The Fast and the Furious (also known as The Fast Saga and Fast & Furious) is an American franchise including a series of action films, which center on illegal illegal street racing and heists, and various other media portraying the characters and situations from the films.
Distributed by Universal Pictures, the series was established with the 2001 film titled The Fast and the Furious; followed by seven sequels, two short films that tie into the series, plus video game series. Having earned over $5 billion at the worldwide box office as of April 2017, The Fast and the Furious has become Universal's biggest franchise of all time.
The Fast and the Furious
- Main article: The Fast and the Furious
The inspiration for the first film was taken from an article featured in the May 1998 issue of Vibe Magazine. "Racer X", written by Ken Li, covered street racing in New York City from the point of view of Rafael Estevev, who was interviewed for the piece. Director, Rob Cohen, known for films like The Skulls and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, expressed that he was interested in directing a film about street racing, the people and the lifestyle behind it. Additionally, Cohen attended a street race himself for first hand experience.
Following the purchase to the rights of the name of the 1955 film The Fast and the Furious, the production of the film was able to go forward. Since the first film's release, The Fast and the Furious was compared to the 1991 film Point Break, on account of its plot similarities, however, the original Vibe magazine interview that inspired the film was added to the official DVD release for audience context and clarification.
The success of the first film lead to the production of two more films, 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Directed by John Singleton, 2 Fast 2 Furious continued the story of the first film's protagonist, Brian O'Conner and introduced R&B singer and actor, Tyrese as O'Conner's childhood friend, Roman Pearce and created the character, Tej for Ludacris when Ja Rule declined to return when he was not given a bigger role. Both films established the traditional two year gap between films.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, directed by Justin Lin, was produced with a stronger emphasis the street racing element, in particular the phenomena known as Drifting. Tokyo Drift also introduced an entirely new cast of characters, and starred Bow Wow, Sung Kang, Sonny Chiba, and Lucas Black as a high school student who learns how to "Drift" in Tokyo, Japan.
"Fast & Furious" Trilogies
After the release of Tokyo Drift, Universal Pictures was of the mind of producing future sequels for "Direct-to-DVD" profits. "The talk internally was that the franchise was played out," Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Universal Pictures co-president of production, told TheWrap. "At that point we were weighing whether to go straight to video or not for future sequels. We weren't sure what we were going to do."
Vin Diesel had originally been approached to appear in both 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift but declined initially. However, Universal's intention was still to remodel the series for theatrical releases. Vin Diesel and Pitch Black director David Twohy, were looking to own the rights to The Chronicles of Riddick, so he agreed to make a cameo appearance at the end of Tokyo Drift if the rights to Riddick were given to him.
The reception to Diesel's appearance in the film was positive enough that Universal believed that they could "reboot" the series. Their intention with Fast & Furious, Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6 was to downplay the street racing elements and instead focus on the criminal elements of the film such as armed robberies and the procedural elements that were briefly focused on in The Fast and the Furious with Brian O'Conner as law enforcement.
In addition to agreeing to return as the series protagonist, Vin Diesel became the franchise's producer alongside Neal H. Moritz. There was also an effort to diversify the franchise's cast to appeal to a broader audience. With the release of Furious 7, the seventh film in the franchise, Vin Diesel announced it was the beginning of a "new trilogy" in the same way Fast & Furious was in 2009.
The Fast and the Furious was shot in various locations within Los Angeles and parts of southern California. Key locations included Dodger Stadium, Angelino Heights, Silver Lake and Echo Park, as well as Little Saigon and the San Bernardino International Airport, the venue for "Race Wars", which attracted over 1,500 import car owners and enthusiasts.
Since the first film and 2 Fast and 2 Furious, the franchise has film across the world in various locations. The most notable among them being Tokyo for specific scenes in Tokyo Drift, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in Fast Five, London, England in Fast & Furious 6, Abu Dhabi in Furious 7, and New York City in The Fate of the Furious.
Since Tokyo Drift, The Fast and the Furious franchise has retroactively established an overarching timeline in which every film after 2 Fast 2 Furious, except Furious 7, occurs before the events of Han Seoul-Oh's death in Tokyo Drift. Vin Diesel and Chris Morgan established the narrative that began with the short film Los Bandoleros (directed by Diesel) that established the whereabouts of Dominic Toretto after he escapes Los Angeles and makes it to Baja, Mexico. Los Bandoleros also explores his relationship with Han Seoul-Oh and later, Letty Ortiz, his childhood sweetheart.
