We are in 2006 when it arrives in cinemas The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Third chapter of the saga, is directed by Justin Lin and, initially, is considered in reality a spin-off of the main saga. For F&F purists, it is also the latest film to maintain the original identity of the story, linked to clandestine racing and modified cars. As the title suggests, we are in Japan and we leave the protagonists known in the first chapters to focus on the story of Sean Boswell. In reality, the events of this third film will connect to the main timeline in the following years; in fact, even if we are in 2006, the events of Tokyo Drift will be inserted between those of chapter 6 and 7 of the saga. But there is more that should be highlighted about The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift: all the background behind the cameo by Vin Diesel in the role of Dominic Toretto.
Vin Diesel’s initial decision and the conditions imposed
Vin Diesel would not have wanted to make a cameo in Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, but the star changed her mind after striking a deal with Universal Pictures. Diesel has been part of the Fast & Furious franchise since its inception, playing the role of Dominic Toretto from the first chapter of 2001. To date, we can say that he has become the face of Fast & Furious, appearing in eight of the ten films in the franchise. So it’s easy to think about now Fast & Furious like the Diesel franchise, yet things were very different in the beginning.
At first we might have considered Vin Diesel a co-star in The Fast and the Furious, facing the lead role of Brian O’Conner, played by Paul Walker. The absence of Vin Diesel could have stretched from two to three chapters, since Tokyo Drift was not in his plans at the beginning. The story of Toretto in the saga could therefore have ended after a few chapters were it not for an agreement reached by the actor with Universal. Vin Diesel’s proposal? He would have agreed to do a cameo in Tokyo Drift only if the production company had granted him i rights to another franchise.
Riddick’s rights in exchange for the cameo
When Universal and the Vin Diesel were negotiating his return for Tokyo Drift and the fourth installment of the franchise, the star proposed to bypass his usual acting pay for the cameo in the spin-off. In exchange for his time, however, Diesel submitted to Universal the request for the film rights for Riddick. By the time, the actor had already played the character in two of Riddick’s films and wanted to make sure he was managing the future of the franchise. Universal agreed to this request and gave the Diesel production company, One Race, the rights to Riddick in exchange for his cameo in Tokyo Drift.
The strange agreement between Vin Diesel and Universal
After completing the deal, VinDiesel and One Race pushed forward to make a third film in the Riddick franchise. The film was released in 2013, nine years after the actor secured the rights. Diesel still has plans to continue the franchise. In 2014 he announced the start of work for Riddick 4: Furya and, more recently, the conclusion of the script. Diesel even joked about a possible Riddick TV series.
The winning choice to accept the conditions of Vin Diesel
Swapping the rights of one franchise for a cameo in another franchise isn’t the kind of deal you usually do in Hollywood, but in this case it turned out to be a winning scenario. There Universal managed to secure a place for Vin Diesel in the Fast & Furious franchise, while stimulating the popularity of the actor and the various films. A success that inevitably also spilled over to Riddick. Meanwhile, pending the release of Riddick 4, Universal continued to benefit from Diesel’s presence in the Fast & Furious franchise.
The absence of the late Paul Walker in Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
If Vin Diesel appears in a cameo, the character of Paul Walker it was not included in Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift because it was considered too old. This is in fact the only film in the saga in which he does not appear, except of course those following his tragic death in a car accident on November 30, 2013. The actor revealed in the past that his absence stemmed from the new direction in which the studio wanted to bring the Fast & Furious franchise.
Finally, we remind you that the release of F9 in Italy is scheduled for 18 August.