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The Entire Dwayne Johnson And Vin Diesel Feud Timeline Explained

Brotherhood. It's a word loaded with complex emotions and meanings, and it's a thematic cornerstone of the "Fast and Furious" films. By this point, everyone knows that Universal's nigh-absurdist action blockbuster franchise is at least ostensibly about family. And expensive cars. And big, burly boys beating each other up in explosively choreographed fight scenes. Most fans also know that the stars behind two of those burly boys –- Vin Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson –- have been beefing at each other through Instagram and various interviews for years, creating a storyline that's almost as entertaining as the "Fast and Furious" movies themselves.

Stardom, like brotherhood, is complicated. As two massive actors who have played chosen brothers on screen for years, Diesel and The Rock were perhaps always bound for some personal and professional clashes. There's only so much space in Hollywood for hulking bald men, after all, and even less within a single series like "Fast and Furious." Still, despite its undeniable entertainment value, the feud between the two has been unfortunate to watch, especially for fans of the franchise who'd like to see Dominic Toretto and Luke Hobbs reunited on screen once more.

Is there any chance of that happening? And how did this all start? Read on for a complete timeline of the feud between Diesel and Johnson — and what it could mean for the future of "Fast and Furious."

A golden age for the Fast and Furious franchise

The year is 2011. A new show called "Game of Thrones" is airing on HBO. Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" is on top of the charts. And a little-known street racing franchise called "Fast and Furious" is coming off its most recent successful installment, the 2009 film "Fast & Furious." But that's nothing compared to the fifth film that's about to premiere — aptly titled "Fast Five" -– which blows the box office numbers for all of its predecessors out of the water and helps propel the series to become one of the most successful franchises in history. There are many reasons for the film's stunning success, but not least among them is the addition of former WWE superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to the cast.

"Fast Five" kicks off a golden age for the franchise, feeding into the successes of "Fast & Furious 6" and "Furious 7." All three films feature The Rock's Luke Hobbs character prominently, and his onscreen dynamic with Diesel, Paul Walker, and the rest of the cast is electric. Tragedy struck the series in the form of Walker's death in 2013, but his friends and costars rallied behind his legacy and pushed forward. The future of the franchise still looked a bit uncertain, but an eighth core film, "The Fate of the Furious," was announced and entered production.

The Rock's first public complaints

On August 8, 2016, one week before production wrapped for "The Fate of the Furious," Johnson took to Instagram and made a post that he then quickly deleted. In it, he praised many members of the film's cast and crew while also calling out a few unnamed people with particularly colorful language. After praising all the women he starred with, Johnson turned his attention to his male costars, saying that "Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't. The ones that don't are too chicken s**t to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses." He added that "When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I'm not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling — you're right."

A TMZ report published shortly after the post was made claimed that the man Johnson was targeting with his pro wrestling style insult was none other than Diesel himself and that the two actors had major tension on set throughout the production process. On August 10, Johnson made another Instagram post that seemingly swept his previous frustrations under the rug. In it, he thanked the whole cast and crew for their hard work and said that "like with any team — that's a family — there's gonna be conflict. Family is gonna have differences of opinion and fundamental core beliefs ... I was raised on healthy conflict and welcome it. And like any family, we get better from it." Things, at least for the moment, seemed to have calmed back down.

The pettiness continues

Despite Johnson's apparent attempt to squash the beef, the story he'd made public refused to die down. Diesel shared a vague response to Instagram on August 10, promising the public that he would "tell you everything soon." Costar Michelle Rodriguez then confirmed in an interview with People that there had been tension between the two, but that she believed they cared about each other and would work it out.

On August 19, Johnson made another Instagram post after filming had officially wrapped, in which he thanked many of his costars in the film by name, notably excluding Diesel. Though the insult was by omission, it seemed clear that whatever had gone on between the two actors was still unresolved, even if they'd put their differences aside for the sake of the film. Speculation continued to circulate, but there wasn't any new fuel to pour on the fire for a couple of months.

All for show?

In a November 19, 2016 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Johnson discussed his initial post and his dynamic with Diesel. "I've been in the game a long time," he said when asked about the comments he'd made. "Would Universal [Pictures] have preferred that didn't happen? Sure, we talked about it. The irony is after that and as they do their tracking and all their analysis, the interest shot through the roof to a whole other level."

Johnson's implication seemed to be that, whether or not it was the original motivation for the post, the publicity generated by his online feuding only did good things for "The Fate of the Furious." To be fair, The Rock is a showman, and he came up through a WWE organization where beefing was (and still is) a huge part of publicity. The actual tension between the two stars surely still existed, but it seemed as though Johnson was no longer interested in fanning the flames.