Fast & Furious establishes the catalyst for the reformation of the Toretto's crew with the presumed death of Letty. The incident reunites Brian O'Connor with the Toretto's, Dominic and Mia, who are looking to avenge Letty's death. Brian and Dominic go undercover to smoke out the drug lord, Arturo Braga and meet Gisele Yashar, one of his assistants.
When Letty is avenged with the arrest of Braga, Dominic sentenced to prison for 25 years to life. When Mia and Brian prevent Dominic from going to prison, the make a bid to disappear forever when they decide to steal from Hernan Reyes. Their plan requires the assistance of Roman Pearce, Tej Parker, Han, Gisele, Tego Leo and Rico Santos. Despite opposition from DSS agent, Luke Hobbs and Reyes himself, the crew are able to escape with the Reyes's money and start a new lives.
Letty's death is eventually reveald to have been a falsehood when U.S. Customs agent, Monica Fuentes presents Hobbs photographic confirmation of her survival. Fast & Furious 6 eventually has the entire crew fighting against a criminal ex-operative agent named Owen Shaw, to save an Amnesiac Letty Ortiz, who willingly works for Shaw.
His grievous injuries at the hands of Dominic Toretto and his crew angers his elder brother, Deckard Shaw, who kills Han to avenge his younger brother. Furious 7 brings the Braga-Shaw story to a close when the crew decides to hunt Deckard down for killing Han, in exchange for helping an off-the-record operative named "Mr. Nobody" save a young hacker named Ramsey from a terrorist named Mose Jakande.
When Dom is forced to help a mysterious woman named Cipher in her plans to start a nuclear war, the team is forced to team up with Deckard to find out why Dom betrayed them and stop Cipher's plans on wrecking havoc on the world.
|The Fast and the Furious||Rob Cohen||Gary Scott Thompson
Ken Li ("Racer X")
|Turbo-Charged Prelude||Philip Atwell||Keith Dinielli||2003|
|2 Fast 2 Furious||John Singleton||Michael Brandt
|Los Bandoleros||Vin Diesel||Vin Diesel
|Fast & Furious||Justin Lin||Chris Morgan||2009|
|Fast Five||Justin Lin||Chris Morgan||2011|
|Fast & Furious 6||Justin Lin||Chris Morgan||2013|
|The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift||Justin Lin||Chris Morgan||2006|
|Furious 7||James Wan||Chris Morgan||2015|
|The Fate of the Furious||F. Gary Gray||Chris Morgan||2017|
|Hobbs & Shaw||David Leitch||Chris Morgan||2019|
|Fast & Furious 9||Justin Lin||Daniel Casey||2021|
|Fast & Furious 10||Justin Lin||Chris Morgan||TBC|
|Fast & Furious 11||Justin Lin||Chris Morgan||TBC|
In 2002, MTV Films released Justin Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow. The film is not considered part of the The Fast and Furious franchise, however Sung Kang, portrays a character named "Han" in Better Luck Tomorrow. The Han character in Better Luck Tomorrow was a smoker. In Fast Five, Gisele Yashar attributes Han's constant eating and need to occupy his hands to him being a former smoker, an oblique reference to Lin's film.
- Prior to filming The Fast and the Furious, both Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez did not have driver's licenses, so they took driving lessons during production.
- The Racer X Reunion: A Conversation With Kenneth Li and Rafael Estevez
- From The VIBE Vault: ‘Racer X’ (The ‘Fast & Furious’ Inspiration)
- The Fast and the Furious: Director's Commentary with Rob Cohen
- How Ja Rule Turning Down ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ Helped Launch Ludacris As A Star
- How an Extreme Movie Makeover Saved ‘Fast & Furious’ From Going Direct to DVD
- Vin Diesel's Shrewd Move: Trading 'Fast & Furious' Cameo to Own 'Riddick' Rights
- This Is the Real Reason Furious 7 Is a Box-Office Smash: 75% of the record-breaking film's North American audience was nonwhite
- Vin Diesel Says ‘Furious 7′ Starts a New Trilogy; ‘Fast & Furious 8′ Set in New York
- Cinema.com - The Fast and the Furious Production Notes
- Fast Five: Director's Commentary with Justin Lin