How The Rock & Vin Diesel’s Feud Changed Fast & Furious Movies
The feud between leading men Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson changed how the Fast & Furious movies were made. The franchise began back in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious, starring Diesel and Paul Walker. Johnson then joined the series with Fast Five in 2011. However, on the set of the later sequels, the two stars clashed. The feud eventually caused Johnson to leave the mainline saga of the franchise for the spin-off Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
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The feud between Diesel and Johnson became public in 2016, during the production of The Fate of the Furious. Pre-production of the following sequel, F9 was also troubled due to the feud, and Johnson eventually announced his exit from the movie, resulting in changes to the script. Instead of fully departing the franchise, though, Johnson and Jason Statham went off and led the Hobbs & Shaw spin-off. Diesel later attempted to get Johnson to return to the Fast Saga part of the franchise with Fast X, the penultimate entry in the series. But Johnson once again declined.
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The Rock & Vin Diesel Feud Explained
The feud between Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson became public during the filming of The Fate of the Furious in 2016. Johnson published a since-deleted post on Instagram where he called unspecified cast members “candy asses.” It was immediately speculated that he was insulting Diesel, though he did not directly identify the target of his ire. The feud continued when both stars exchanged veiled insults on further social media posts. In September 2016, their co-star Michelle Rodriguez confirmed that there had been tensions between Diesel and Johnson on the set but stated that the two were capable of setting aside their differences.
Later, following a delay in production on F9: The Fast Saga, Tyrese Gibson joined in on the feud, blaming Johnson, alongside his Seven Buck Productions producing partner Hiram Garcia, for the ongoing problems. Diesel then seemingly defended Johnson, claiming that the franchise required “maintenance issues.” However, Johnson later confirmed that he would not return to the franchise in the ninth installment of the Fast Saga.
The origins of the feud may lie in the casting of Johnson back in Fast Five. It was only with this fifth entry of the Fast & Furious franchise that the series really began to succeed, both critically and commercially. This was in part due to the casting of Johnson, an actor who regularly sees both box office success and large paychecks. Diesel, who both stars as Dom and produces the Fast & Furious franchise, is notoriously protective of the series and regularly refers to himself as a patriarchal figure among the cast and crew. Johnson has cited the feud as a “fundamental difference in philosophies.”
The Feud Caused One Hilarious Fast 6 Scene
While the feud between Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson did not become public until 2016, it’s entirely possible that it may have started all the way back during the production of Fast & Furious 6. There is a scene in the movie that is staged to make it look like Diesel and Johnson are having a face-to-face conversation, but the hilariously bad forced perspective used to make it look like they’re the same size also makes it obvious that they are not even looking at each other. During the scene, Johnson even appears to change size with each shot.
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With a forced perspective shot, filmmakers have to account for differing eye lines, as the actors involved will not be looking at each other, since one will be further away from the camera than the other. However, this scene in Fast & Furious 6 seemingly makes no attempt to consider this, with Diesel and Johnson obviously looking past one another. It’s a bizarre filmmaking choice that only seems to exist to shrink Johnson down to Diesel’s more average height. This scene could be evidence of the feud between the two actors affecting the Fast & Furious movies long before The Fate of the Furious.
The Feud Made Shooting F8 Worse
Following the release of The Fate of the Furious in 2017, Dwayne Johnson revealed that he and Vin Diesel did not shoot a single scene together. Diesel also used his position as a producer on the movie to cut a scene that was to take place during The Fate of the Furious’s ending, reuniting Johnson’s character with Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw. Despite overwhelmingly positive test audience feedback, the scene was removed from the theatrical cut and only seen afterward as an extra on the home video release of the movie. Johnson was not only seemingly agitated by this but also by Diesel’s behavior on the set. Supposedly, Diesel was constantly late for filming.
During the marketing campaign for The Fate of the Furious, Diesel broke his silence on the feud. He claimed that it was a thing of the past and had been exaggerated by the press. He also stated that he used his position as a producer to “protect” Johnson and expressed that he affectionately calls him Uncle Dwayne. Diesel also expressed that he used a “tough love” approach with Johnson to get the performance he wanted from his character. It was after these statements from Diesel that Johnson revealed the philosophical differences between the two during production.
The Rock Left F9 For Hobbs & Shaw
Following The Fate of the Furious, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson did not return to the mainline part of the Fast & Furious franchise. Both Vin Diesel and Johnson confirmed that they were returning for F9: The Fast Saga in April 2017, but by April 2018, Johnson had changed his tune. Claiming that he was focusing on the spin-off Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Johnson stated that he was not sure that he would return for F9. By January 2019, Johnson finally confirmed his exit from F9, though at that point he did not rule out returning to the franchise for future installments.
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The Feud Seemed Settled After Hobbs & Shaw
After the release of the Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, the feud between Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson seemed to have been settled. Johnson took to Instagram to thank “brother Vin” for his support for the spin-off. However, their Fast & Furious co-star Tyrese Gibson seemingly re-ignited the feud by mocking the movie’s box office numbers in a now-deleted post on Instagram. Following Gibson’s comments, however, Fast & Furious writer Chris Morgan denied a feud existed between Diesel and Johnson.
Diesel Asked The Rock To Return In Fast X
Following Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s absence from F9: The Fast Saga, Vin Diesel took to Instagram in November 2021 to publicly ask his former co-star to return to the franchise in Fast X. However, Johnson confirmed that he would not return to the mainline Fast & Furious series and cited mentions of Paul Walker in Diesel’s social media post as manipulative. Johnson stated that he was supportive of the franchise and his co-stars but that there is “no chance” of his return to the series. These comments indicate that the feud between the two is still very much alive.
Will The Rock Ever Return To Fast & Furious?
Given Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s public comments, it’s unlikely that he will return to the Fast & Furious franchise. Fast X is also the penultimate entry, at least in the Fast Saga, and with the final movie supposedly releasing in 2024, it’s hard to see Johnson’s opinion changing quickly enough. However, there’s a chance that Johnson might return through a sequel to Hobbs & Shaw. Following Vin Diesel’s November 2021 social media post, Johnson stated that the script for Hobbs & Shaw 2 was well underway and that he had pitched an idea to Universal. However, the ongoing feud between Diesel and Johnson means it’s doubtful that the latter will ever return to the mainline Fast & Furious franchise.
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