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Things About The Fast And Furious Films Only Superfans Know

"The Fast and the Furious" became an instant classic when it debuted in 2001. According to Box Office Mojo, the film earned over $207 million worldwide on just a $38 million budget. While Paul Walker and Vin Diesel had already seen moderate success in Hollywood, the action-thriller fast-tracked the duo to superstardom as they went on to star in multiple sequels that took the world by storm. The "Fast" franchise of films has spanned two decades and shows no sign of stopping as the newer installments continue to bring in over $1 billion worldwide with every new release. While the main storyline is expected to end with "Fast & Furious 11," upcoming sequels — including the all female-led project — will ensure the series lives on forever.

With nine films under its belt in the main storyline, the "Fast & Furious" franchise has amassed quite the fanbase. These fans head out to the theater in droves with each new release as they wonder what shenanigans Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his loyal crew might get into this time. Only superfans of the series know the big secrets behind the franchise, including major castings that almost happened and storylines that were cut. Test your "Fast & Furious" fan status by scrolling through our list to see if you're a true superfan!

The Fast and the Furious was inspired by a Vibe article

Inspirations for films come from all sorts of places, and for "The Fast and the Furious," that happened to be a 1998 article from Vibe magazine. Titled "Racer-X," the article detailed the world of street racing and was penned by Kenneth Li. It focused on Dominican street racer Rafael Estevez, and the article discussed all aspects of the underground world. This included the thousands of dollars that were exchanged per race, the desire for power, and what it takes to get a car moving as fast as possible.

According to Insider, director Rob Cohen revealed on the special features DVD that he was inspired by the article when it was passed onto him, so he attended a race in Los Angeles to get a better feel. No one knew that this article would spawn one of the biggest franchises in movie history, including the author. Li told Yahoo Movies the plot of "The Fast and the Furious" was more like his original article, which focused on theft that often occurs in the world of street racing, but that part was cut out before it went to print. "I was trying to uncover some car theft ring and edited that part out of the story. Oddly, they ended up taking my story, which had nothing to do with a theft ring, and then they ended up making a movie about that," he remembered.

Some big-name actors almost appeared in the Fast movies

While it would be hard to imagine the "Fast & Furious" world without the likes of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Michelle Rodriguez, the series almost looked entirely different. Producer Neal Horowitz revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Timothy Olyphant was the first choice for Dominic Toretto, but the actor turned it down. Another Toretto who could have looked much different was Mia, as the role was written with Eliza Dushku in mind, but she refused the part. Others who auditioned for Mia include Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, to name a few.

Back in 2013, Deadline reported that Denzel Washington had been offered a small role in "Fast & Furious 6" and a major one "Furious 7," but he turned it down. While the article doesn't specifically state which part Universal wanted the Academy Award winner for, it's suspected to have been for Deckard Shaw — now made famous by Jason Statham. The more recent installments — sans "F9" — of the "Fast" franchise include Dwayne Johnson, who famously played Agent Hobbs, a foe-turned-friend to Dom and company. According to Collider, the part was initially intended for Tommy Lee Jones, but when someone suggested wanting to see Johnson and Diesel on screen together, the role was rewritten.

Vin Diesel turned down a massive payday for 2 Fast 2 Furious

Despite the massive success of "The Fast and the Furious," Vin Diesel didn't want any part of its sequel — no matter how many dollar signs came with it. The actor revealed why he opted out of the 2003 film when speaking with #Legend in 2017. "After I made the first one, I remember being in a room full of big CEOs and the people who owned the franchise," he said. "We were at a dinner in London celebrating the success of the film. One of the guys said to me, 'We have to do this again.' I remember telling everyone at the table, 'You can't do this again. You can't touch it. You have to leave it alone.'"

Diesel also admitted to turning down a $25 million payday to do the sequel. He noted that he didn't like what was being done with the script and felt like the studio was making a second film just for the sake of doing a sequel. "They were capitalizing on the brand and milking the success of it as long as they could," he added. Thankfully Diesel rejoined the franchise in "Fast & Furious" after having a small cameo in "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift."

