Lord in heaven help me, I cannot get enough of the Fast & Furious drama. I know it’s ugly to admit. And hypocritical, too, as I have a long and storied history of scoffing dismissively at headlines about the Kardashian family and their assorted doings. But I can’t help it. It’s like oxygen to me. Or NOS, if we want to keep our metaphors on-brand, which we do and always should. And it keeps getting messier. I’ve stopped typing this paragraph two separate times to see if anyone else has called out a cast member on Instagram, by name or implication. I’ll probably stop again after this sentence. It’s not a sustainable situation.
But let’s back up. There’s history here. Quite a bit of it, dating back over a year. We should start with that.
August 8, 2016 — The Rock fires a shot
With filming about to wrap on the franchise’s eighth film, The Fate of the Furious, which we later discover features The Rock punching a torpedo, The Rock logs into his Instagram and punches a metaphorical torpedo. After a sentence or two about how great the crew and studio were, he switches gears and says this:
“My female co-stars are always amazing and I love ’em. My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t. The ones that don’t are too chicken sh-t to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses.”
Many assume this is a promotional stunt, with The Rock taking a page out of his old WWE playbook to get people hyped up. But reports soon follow that the post was about his co-star, Vin Diesel, and that the two of them had been butting heads on set like two rams attempting to establish dominance, which is a lot of fun to picture, like, for real.
August 11, 2016 — Tyrese takes a side
Three days after The Rock’s post, with drama percolating and the world — mostly me — fascinated by the developing feud, Tyrese goes on Instagram and takes a side in an ellipses-filled post.
Our brotherhood and every moment has inspired me to be a better man and father…. So much strength to pull from….. I’m so f-cking proud to call you my family and my brother…. even now I’m learning so much about sitting still and being centered in the mist of all of this unexpected energy……. I’ve always said that if ONLY people knew how hard you work to protect this franchise and characters, minds would be blown
The post doesn’t mention anyone by name, but its message is clear. Tyrese is Team Vin.
August 19, 2016 — A curious omission
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Finished strong and on to the next. That's an officially wrap on #FastAndFurious8. Thank you to our director @fgarygray for the vision and execution. Thank you UNIVERSAL for being tremendous partners as always, thank you to all my fellow co-stars for the daily effort and grind. Scott Eastwood you handsome sumbitch! Natalie Emmanuel I have a cold Budweiser ready for you and Tyrese Gibson you still have the biggest smile and forehead I've ever seen.😂 And a huge THANK YOU to our hard working production crew – the backbone of our business. Your kind words meant a lot to me last night – thank you! In the end, we all rallied, as great teams do, kicked ass and will deliver an amazing movie to the world. Proud of our entire FAST FAMILY. And now in two weeks I'll reunite with ol' friends Kevin Hart & Jack Black and we have the honor to introduce a whole new generation to the amazing world of #JUMANJI. *(for the record we are NOT making a reboot, but rather a continuation of the awesome JUMANJI story). It's also crazy to me how much me, Kev and Jack look like triplets when we're together. 👶🏽👶🏻👶🏿. Man this is gonna be FUN. #WheelsUp #ThatsAWrap #FromFastAndFurious #StraightIntoJumanji #BigBrownBaldTattooedMan #DarkChocolateComedicRockStar #BrillaintCrazyCurvyCaucasion #TheseHashtagsAreRidiculous #INeedSleepAndCARBS #ButIWillSettleForTequila
Damage control is underway. While no one has officially backtracked, both sides have attempted to cool things off a bit. The Rock says conflict can be a good thing. There were reports of a secret meeting between him and Vin Diesel. Things appeared to be calming down. But then The Rock posted the above message on Instagram, in which he shouted out pretty much everyone involved in the film except Vin Diesel. Was this an innocent omission? Or was it a subliminal shot? Many members of the media — still just me — stay awake at night wondering what it all means, and if their — my — dads will ever stop fighting.
April 7, 2017 — “Uncle Dwayne”
After a few months of relative silence, save a quote here and there acknowledging the tension but not stirring up anything new, the press tour for the film kicks into high gear. Vin Diesel speaks to USA Today about it all in an attempt to clear the air. Kind of.
“I don’t think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way,” says Diesel, who steered clear of the specifics of their disagreement. “I think some things may be blown out of proportion. I don’t think that was his intention. I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne.”
Which was nice. But then he said this.
“I protect the franchise. I protect everybody including Dwayne. I protected Dwayne more than he’ll ever know. And it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to know. But he appreciates it. He knows it,” says Diesel. “Dwayne has only got one Vin in his life. Dwayne Johnson only has one big brother in this film world and that’s me.”
Yup, Vin Diesel “little brothered” The Rock. I like to picture The Rock reading that quote while having breakfast and getting so angry that he crushes his coffee cup in his hand. The dust sprinkles all over his eggs. The Rock’s breakfast is ruined.
April 14, 2017 — Fate of the Furious is released
Despite — or possibly because of — all the drama, the film is a success, pulling in over $500 million in its opening weekend and well over $1 billion in total. There is a scene in which unmanned cars cascade out of a parking garage onto the street, like a neon waterfall. A nuclear submarine explodes. Jason Statham’s character is a good guy now despite murdering Han in Tokyo and blowing up the Toretto house via mail bomb not all that long ago. It’s a whole thing.
