Fast & Furious Original Fast 5 Plan Would’ve Killed The Franchise

Fast & Furious Original Fast 5 Plan Would’ve Killed The Franchise

The original Fast Five plan involved a very different antagonist, and that could have killed the Fast and Furious franchise before it even got a chance to become the box office juggernaut that it is today. After Fast & Furious (2009) proved that there was still an audience for the adventures of Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto and Paul Walker’s Brian, especially after the loosely connected 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Universal decided to double down on the franchise. Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious director Justin Lin returned for the fifth movie, now with a budget increment of $40 million.

Part of Fast Five’s $125 million budget can be explained by the larger cast. While the first four Fast and Furious films would usually follow a duo of protagonists, Fast Five introduced the idea of Dom Toretto’s crew, or family, of pilots. Characters from all four Fast and Furious movies got together for the first time, and Fast Five finally made all installments feel like they belonged to one franchise only. For example, Dom finally got to meet 2 Fast 2 Furious’ Roman and Tej, and Brian finally got to meet Tokyo Drift’s Han.

Related: What If Fast & Furious Tokyo Drift Was A Dom Toretto Movie

The most crucial addition to Fast Five, however, was the addition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Luke Hobbs. While the Fast and Furious franchise could have worked without ever adding Dwayne Johnson to the mix, it is undeniable how much of an impact the star had on the series, especially considering how the movies were aiming at becoming an action blockbuster franchise. Hobbs would then team up with Dom’s crew at the end of Fast Five, making it possible for The Rock to return in Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, and The Fate of the Furious, not to mention the Hobbs & Shaw spinoff. However, Fast Five almost did not star The Rock, as the original plan for Hobbs was quite different from the role Dwayne Johnson ended up playing. This was revealed by Vin Diesel in 2016 through a Facebook post in which the actor recalled, way before Diesel’s feud with The Rock started, how Dwayne Johnson joined the franchise.

The Rock’s Hobbs Was Originally An Older Character

 Luke Hobbs tracks down Dom and his crew in Rio in Fast Five

Instead of an active agent at the high of his reputation who could fight Dominic Toretto hand to hand, the idea was for Hobbs to be an older, more seasoned federal agent. Hobbs would likely not have been chasing Dom and his crew through the streets of Rio de Janeiro by himself but would rather have served as a strategist commanding an investigation on Toretto. While The Rock’s Hobbs did do something similar in Fast Five, with the character coming up with strategies and leading a team of agents, it was in the action sequences that he really got to shine. The first encounter between Hobbs and Toretto, in which The Rock’s character jumps from one roof to another while to trying to catch Dom, is one of the highlights of Fast Five – and it set the tone for what the rest of the movie would be like.

Before realizing that Dom, Brian, and their friends were not the real threat, Hobbs fought Toretto hand to hand in a true battle of titans. Neither Vin Diesel nor The Rock is used to losing a fight in a movie, which made the Dom and Hobbs showdown in Fast Five even more interesting. However, considering how the villain was supposed to be an older character, all of the mentioned action sequences were only added after Dwayne Johnson was cast as Hobbs.

Tommy Lee Jones Was Considered For Hobbs In Fast Five

Tommy Lee Jones and Natalie Dormer in Captain America

Had Fast Five gone forward with the original concept for Hobbs, then the crew already had a name: Tommy Lee Jones. In fact, the role of Hobbs had been written with Tommy Lee Jones in mind. There are not many details regarding whether or not Tommy Lee Jones was ever offered the role, as the Vin Diesel only revealed that they gave the part to The Rock instead and that “he shined in it.” While the Fast and Furious franchise has recently seen names like Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, and Charlize Theron as action stars, having an actor as big as Tommy Lee Jones appearing as early as in Fast Five would have been surprising.

Related: F9 Secretly Set Up Fast & Furious 10 Returning To Its Roots

Fast Five’s Original Plan Would’ve Missed What Made The Movie So Good

Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto and Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs in Fast and Furious 5

As interesting as it would be to see Tommy Lee Jones in Fast and Furious, having an older agent Hobbs in Fast Five would have missed what made the movie so good. Although Fast Five was a heist movie, the real conflict of the story was having Hobbs, an agent with a perfect record, going after the Fast and Furious characters that audiences had been following since 2001. Unlike forgettable villains such as 2 Fast 2 Furious’ Carter Verone and Fast & Furious’ Braga, Dwayne Johnson’s character was the first antagonist to actually feel like he could defeat the heroes. As such, there are those who still consider Hobbs the best Fast and Furious villain. From the rooftop chase to the Hobbs vs. Dom fight, The Rock was crucial to making the best moments from Fast Five possible.

Fast Five Without The Rock Would’ve Killed Fast & Furious

Fast and furious 10 what to expect The Rock Vin Diesel

The budget for Fast Five, the biggest in the first five Fast and Furious films, proves how big the movie’s aspirations were. For the first time since The Fast and the Furious, the focus was no longer going to be on car races or small-scale heists but rather on a superhero-level plot. Fast Five represents the transition of Fast and Furious into a blockbuster franchise, and that was symbolized by The Rock. Had the action star not been in Fast Five, then the film could have been just another Fast and Furious movie, perhaps closer to Fast & Furious (2009).

Johnson’s Hobbs was the new element that made Fast & Furious 5 so distinct from previous movies in the saga, and that allowed the big action sequences to make sense within the story. While there are those who wish Fast and Furious would go back to its simpler origins, the franchise would not have become what it is today without the shift in tone and scale seen in Fast Five. For that reason, it is good that The Rock ended up playing Hobbs instead of Tommy Lee Jones.

Next: Fast & Furious’ Hilarious “I Don’t Have Friends, I Got Family” Meme Explained

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