercover cop investigating street racing. Since then, it has gone from genre to genre trying to establish a set identity, evolving into one of cinema's wildest action series and taking audiences through everything from car drops out of a plane to a submarine chase on ice.
With all the weirdness the series has endured, it's understandable that fans, both old and new, tend to get some facts mixed up about the series. Whether it's the stunts that seem too emphatic, intertwined timelines (which isn't really that complex, but we'll get back to that), or the future of the franchise overall, nobody can really blame fans for having their questions about The Fast and the Furious movies. That's why we're here to set the record straight, or in this franchise's case, set the series on a straight and narrow road for some of fans' most common misconceptions on the world's biggest racing franchise, including the return of some MIA characters, the film's other endeavors, and, as much as we hate to think about it, the series' eventual end.
So buckle up, because this ride just might get a little bumpy (crashing through skyscrapers will do that to a car), and enjoy the 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About The Fast and Furious Movies.
20 The Franchise Got Its Name From Another Film
In 1955, legendary producer Roger Corman released a film starring Oscar-nominated actor John Ireland (who directed the film) and Oscar-winning actress Dorothy Malone about a truck driver's run from the law after being falsely charged. Later, he takes a woman's Jaguar sports car and drives off with her, with the two falling in love as the film progresses. The film's name? The Fast and the Furious.
While the 1955 movie plays out completely different from the 2001 film of the same name, Corman did have a hand in both projects as he had to license the title for use in Universal's soon-to-be blockbuster franchise. For a clever nod to the original film, perhaps the series could show a young Dominic borrowing Letty's car while on the run from police.
19 A Life Was Lost Due To An On-Set Accident
Sadly, on-set film accidents are a recurring trend in the film industry, with some even resulting in cast and crew members' lives being lost. While last year's The Fate of the Furious didn't see any humans fatally injured, the same couldn't be said for a horse named Jupiter.
While the crew was filming in Iceland, a piece of an artificial iceberg was caught by strong winds and blown into a nearby enclosure, where Jupiter and at least one other horse were being kept. Jupiter's leg was impacted and the horse had to be put down. Another horse was also injured but not as severely. According to TMZ, insurance was able to cover the cost of the horse and broken fence.
18 Vin Diesel And Paul Walker Have Not Always Stuck With The Series
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel have always been the two main stars of the Fast & Furious franchise, but this doesn't mean they were always in harmony with it.
Paul Walker told Los Angeles Times that he didn't appear in 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift because of “politics, studio stuff, [and] a regime decision.” As for Diesel, he declined to return for 2003's 2 Fast 2 Furious (despite being offered at least $20 million) over a dislike for the script and a desire to focus on 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick. In fact, the only reason he cameoed in Tokyo Drift was to gain the rights to Riddick and the character. Thankfully for fans, Diesel returned to the franchise in 2009's Fast & Furious, and convinced Walker to join him for the ride.
17 Several Major Stunts Were Real
The things that stick in most audience's minds about the Fast & Furious films are its wild stunts, most of which probably make us think, “There's no way that was real.”
However, fans would be surprised to know just how much of the emphatic feats were real. The Telegraph revealed that the Camaro-yacht jump in 2 Fast 2 Furious, the tanker robbery in Fast & Furious, and the multi-skyscraper jump in Furious 7 contained a dangerous degree of realism. Even one of the franchise's most memorable stunts, the car drop in Furious 7, was authentic, according to the film's stunt coordinators. The scene was composed of two separately-shot stunts, with the first involving dropping cars from a plane over the Arizona desert, and the other lifting cars a few feet above the ground before they slid safely down. Isn't movie magic glorious?
16 Luke Hobbs Was Not Always Envisioned For The Rock
Since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson's debut as U.S. Diplomatic Security Service Luke Hobbs in Fast Five, he has ascended to be one of the franchise's most beloved characters. However, an actor of an entirely different caliber was originally wanted for the role: Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones.
In a Facebook video that Vin Diesel posted to thank his fans for their support in his career, he revealed the decision to swap Jones for Johnson was all thanks to one fan's wish. “There was a girl named Jen Kelly who said, 'I would love to see [you and Johnson] work together,'” he said. While Johnson has excelled as Luke Hobbs, one has to wonder how different Hobbs would've been if Jones had brought his brand of authoritative acting to the role.
15 The Franchise Crew Has Associated With Real Street Racers
Despite street racing being a major part of, and the inspiration behind, the Fast & Furious franchise, fans must remember that the act is usually prohibited. However, this didn't stop director Rob Cohen from bringing real street racers onto the set of the first film.
In fact, Cohen enlisted over 200 racers to help out with the film's racing scenes, which ensured a more authentic look to the races. Unfortunately, it proved a bit too authentic for viewers, as the number of real-life street races increased due to the film's popularity (let's hope nobody tried to duplicate the movie's train scene ending!). Remember: it may look cool in a movie, but this doesn't make it okay.