The Fast fandom can thank themselves for Han's return

If superfans know anything about "Fast & Furious," it's that they can have a significant say in what happens in future films. This was more than evident after "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," when Han Lue (Sung Kang) met his demise in the finale. According to the Wall Street Journal, fans loved the character so much that the following three "Fast" films were written chronologically before "Tokyo Drift" partly so Han could appear. The fandom relived Han's death at the end of "Fast & Furious 6," when it was revealed Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) was ultimately responsible for his passing.

It seemed like Han was gone for good until "F9" trailers revealed the fan-favorite was back. It looks like the ongoing #JusticeForHan trend worked after it took Twitter by storm after "Fast & Furious 6." Once Shaw became a staple in the "Fast" films — eventually becoming likable — many wanted justice for Han since his killer was now a protagonist. The love the "Fast" fandom has for the franchise knows no limits and is quite powerful. "Fast" star Ludacris knows this all too well, saying at a press event that if the fans yell loud enough for his own Tej and Roman spinoff with Tyrese Gibson, the studio will make it happen.

Letty and Brian were originally going to be romantically involved

Knowing what we know now and the relationships we've come to love in the "Fast" world, it's hard to imagine the idea of Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) getting together romantically. It turns out that was supposed to be the case with the original film, but Rodriguez was so opposed to the idea she fought to have it written out of the story. And she fought hard — so hard she almost quit the project.

When speaking with The Daily Beast back in 2017, the actress noted why she was so upset about the storyline. "Is it realistic for a Latin girl who's with the alpha-est of the alpha males to cheat on him with the cute boy? I had to put my foot down," she said. "I basically cried and said, I'm going to quit and, 'Don't sue me, please—I'm sorry, but I can't do this in front of millions of people.'" Her insistence worked, and her cheating storyline with Brian was removed from the script.

Ja Rule is the reason behind Ludacris's casting

Ja Rule might have had one scene in the original "The Fast and the Furious," but he was offered a more significant part in its sequel, "2 Fast 2 Furious." The director of that film — John Singleton — remembered the rapper ignoring his calls when he was trying to cast him in the follow-up. Singleton told Grantland in 2017 that Ja Rule had gotten "too big for himself" and turned down $500,000 for the role.

If Ja Rule hadn't turned down the million-dollar payday, we might never have gotten Ludacris in "2 Fast 2 Furious" and every "Fast" film beyond (with the exception of "Tokyo Drift"). Singleton said after he couldn't get in touch with Ja Rule, he approached Ludacris and said the Atlanta rapper was more than happy to get involved. "Luda was all humble, excited to meet me. I said, 'I'm doing this movie and I'm wondering if you want to be a part of it.' He goes, 'What? Yeah! Anything you do I want to be a part of.' That's how Ludacris got in '2 Fast 2 Furious,' and the rest is history," Singleton remembered. Ludacris's Tej is such an integral part of the "Fast" franchise and is perfectly executed by the actor. We can't thank Ja Rule enough for not returning those calls.

The Fast and the Furious almost had many different names

Most films and television series go through a variety of names before landing on their final title. "The Fast and the Furious" was no exception. In some behind-the-scenes footage (via Yahoo), most of the cast refers to the first film as "Redline," which was the title before the studio inevitably changed to the one we know today. "Redline" was nixed somewhere along the way before the film made it into theaters.

During an interview with EW, producer Neal Mortiz revealed that other titles included "Racer X" — drawn from the aforementioned Vibe article — and "Race Wars." After landing on "The Fast and the Furious," the studio needed to acquire the title rights for the film since a movie of the same name was released back in 1954. Starring John Ireland, Dorothy Malone, and Bruce Carlisle, the Roger Corman-directed flick also had some speedy chases as a man framed for murder (Ireland) takes a woman (Malone) hostage in her sports car and flees the police. Moritz revealed that they approached Corman and "we were able to trade the title for some stock footage."

Fast & Furious 6 was almost split into two movies

In the director's commentary of "Fast & Furious 6," via Insider, Justin Lin revealed that they considered splitting the film into two separate movies. The two films were hilariously going to be called "The Fast" and "The Furious." The tank sequence that takes place in "Fast & Furious 6" was allegedly going to serve as the end of "The Fast." Lin also noted that the massive airplane sequence in the "Fast & Furious" finale — made famous by its one-million-mile runway — was considered to occur in "Fast Five" at the end instead of the vault heist.

