Are things not going so well for the Fast Family? Less than a week after we heard that Vin Diesel put up a fight when he realized that Jordana Brewster’s Mia Toretto was not originally part of Fast X, that film’s director—Justin Lin, the guy who revitalized the franchise by turning them into over-the-top action/spy movies—has announced that he’s stepping down.
Lin will stay on board as a producer, but it’s hard not to see this as a worrying development for Fast And Furious fans. Lin previously directed Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast And Furious 6, and then Fast 9, so him choosing to leave the project after production had already begun implies that there’s some sort of issue, even if it’s just a scheduling or personal thing he has to deal with, because—at the very least—it means Universal will have to find someone to replace him.
This news comes from Deadline, which got this statement from Lin about his departure:
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. 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.
Deadline says that Universal has already begun reaching out to potential replacements, and “some second unit footage” will be filmed while the studio goes through that process. Fast X is still expected to be ready for its May 19, 2023 release, but we’ll see.