14 Lucas Black Is Expected To Return
While The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is seen by many as the black sheep of the film series, it still has its fans thanks to its spectacular driving scenes and Lucas Black's lead performance as Sean Boswell.
In Furious 7, Black made a surprise cameo to help restore the series' timeline, but more on that later. Since then, most fans have probably assumed this was the last they would ever see of Boswell. However, in an interview with Toronto Sun, series writer Chris Morgan stated he has “plans for the character” and that fans “have not seen the last of him.” Black's IMDb page also lists him as a rumored actor in 2020's Fast & Furious 9.
13 Some Actors Didn't Even Have Driver's Licenses
One would think everyone involved with a film series centered around cars would know how to drive. Surprisingly, though, this wasn't the case with The Fast and the Furious. Series leads Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster didn't have their driver's licenses when they were cast in 2001's The Fast and the Furious, so they each had to take a driving test. “There was a ticking clock,” Brewster told VH1. “If I didn't get my license, I wasn't going to be able to get insured for the movie.”
Licensing troubles (pun intended) continued in the next film, as actress/model Devon Aoki (who portrayed Suki) didn't have her license either, according to TeenHollywood.com. Thankfully, all the actresses were properly trained and have since gone on to tear up the roads (at least on the big screen).
12 The Series Has Drawn Some Major Award Buzz
While the Fast & Furious franchise has earned several MTV Movie, Teen Choice, and Saturn Award wins and nominations, some fans believe the series is deserving of higher critical recognition. Vin Diesel even supported Furious 7 for Best Picture in the Oscar category.
Unfortunately, the top film organizations like the Oscars and BAFTA Awards tend to keep their distance from the franchise, mostly. Fast Five was nominated for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Action Movie (though, it ironically lost to Drive), and both Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7 received a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. The hit single “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth even earned Furious 7 a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song. While the song didn't win, it did win a Critics' Choice Award.
11 Fast Five Was Not The Franchise's First Major Success
The Fast & Furious franchise has proven itself to be quite the moneymaker these days, especially since its last two films each grossed well over $1 billion. Many fans point to Fast Five as the series' first true box-office hit, which was the seventh highest-grossing film of 2011, thanks to its $626 million gross, according to Box Office Mojo.
However, the series has actually been making bank since the beginning. The Fast and the Furious grossed $207 million on a $38 million budget, and even though the sequel had a budget twice as large, it made nearly $30 million more than its predecessor. Yes, Tokyo Drift was seen as more of a disappointment overall, but Fast & Furious surprised everyone by earning $363 million. What can one expect from the eighth highest-grossing film series of all time.
10 The Actors Didn't Always Get Along
Family is an important theme in the Fast & Furious franchise, but the actors behind the series' main family haven't always been so close in real life.
While filming of The Fate of the Furious, Dwayne Johnson took to social media to call out some of his male co-stars. While it wasn't clear who he was referring to, many saw the insult as a direct shot at leading man Vin Diesel. Though the situation was diffused for a while, The Rock later revealed that he hadn't shot any scenes with the actor. This, along with Tyrese Gibson's rants that express his dislike of Johnson's solo film, refueled fan speculation of The Rock's feud with some of the cast. While the feud has cooled down recently, Johnson's recent comment on his feud with Gibson being “one-sided” might be the next match to ignite this cast-member brushfire.
9 Some Films Were Planned To Be Shot Back-To-Back
Though it makes sense to film movies in a franchise individually in order to perfectly craft each product's story, shooting movies back-to-back is not always a bad idea. It gets them done quicker, can save money in the long run, and can tell an even bigger story by splitting it in two. Even the Fast & Furious franchise, which has several films standing alone, almost had two movies shot back-to-back.
According to Los Angeles Times, Universal Pictures considered filming what would become Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7 back-to-back, with director Justin Lin at the helm of both. While the back-to-back production didn't happen, the films technically had a shared story as Deckard Shaw's elimination of Han in the sixth movie would lead into the next film.
8 The Franchise Is More Than Just Films
Die-hard Fast & Furious fans may already be aware of the series' multiple video games and theme park attractions, but some have yet to hear the news of two of the franchise's latest endeavors.
Fast & Furious Live is a stunt show that's been touring worldwide since January and puts viewers in the middle of the films' action, with “the most thrilling stunts from the movies performed live in an epic arena show.” Meanwhile, Netflix has announced an animated series to be produced by DreamWorks Animation Television, as well as longtime franchise producers Vin Diesel, Chris Morgan, and Neal H. Moritz. The series will follow Dom's cousin, Tony, a teenager that joins his friends in infiltrating “an elite racing league serving as a front for a crime organization bent on world domination.” Who knows what the franchise will do next?
