“We should bring him back”: Tokyo Drift Director Justin Lin Saved the Entire Fast and Furious Franchise With One Vin Diesel Cameo

Since 2001, the Fast & Furious franchise has captivated audiences worldwide with its heart-pounding street racing, jaw-dropping stunts, and highly talented cast. The franchise, which features actor Vin Diesel as the main star, is often credited for reshaping the car culture around the world.

The first movie in the franchise, The Fast and the Furious (2001), laid down the franchise’s foundation and became a worldwide sensation thanks to remarkable performances from stars like Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster. However, for the second film, Diesel decided to step down and that worried the studio. It was important for the next film in the franchise to do things correctly in order to expand the franchise.

Vin Diesel in The Fast & the Furious

Vin Diesel in The Fast & the Furious

The third film in the franchise, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which is undoubtedly the most iconic film in the franchise for every car enthusiast, introduced fresh faces but one familiar face had to return to save the franchise.

How did directed Justin Lin convince Vin Diesel to star in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift?

Vin Diesel in The Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift

Vin Diesel in The Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift

The director of 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Justin Lin, was told that he would never be able to convince actor Vin Diesel to star in his movie, but he had to make it happen in order to save the franchise. Lin once recalled how he made it happen (via Moveable Fest),

“We talked our way to going to his house. I remember he was showing us his Dungeons and Dragons book and stuff like that and I ended up talking by his poolside for four hours about the mythology [of the series] and his relationship with Han. It sounds crazy, but all the way up to ‘Fast 6,’ a lot of that was talked about that night in 2005.”

Lin has massively contributed to the success of the franchise as he has directed 5 movies, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Fast & Furious 4 (2009), Fast Five (2011), and Fast & Furious 6 (2013).

Vin Diesel’s cameo revived the franchise

Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel

Diesel’s performance in the first Fast & Furious movie was remarkable and fans wanted to see more of it. Thanks to Lin’s efforts, the cameo finally happened and it made the film much more exciting. As per Lin (via Moveable Fest), the first test screening was quite successful,
“When Vin Diesel showed up, I remember sitting in the audience and the crowd went crazy and that’s when the studio went, ‘Wow, maybe we should bring him back.’”

The transition from illegal street racing towards heists and spying came in Lin’s 2011 movie, Fast Five. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was praised for its driving sequences but was criticized for its plot and acting performances. While the movie may be the lowest-grossing film in the franchise, it is still loved by car enthusiasts all over the world.

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