Pulling the little brother card

On April 7, 2017 -– just days before "The Fate of the Furious" was released globally -– Diesel resurrected the previous year's feud in an interview with USA Today. His words sounded kind-hearted at first glance, but they had a definitively backhanded quality to them. "I don't think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way," he said. "I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he's Uncle Dwayne." That's all pretty innocuous, but Diesel quickly made it clear who he saw as the true alpha in their relationship.

"I protect the franchise. I protect everybody including Dwayne. I protected Dwayne more than he'll ever know," Diesel said. And then, he played the little brother card. "Dwayne has only got one Vin in his life. Dwayne Johnson only has one big brother in this film world and that's me." Referring to one of Hollywood's biggest (in multiple senses of the word) stars as a little brother is, in a word, harsh. Though Diesel claimed camaraderie with Johnson throughout the interview, it seemed clear what message he was sending –- there's only one king of "Fast and Furious."

Apparent reconciliation

Finally, after months of this back and forth jabbing, "The Fate of the Furious" premiered. Johnson and Diesel both appeared on the April 8, 2017 red carpet in New York City, and they addressed their beef in separate interviews with ET. Johnson said the disagreement had simply been due to them having "different fundamental philosophies on how you do things." Diesel, in turn, re-emphasized his previous "Uncle Dwayne" remark.

In a different universe, that might have been the end of it –- two stars of mammoth proportions and striking physical similarity admitting their inherent differences, celebrating what they still managed to make together, and quietly going their separate ways. But just like how the "Fast and Furious" franchise refuses to stop pumping out bombastic films, the feud between Diesel and The Rock just wouldn't go away. It wasn't long before the battle heated up again, this time with a third voice entering into the arena.

Tyrese enters the fray

On October 4, 2017, "Fast and Furious" costar Tyrese Gibson stepped into Diesel and Johnson's feud after the announcement that the release date for "F9: The Fast Saga" had been significantly delayed. Many presumed the delay was mostly due to the impending spinoff film "Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw," starring Johnson and Jason Statham. Gibson appeared to believe the same thing, and he didn't hold back in bashing The Rock on Instagram for "making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU."

Tyrese ended his extended caption by saying that he was "just a passionate film critic," going hard at Johnson by criticizing his turn in 2017's "Baywatch." After so many months of Diesel and The Rock subtly going at each other one-on-one, Tyrese's post stirred things up majorly in the public eye. Not only was he showing clear support for Diesel over Johnson, but he was also much more overt in his dislike for the former wrestler and the energy he brought to the franchise. However, rather than pile on Johnson, Diesel jumped in with what appeared to be an attempt to squash the beef before it heated up once again.

An attempt to squash the beef

Two days after Tyrese made his post, Diesel took to Instagram with an even longer statement. "I know there has been a lot of speculation as to why the Fast 9 release date was pushed," he wrote after a lengthy and fond remembrance of casting The Rock as Hobbs. "However, like any vehicle that has run around the globe 8 times, the franchise is in need of maintenance." As a lead producer on the franchise, it makes sense that Diesel would want "Hobbs & Shaw" to find success, and his post seemed to show full support for Johnson's spinoff endeavor.

The tone of Diesel's post fell squarely in line with his past commentary on the feud –- generally supportive and diplomatic, but quietly reasserting that he, not Johnson, was the one who started the series and the one who decided The Rock should be cast. For a while, things seemed to be at peace once again.

Division on set

In a cover story interview with Rolling Stone in April of 2018, Johnson was once again asked about the feud with Diesel. Specifically, he was asked whether or not the duo had actually shot any scenes together for "The Fate of the Furious," which was constructed in such a way that the two never quite shared the screen. Johnson confirmed that he had not filmed any scenes directly with Diesel, but he left his reply simple and to the point, reiterating his past sentiments about them simply having different philosophies on things.

Years later, in an October 2021 interview with Vanity Fair, Johnson explained that not filming scenes with Diesel was one of his conditions for returning to the franchise. "I wanted to forgo drama," he said, elaborating that he "thought that that was the best thing to do. For everybody." That detail seems to confirm that the tension between the two must have preceded production on "The Fate of the Furious" by a significant amount of time.

