Fast & Furious Already Proved How Hard It Is To Continue Without Dom
While many believe that Fast and Furious will continue in some form after Fast & Furious 11, the franchise’s history already proved how difficult it is to move past Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto. After many possible perfect Fast and Furious endings, the story of Dom and his family will come to an actual conclusion with Fast X and Fast & Furious 11. Still, it is hard to imagine that Universal Studios will simply end the Fast and Furious IP forever, although continuing the Fast and Furious franchise without Dom Toretto will be a rather complex challenge.
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After reuniting with his long-lost brother Jakob Toretto in F9 and once again facing the cyber-terrorist Cipher, Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto will return for Fast X, the first of a two-part story that will wrap up the Fast and Furious franchise. F9 was the most recent example of how Toretto-focused Fast and Furious has become in the past few years, even more so after The Rock left the Fast and Furious franchise. It’s safe to say Fast X will also be Dom Toretto-focused, especially because John Cena’s Jakob Toretto will return following his redemption arc in F9.
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Starting with Fast Five, which saw names from all previous Fast and Furious films joining forces to perform an international heist, Fast and Furious became an ensemble-type of franchise whose films always feature a large set of characters. Still, after Paul Walker’s tragic passing, Toretto became the solely main character in Fast and Furious. From Furious 7 onward, it was up to Vin Diesel to be the face of the saga. Now, Diesel and the Fast and Furious cast have made it clear that Fast & Furious 11 will be the end of the story. However, at a time when studios struggle to launch new IPs, ending a series like the Fast and Furious franchise altogether does not seem like a good decision. Given Hollywood’s track of reboots and remakes, it’s likely that Fast and Furious will continue in some form after the end of Dom Toretto’s story. The only problem is that Fast and Furious already tried to move past Vin Diesel’s Dom, twice, and it failed in both cases.
Fast & Furious Tried To Move Past Toretto (Twice)
The first time Fast and Furious tried to continue without Vin Diesel was right after the franchise’s first movie, The Fast and the Furious. Vin Diesel, who did not want to risk ruining the first film and already had a new potential franchise in Riddick, chose not to return for 2 Fast 2 Furious. The Fast and the Furious had been a moderate success, which prompted the studio to try pulling off a sequel despite Vin Diesel’s absence. Paul Walker agreed to return for 2 Fast 2 Furious, now paired with Tyrese’s Roman Pearce. Roman was consciously written to be Dom’s replacement in Fast and Furious, with the movie establishing that Brian and Roman were childhood friends to avoid having to create a connection between the two new leads from scratch. Still, 2 Fast 2 Furious was far from being as good as The Fast and the Furious. The movie grossed only $236.4 million at the box office, and it is considered the worst entry in the Fast and Furious franchise.
Following 2 Fast 2 Furious’ failure, the only way the studio found to continue Fast and Furious was by reinventing it. Vin Diesel still was not interested in returning, and while Tokyo Drift was initially a Toretto story, it eventually became an all-new Fast and Furious adventure with almost no connections to the first two films. Paul Walker was not asked to return, as the studio was keen on making Tokyo Drift a high school film. While Tokyo Drift is remembered fondly by the fanbase, especially by those who believe Fast and Furious should be about cars and not just non-stop action, the film only made $159 million at the box office. Vin Diesel agreed to a cameo in Tokyo Drift in exchange for the movie rights to Riddick, but not even the surprising Toretto appearance was enough to make Tokyo Drift a success.
Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto Return Saved Fast & Furious
With two financial disappointments in a row, there were not many options as to where Fast and Furious could go next. Vin Diesel reportedly pitched a last Fast and Furious movie that would wrap up the stories of Brian and Dom – the project that would become 2009’s Fast & Furious. Paul Walker initially was not interested in returning for the fourth film, but Vin Diesel managed to convince his original The Fast and the Furious co-star to reprise his role as Brian O’Conner. However, instead of being a closing chapter, Fast & Furious (2009) marked a new beginning for the Fast and Furious saga. Fast & Furious (2009) went on to make $360.4 million at the box office, by far the best result for a Fast and Furious movie up until that point. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel’s return was quickly followed by a sequel, Fast Five, which grossed $626.1 million and cemented Fast and Furious as a new blockbuster franchise.
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Fast & Furious Has Become Synonymous With Vin Diesel
From famous stunts to quotable lines, Fast and Furious has become synonymous with Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto. The Fast and Furious cast may have grown a lot in the past few years, but Diesel never lost his position as the saga’s lead, not even after The Rock’s Hobbs was given a prominent role. Starting with Fast & Furious (2009), all Fast and Furious films have centered mostly on Toretto and on how his actions affect his family. For example, Fast Five was about Dom and his team on the run after Toretto escaped prison; The Fate of the Furious was about Dom being threatened into working for Cipher, and F9 was about Dom reuniting with his brother Jakob.
Vin Diesel also has a key role in the Fast and Furious franchise as a producer. Diesel has creative involvement in the Fast and Furious films, not to mention how the actor’s star power is one of the main reasons why Fast and Furious continues to perform so well worldwide even after Dwayne Johnson’s departure from the saga. As such, it can be difficult to picture Fast and Furious without Vin Diesel.
Fast & Furious Can Continue Past Toretto (But It Won’t Be Easy)
Continuing Fast and Furious past Fast & Furious 11 can be done, but it will be tricky. So far, the only successful example of a Fast and Furious movie that did not star Vin Diesel is Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, a spinoff film featuring Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw with little to no connection to the main story. Hobbs & Shaw claimed $760 million at the box office, pairing it close to the most successful Fast and Furious movies outside of Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious, both of which crossed the billion-dollar mark.
Still, a Hobbs & Shaw sequel has yet to be announced. Dwayne Johnson’s return to the franchise, even if for another standalone spinoff film, would certainly help Fast and Furious continue after Fast & Furious 11. However, relying on The Rock alone would not be the best strategy in the long run. A valuable approach to continue the Fast and Furious IP would be to have Vin Diesel still onboard as a producer, even if the character Dominic Toretto and his family never return. That would allow future Fast and Furious films to retain part of what made the original saga so successful, but now with a new story.
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