April 21, 2017 — The Rock and Jason Statham get a spinoff
One of the biggest developments from the film, and it’s probably something we all should have figured out a long time ago, is that The Rock and Jason Statham prove to be a delightful on-screen duo. The studio plans a spinoff based on their characters. Many in the media — again, me — begin hyperventilating with excitement.
May 7, 2017 — The Rock tweets out an article I wrote about how much Elizabeth Warren loves Ballers
Has nothing to do with any of this, really. I just wanted to point it out.
September 13, 2017 — Tyrese is pissed
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Tyrese pleads with The Rock to put the spinoff aside and focus on the next Fast & Furious film, which was scheduled for an April 19, 2019 release. Sayeth Tyrese:
“If you move forward with that #Hobbs Movie you will have purposely ignored the heart to heart moment we had in my sprinter. I don’t wanna hear from you until you remember what we talked about. I’m on your timeline cause you’re not responding to my text messages – #FastFamily is just that a family… We don’t fly solo.”
I truly hope, just once in my life, I have an opportunity to use the phrase “You will have purposely ignored the heart to heart moment we had in my sprinter.” But more importantly, things are about to get very serious. Because…
October 4, 2017 — The release date for the ninth Fast & Furious movie is pushed back
Pushed back one full year, to be specific. It’s almost like the studio is trying to make room for another film. One Tyrese has apparently begged The Rock not to make. I wonder how this will go over…
October 5, 2017 — Tyrese is still pissed
In an Instagram post that opens with “#PSA,” Tyrese calls out The Rock by name and gets in a shot at the Baywatch movie.
Congratulations to @TheRock and your brother in law aka 7 bucks producing partner @hhgarcia41 for making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU – And like you, DJ even if they call I will not be deleting this post – Gn folks see you in 2020 April #FastFamily right? Nah….. it’s about #TeamDewayne #3yrs will it be worth the wait? #NoShaw just Hobbs will this be another #BayWatch? Guys guys just relax I’m just a passionate film critic
All I want is for Ryan Murphy to make a season of Feud about this. Like, all I want. More than a roof over my head. I will watch it in a tent if I have to.
October 5, 2017 — The date of the Rock/Statham spinoff is announced
It’s official. The Fast & Furious spinoff starring The Rock and Jason Statham gets a July 26, 2019 release date, plopping itself squarely inside the window created by pushing back the ninth film, tentatively titled Faith of the Furious. Two pieces of important news about this. Number one, rumors are swirling that the spinoff will be helmed by Shane Black, which is very exciting because Shane Black has a long history with excellent movies about cops and/or partners. Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys, etc.
And number two…
October 5, 2017 — Tyrese is really pissed
Once the news became official, Tyrese takes to Instagram again and says this:
Diversity, love, multi ethnic worldwide multi generational, United Nations, One Race, Fast Family…… Until Dewayne showed up I guess this whole time he had a problem cause he wasn’t the ONLY ONE on the movie poster……….. I guess dreams do come true congratulations to @hhgarcia41 and @therock you guys are just amazing you really broke up the #FastFamily I tried to warn you guys… You thought I was hating…… I was simply fighting to keep the family together what makes us great is when you see us all TOGETHER we don’t fly solo….. #MyLastPost today….. I got 3 years of venting on this clown – They offered but YOU didn’t have to agree with a solo #HobbsMovie #OriginalFastFamily we salute you and stand on your shoulders #VinDiesel #PaulWalker #RobCohen #RomanTej were offered a spin off we TURNED IT DOWN!!!
Tyrese called The Rock a clown. And he keeps spelling his name “Dewayne.” How can it possibly get more intense than this?
October 5, 2017 — Vin Diesel comes off the top rope
Hoo boy. A picture of him, Tyrese, and Paul Walker, with just the word “Brotherhood.” This is all so incredibly middle school and I love it so much I might spin right off the planet. Everyone is taking sides and going on social media to call each other out and sometimes they’re doing it in the most passive-aggressive way possible, which is hilarious because everyone involved has muscles bursting out of their skin-tight Under Armour t-shirts. Also, please do remember that this franchise started over 15 years ago with a movie about stolen DVD players and now everyone is feuding because the follow-up to a movie about a notorious anarchist cyberhacker stealing a nuclear submarine will be delayed a year.
The only way this could get better is if, say, Tyrese takes a screenshot of Vin Diesel’s post to show Ludacris “liked” it in solidarity and then posts it to his Instagram with a reference to President Obama.
October 5, 2017 — Tyrese takes a screenshot of Vin Diesel’s post to show Ludacris “liked” it in solidarity and then posts it to his Instagram with a reference to President Obama
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#Repost #SwipeLeft – @VinDiesel – Never confuse determination with desperation….. What's understood don't have to be explained…… 44 million just got the memo…. Although it appears to be…. I've never been in this alone…….. #PerceptionVsReality #FastFamily like I said we don't fly solo. President Obama's integrity teachings is of a man who makes everyone feel like they MATTER…..
Best movie franchise ever. No contest.