7 Racing Is Still A Part Of The Series
Though the Fast & Furious series started as a street racing franchise, it has since evolved to focus less on driving and more on heist and spy themes (more on this later). Despite this, the series hasn't forgotten its roots, as evidenced in recent films.
At the end of Fast Five, Brian challenges Dom to a race on a tropical beach to see who's the better driver and in Fast & Furious 6, an amnesiac Letty is challenged by Dom to a London street racing competition. However, it's perhaps The Fate of the Furious that has the greatest callback to the original films as it opens with Dom racing loan shark Raldo in Havana in order to help out his cousin.
6 Spin-Offs Have Been Discussed For A While Now
After the popularity of Luke Hobbs' (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw's (Jason Statham) team-up in The Fate of the Furious, a film centered around the two was announced for 2019. While many fans point out that this is the first step in the series' branching out into multi spin-off territory, other films were being discussed at least two years before Hobbs & Shaw was announced.
In 2015, Vin Diesel talked with Variety about “storylines for various characters” that had already been written, and that spin-off ideas had been played with “for a long time.” “We're certainly in conversations about how we can expand the franchise now,” added Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley. “It's an ensemble cast, and there's room to bring characters in and out.” Perhaps Helen Mirren can use this chance to expand her role from the eighth film?
5 The Franchise's Chronological Order Is Not Complicated
Some franchises have convoluted timelines, but this is not one of them. While the first two films take place chronologically (at least, for now), fans who watch the films in the order they were released might find it confusing once Han, who perishes in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, reappears alive and well in Fast Five. However, the answer is simple.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth films take place after 2 Fast 2 Furious, except for Fast & Furious 6's mid-credits scene. This is the full version of Han's demise, which means Tokyo Drift takes place after Fast & Furious 6. Furious 7 then picks up after Han's passing, but also shows Dom's time in Tokyo, which is seen in Tokyo Drift. After finishing Furious 7, the franchise should be smooth-sailing in terms of chronology, or, again, maybe only for now.
4 Actors Are Sometimes Kept In The Dark About Certain Plot Details
Even though actors sometimes stick pretty close to the production of their movies, this doesn't mean they know everything that will happen in the films.
While Michelle Rodriguez was aware that her character's demise in Fast & Furious was not necessarily permanent, she wasn't expecting to see Letty being mentioned at the end of Fast Five since she hadn't been called to shoot any scenes. “I didn't find out until I actually went to the theater and saw it myself,” she told Yahoo! Movies. In addition, Jordana Brewster revealed to VH1 that she “didn't know there was going to be a twist” at the end of Fast & Furious 6. Sounds like actors get to enjoy their films just like most fans do: never knowing what will happen next.
3 The Franchise Isn't Just For Auto Enthusiasts
When The Fast and the Furious was released in 2001, one wouldn't have been wrong if saying the soon-to-be franchise's audience would primarily consist of car enthusiasts due to the film's focus on souped-up cars and racing. Thankfully, former Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and former Co-chairman (now Chairman) Donna Langley saw the potential for the series and aspired to go beyond the “ceiling” set by the first few films to draw in bigger crowds.
“We wanted to see if we could raise it out of racing and make the car driving ability just a part of the movie, like those great chases in The French Connection, The Bourne Identity, [and] The Italian Job,” Fogelson told Deadline.com. Because of this, Fast Five is seen as the franchise's turning point to more action-based films, and many fans couldn't be happier.
2 Brian O'Conner Could Return
Paul Walker's 2013 passing has had a major impact on Fast & Furious fans, crew, and the franchise itself. After Furious 7 had to be reworked, Walker's brothers, Cody and Caleb, served as stand-ins for Paul to help complete the film. And, although Brian O'Conner had a beautiful sendoff, Walker's absence is still felt by many.
However, Walker's brothers have since said that O'Conner could still return, albeit for a cameo appearance, so they can “really kind of let his fans know he's still out there.” “I had a phone call with Vin for about an hour, and we really discussed this a while back,” Caleb told ET. While some fans may find this unnecessary, Cody ensured that Universal Pictures would only do it in a way that's “respectful of Paul and his image, and his family, too.”
1 The Series' End Has Been Planned
While many fans would love to see the adventures of Dominic Toretto and his fast-driving, world-saving family continue for years to come, the end of the series may be closer than they think.
Speaking with Collider, producer Neal H. Moritz revealed that “we kind of have the ending point of the franchise, but we don't know the in-betweens yet.” Back in 2016, Vin Diesel declared on his Instagram that the series' 10th installment (currently set for release in 2021, and the franchise's 20th anniversary) would be the final film. While this could still be the last part of the main story, the series' recently-announced spin-off (and those planned by Universal Pictures) could keep the franchise going for years to come.
Do you know any other tidbits that fans get wrong about the Fast & Furious franchise? Let us know in the comments below!