Hobbs & Shaw releases

After the release of "Hobbs and Shaw," The Rock took to his Instagram page to share an especially sweaty celebration video. Shot in what appears to be his gym, Johnson thanked the cast, crew, and fans for making the spinoff film a success and declared how proud he was to be a part of the "Fast and Furious" franchise. Later in the video, he made a cryptic claim that "Of course, all roads lead to one thing," followed by an in-character delivery of the line "I'll be seeing you soon, Toretto" and a cheeky wink.

Johnson didn't appear at all in "F9: The Fast Saga," which he claimed was due to scheduling conflicts with "Hobbs & Shaw" (Statham also only appeared in a brief post-credits scene). However, any fans watching the actor's video would immediately read his shout-out to Diesel's character as confirmation that Hobbs would return in "Fast and Furious 10." There was no official announcement of any kind, but the implication seemed clear. Unfortunately, it turned out to be less than the truth.

Diesel stirs things back up

For nearly two years, the beef lay dormant, but it apparently never left for good. On June 22, 2021, Men's Health published a lengthy profile on Diesel where he once again discussed his relationship with The Rock. "It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character," he said. "My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be." If that sounds a bit condescending, it's because it is, but it's also a rather different version of the story than either star had told before. "I would do anything I'd have to do in order to get performances in anything I'm producing," he continued.

Diesel seemed to be implying that his rocky relationship with Johnson was partially meant to elicit a more compelling performance on screen. To be fair, Dom and Hobbs have a sort of frenemies dynamic for much of the franchise, and Hobbs is basically a villain for most of "Fast Five." Yet, Diesel being almost "Felliniesque," as he puts it, doesn't feel like a comprehensive explanation of everything that went on between them. Or, at the very least, that seems to be what Johnson thought afterward.

Johnson officially leaves the franchise

"I laughed and I laughed hard." 

That's what the Rock had to say about Diesel's "tough love" comments in a July 21, 2021 piece from The Hollywood Reporter. "I think everyone had a laugh at that. And I'll leave it at that." Sadly for fans, Johnson also revealed in that same interview that he has no plans of returning to the franchise for "Fast and Furious 10" or "Fast and Furious 11." "I wish them the best of luck on Fast 10 and Fast 11 and the rest of the Fast & Furious movies they do that will be without me," The Rock said.

After "F9: The Fast Saga" came and went without even a mention of Hobbs, many fans assumed that they'd seen the last of Johnson in the franchise. That being said, it was still unfortunate to hear the man who'd once sounded excited to return say in no uncertain terms that his time with the series was finished. However, that might not actually be the end of Hobbs — if Diesel has anything to say about it.

Diesel asks Johnson to return

On November 7, 2021, Diesel took to Instagram once more to ask Johnson to return to "Fast and Furious." After all that had gone on between them, the post came as a shock to many, but Diesel was clear about his desire to bring Hobbs back into the fold. "My little brother Dwayne... the time has come," Diesel wrote. "The world awaits the finale of Fast 10." After some elegant words about the franchise's legacy and a promise he made to Paul Walker, Diesel ends with a clear call to action: "Hobbs can't be played by no other. I hope that you rise to the occasion and fulfill your destiny."

Obviously, a Hobbs return in "Fast and Furious 10" would be great for the overarching story of the franchise. The character has played a huge role in some of the series' most successful films, and he's a clear fan favorite. Plus, now that John Cena has joined the series as Dom Toretto's estranged brother Jakob, there's a chance for the two former WWE superstars to meet in one of history's biggest action franchises. That's an exciting proposition, but whether or not it will happen is another question entirely.

Johnson's business partner responds

As of yet, Johnson himself hasn't responded to Diesel's request for him to return. However, his longtime business partner Hiram Garcia has spoken publicly (if cryptically) about the matter. In an interview with Screen Rant published on November 14, 2021, Garcia said he hadn't had much chance to speak with The Rock about the idea. "Look, DJ's the biggest movie star in the world," Garcia said after acknowledging that anything can happen in the world of Hollywood. "No one's below trying all attempts and approaches to try and get him on board. So I appreciate it. You got to take your shot. You never know."

Though a bit backhanded and condescending in tone, Garcia isn't wrong at all in his assessment of the situation. "Fast and Furious" was certainly a huge launching platform for Johnson's international stardom, but since then he's arguably become a bigger name than anyone currently affiliated with the franchise. Per Forbes, The Rock was the highest-paid actor in the world in both 2019 and 2020. Getting him back on board with Diesel and the rest of the "Fast and Furious" crew could be a complicated process, and that's assuming he even wants to come back at all. Still, there's hope that fans could see Dom and Hobbs side by side once again sometime down the line.

After all, "Fast and Furious" is still a story about family.