You could argue that Justin Lin saved the “Fast Saga.” After a big start, the franchise was treading water for years until he breathed new life into it via Fast Five. The solution? Go bigger and more ridiculous. (Mind you, Lin also helmed the previous two outings, which both underperformed. But he still helped steer the ship right.) He returned to the series with last year’s F9, and he was set to do the same for its follow-up, Fast X. But now, as shooting is already under way, that’s no longer to be.
On Tuesday, less than a week after shooting commenced, Lin released a statement that was shared on the franchise’s social media account.
“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 wrote. “Over 10 years and five films, we have been able to shoot the best actors, the best stunts, and the best damn car chases. On a personal note, as the child of Asian immigrants, I am proud of helping to build the most diverse franchise in movie history. I will forever be grateful to the amazing cast, crew and studio for their support, and for welcoming me into the FAST family.”
The news was confirmed by Deadline, who revealed that the shoot will take a brief pause while a replacement is found.
The Fast Saga has seen its share of behind-the-scenes drama, most notably between actors Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson. Their feud got so bad that Johnson dragged supporting player Jason Statham over to their own spin-off wing of the franchise. When Diesel offered an olive branch, beckoning him to return to the main wing, Johnson refused.
Fast X is currently due in theaters on May 19, 2023.