‘Fast X’ director Justin Lin exits sequel during production

Barely per week into manufacturing on Universal’s “Fast X,” Justin Lin introduced his sudden exit as director from the upcoming “Fast & Furious” sequel, throwing the blockbuster collection’ destiny into query.

“With the support of Universal, I have made the difficult decision to step back as director of ‘Fast X,’ while remaining with the project as a producer,” Lin stated in a assertion shared Tuesday to the franchise’s social media channels.

A supply near the manufacturing cited artistic variations for the choice, which is alleged to be amicable. The standing of Lin’s involvement with the eleventh and remaining installment, which he was set to direct after “Fast X,” is unclear.

In the wake of Lin’s exit, Universal is holding its eyes on the street forward. “Fast X” — already set for a May 19, 2023, launch — shouldn’t be anticipated to be rescheduled, though manufacturing will likely be briefly paused because the studio seeks to rent a brand new director within the coming weeks. Second-unit filming, already underway within the United Kingdom, will proceed.

“Over 10 years and five films, we have been able to shoot the best actors, the best stunts, and the best damn car chases,” learn Lin’s assertion, wanting again on his historical past with the collection and its development from humble motion roots to probably the most inclusive franchise in Hollywood.

“On a personal note, as the child of Asian immigrants, I am proud of helping to build the most diverse franchise in movie history,” stated Lin, whose profession contains acclaimed indie drama “Better Luck Tomorrow,” sci-fi tent pole “Star Trek Beyond” and the HBO Max martial arts drama “Warrior.” “I will forever be grateful to the amazing cast, crew and studio for their support, and for welcoming me into the ‘Fast’ family.”

After directing greater than half of the franchise’s 9 function movies to this point, together with final 12 months’s $726-million-grossing “F9” — which helped usher within the return of theatrical unique blockbusters after the COVID-19 shutdown — Lin’s departure got here as a shock to followers of the $6-billion franchise.

A woman and a man in a car.

Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Dom (Vin Diesel) in “F9,” directed by Justin Lin.

(Giles Keyte / Universal Pictures)

While the Vin Diesel-anchored collection has been directed by 4 different filmmakers — Rob Cohen (2001’s “The Fast and the Furious”), John Singleton (2003’s “2 Fast 2 Furious”), James Wan (2015’s “Furious 7″) and F. Gary Gray (2017’s “Fate of the Furious”) — Lin is considered a key architect of its success and the big swings that garnered it a devoted global fan following.

Responsible for spinning the 2006 threequel “Tokyo Drift” right into a cult hit, Lin rewrote Hollywood franchise guidelines with expansive and explosive sequels “Fast & Furious” (2009), “Fast Five” (2011) and “Fast & Furious 6″ (2013).

In 2021 he returned to direct “F9″ and brought actor Sung Kang’s fan favorite character Han Seoul-Oh back from the dead — a corrective to a creative choice to redeem Han’s killer Deckard Shaw in “Fate of the Furious” that Lin had taken challenge with throughout his absence from the franchise.

“It didn’t compute to me,” Lin told The Times. “I thought, why would they do that?” Now with Han back in the “family” fold, a lineup of core series heroes sets up “Fast X” and what’s being billed as the final 11th film to close out the series.

A source close to the production describes “Fast X,” which Lin co-wrote with Dan Mazeau, as very much the filmmaker’s vision, and he will remain a producer on the project.

The 10th installment stars series fixture and fellow producer Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel and Charlize Theron. Jason Momoa and Brie Larson are among the new faces joining the returning cast.

In an on-set video posted to Diesel’s Instagram last week, the star asked Lin how he felt after the first week of filming.

“Feels like the beginning of an epic ending,” said Lin.

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