Vin Diesel Saved The Fast And Furious Movies From Going Straight To Video
The Fast And Furious movie saga was destined to head straight to video before Vin Diesel stepped in to save it. While Pitch Black’s Riddick was Diesel’s first breakout role, it was 2001’s The Fast And The Furious that made him a star. While Diesel has since embraced franchises, he was initially shy of sequels. To the shock of many, Diesel passed on 2 Fast 2 Furious to build a new series for himself with 2002’s xXx; he then passed on 2005’s xXx: State Of The Union after disliking the sequel’s concept. Diesel later returned to the Fast And Furious movies and has helped build it into one of the biggest film franchises in the world.
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He also returned for 2017’s xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage and has reprised Riddick for numerous movies and video games over the years. The actor has also attempted to launch more franchises with The Last Witch Hunter and Bloodshot, though neither project has – thus far at least – received a follow-up.
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While Diesel bailed out of the second entry, he famously made a cameo in Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift’s last scene. While the latter entry has since proven to be one of the most impactful on the entire saga – including being director Justin Lin’s first entry and introducing the character of Han – it also grossed the least. The third entry focused on new characters and outside of Diesel’s cameo, had few ties to the previous movies. At this point, Universal seriously started to consider making future Fast And Furious movies that headed straight to video instead, with DVD being a lucrative market for other Universal franchises like American Pie or The Scorpion King. Before heading down this route, they turned to Diesel.
Vin Diesel made his The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift cameo in exchange for the rights to the character of Riddick. However, the audience reaction to his brief, surprise appearance got fans excited about his potential return to the series. Diesel was a co-producer on 2009’s Fast & Furious movie, which wisely reunited the core cast of the original movie, and proved a comfortable hit. Fast Five famously added Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs to the mix and moved away from street racing to being more of a heist movie.
The Fast And The Furious movies blend of huge setpieces with a multi-ethnic cast has seen it grow from strength to strength. The series is set to end with upcoming Fast 10 and 11, while Johnson – who is famously feuding with Diesel – is also set to return for Hobbs & Shaw 2. Given the huge returns Universal have reaped from the saga over the last decade and change, it’s hard to believe they seriously mulled making a string of Fast And Furious STV movies instead. That said, it also would have been interesting to see how that alternative road not taken would have worked out.
Next: Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift is Now One of the Franchise’s Most Important Movies