Everything was reworked and rewritten to make "Fast & Furious 6" into one cohesive film, but splitting one movie into two is a strategy the franchise is going with for its two final installments. According to Collider, Lin noted that "Fast & Furious 10" and "11" are one massive film split into two parts. "F9" kicks off the trilogy of films which will round out a story over 20 years in the making.

Furious 7 had an entirely different ending

Paul Walker's untimely passing in 2013 caused major changes for "Furious 7." The cast and crew were in the middle of production when the actor tragically passed away in a car accident, which forced the team to rewrite the movie's ending. In the now-famous conclusion, we saw Brian and Mia retire from the heist life to raise their son and soon-to-be daughter. Originally, the finale was going to be quite the opposite.

According to writer Chris Morgan, via Screen Rant, the original ending saw the team returning to the heist world. Morgan said the finale still revolved around Ramsey's God's Eye but would ultimately have seen the group start to prep for some sort of new mission. It would have been an open-ended finale to the viewers, but there would have been a solid plan for what would happen in the subsequent film. "Furious 7" was meant to kick off a trilogy of films within the franchise, but that idea was scrapped after Walker's death.

Fast & Furious films almost went straight to video

"The Fast and the Furious" did quite well for itself in the box office considering its modest budget. "2 Fast 2 Furious" kicked things up a notch with a $76 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo, and did $236 million worldwide — making it less of a success than the original. After the third installment — "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" — underperformed at the box office with just a $157 million take on an $85 million budget (via The Numbers), drastic changes were going to be made.

According to Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, former co-president of production for Universal, the failure of "Tokyo Drift" made the studio question the franchise's future. He 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." The only thing that saved the "Fast" franchise from the straight to video life was Vin Diesel. Kirschenbaum said fans were so happy to see Diesel's cameo in "Tokyo Drift" that they knew he needed to be in any sequel in order for them to be successful again.

Vin Diesel thinks Paul Walker sent him John Cena

When the idea was brought in to have Dom have an estranged brother, not just anyone could be cast in the role. Jakob (John Cena) needed to have something special, and casting him would not be an easy task. Fortunately, Vin Diesel didn't have to worry about who would play his brother, as he remembers feeling Paul Walker sent him Cena from above. 

According to Diesel at an "F9" press event, he first met Cena when the latter came to his "Dom Shrine" — where he preps and meditates before filming a "Fast" film. The actor remembered feeling something special when Cena came in and said Pablo, a.k.a. Paul Walker, brought the two of them together. "My gut and my heart feels like this was meant to be," Diesel said. Cena responded, "I think that's the most flattering thing that someone in the Fast Family could possibly say."

There's several Fast and Furious spinoffs and a prequel

Casual moviegoers are no doubt familiar with "The Fast and the Furious" franchise, but only superfans know about its many spinoffs. "Hobbs and Shaw" was a massive success in 2019, but the Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson-led film was hardly the first spinoff in the franchise. In 2009, Vin Diesel directed and starred in "Los Bandoleros," which was set between "The Fast and the Furious" and "Fast & Furious." The short film also starred Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang, Tego Calderon, and Don Omar. In the relatively unknown flick, Dom and his crew concoct a plan to hijack a gasoline truck to help those suffering in the Dominican Republic.

In 2019, an animated series based on the franchise launched on Netflix. Produced by Diesel, "Fast and Furious: Spy Racers" has run for four successful seasons at eight episodes apiece. Tyler Posey voices the lead character, Tony Toretto, a cousin of Dom, Mia, and Jakob. In addition to the three spinoffs, one prequel was released back in 2003 alongside "2 Fast 2 Furious." Titled "The Turbo Charged Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious," the film only ran for six minutes and was featured in a few theaters just before the full-length movie began rolling. The prequel starred Paul Walker and detailed what happened to Brian before landing in Miami and meeting Roman (Tyrese Gibson).