Like any family, the cast of the Fast & Furious franchise has its drama. The off-screen feud between stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has become almost as big a sensation as the movies themselves at this point, and it has pushed Johnson out of the franchise. If you're looking for a breakdown of this controversy, we have every quote all in one place.
Diesel helped kick off the street-racing saga with The Fast and The Furious in 2001, and Johnson joined the franchise later when he was already a massive star. Their characters found a grudging respect for each other, as is customary in this "found family" drama, but off-screen things were not so easy. Fans could tell that this feud was real because they only began to hear about it later on, and then only in reluctant whispers from the parties involved. By now, however, the lid has been blown off this secret.
Johnson and Diesel have been at odds since at least 2016, as far as fans know, though their statements imply that there may have been friction as soon as Johnson joined the Fast & Furious franchise. He first joined the series in Fast Five which premiered in 2011 after filming in various locations throughout the summer of 2010. This was the second time Diesel was a producer on the series, giving him some modicum of creative control behind the camera as well.
Tensions have flared ever since, though fans are often at a loss as to what is for show, what is exaggerated for parody and what is legitimate. Today, we know that Johnson did not appear in F9: The Fast Saga and does not seem to be appearing in Fast 10 either. Beyond that, fans will just have to read the quotes below for themselves.
It's reassuring to know that when The Rock subtweets his go-to is still "Candy asses" pic.twitter.com/lfND7W4EcD— Minovsky (@MinovskyArticle) August 9, 2016
Johnson took the first shot in this feud in August of 2016, with an Instagram post that has since been deleted. This was between the release of Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious, and although Johnson did not name any names, it has been all but confirmed that he was complaining about Diesel. Here's the now-deleted caption:
"Some [male costars] conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't," Johnson wrote. "The ones that don't are too chicken s- to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses. 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."
Johnson made a follow-up post later which read: "Family is gonna have differences of opinion and fundamental core beliefs. To me, conflict can be a good thing, when it's followed by great resolution. I was raised on healthy conflict and welcome it. And like any family, we get better from it."prevnext
'What Men Are Like'
Johnson's post blew the lid off a story that all of his co-stars had to answer questions about. Diesel responded in a video on Instagram later that month where he said: "Honestly, give me a second and I will tell you everything. Everything." However, the notoriously private actor has yet to follow through on this promise.
The following month, star Michelle Rodriguez weighed in on the debacle, implying that it was nothing serious and just a case of two performers with big personalities blowing off steam. She told Us Weekly that she still believed Diesel and Johnson were friends.
"Any human being who knows what men are like knows to stay out [of those] situations and let them figure it out," she said at the time. "They're 'bros,' man. They're friends, and ultimately even friends reach a point where they have to set aside their differences to make a movie for multicultural people around the world, and that is the bigger scheme of things."prevnext
Although it seemed to have boiled over until it couldn't be contained, fans gradually came to suspect that Diesel and Johnson's feud was an intentional publicity stunt. Johnson himself implied that it was in November of 2016 during an interview with The Los Angeles Times.
"I've been in the game a long time," he said. "Would Universal 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."
That explanation left room for the conflict to be authentic, but for its perpetuation to be a marketing ploy as well. Most fans seemed to accept that the feud had started out authentic, but was not being managed more carefully, with no impassioned outbursts.prevnext
Diesel made his first attempt to steer this narrative in the spring of 2017 during an interview with USA Today. While promoting the premiere of Fate of the Furious, he said: "I don't think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way. 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."
"I protect the franchise," Diesel continued. "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. Dwayne has only got one Vin in his life. Dwayne Johnson only has one big brother in this film world and that's me."
In the same interview, Diesel implied that he was a trailblazer for Johnson, paving the way for his career. He said: "I'm always rooting for Dwayne. I'm the first multicultural megastar in Hollywood. They didn't exist. To see another multicultural star come up is something I am very proud of.prevnext
The next input from another cast member seemed to come from star Tyrese Gibson, who made an allusion to the feud in October of 2017, when production on F9 was delayed for the first time. He wrote on Instagram: "Congratulations to [Johson] and your brother-in-law a.k.a. 7 Bucks producing partner [Hiram Garcia] 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 - [good night] folks see you in 2020 April. [Fast Family,] right? Nah... It's about #TeamDewayne [sic], [3 years,] will it be worth the wait? [No Shaw] just Hobbs will this be another Baywatch?"prevnext
Diesel responded to Gibson in his own Instagram post at the time, musing on his relationship with Diesel. It began: "Brotherhood... And all its complexities."
"This scene was filmed in Puerto Rico, I can remember it like it was yesterday. Such a beautiful island, the people were so warm and welcoming. I turned 43 that summer... and my son Vincent was born," he continued. "A woman named Jan Kelly responded to a question I had asked on Facebook, 'who they would like to see me work with?' She said would love to see me work with Dwayne... I listened to her request and he became Hobbs."
"I know there has been a lot of speculation as to why the Fast 9 release date was pushed... but it would be unfair to say it is anyone's fault," Diesel wrote. "As we plot the course to expand the Fast & Furious universe, one must be mindful to take stock of the roads we took to get here. The pillars of authenticity, family and most importantly, our loyal fans' perspective has been instrumental in procuring success. However, like any vehicle that has run around the globe 8 times, the franchise is in need of maintenance. My good friend and the godfather of Universal, Ron Meyer has granted me the time to do just that. We have some very exciting news to share soon... stay tuned."prevnext
After Fate of the Furious, Johnson left the cast of F9 to make his Fast & Furious spinoff with Jason Statham titled Hobbs & Shaw. At the time, Diesel spoke to Entertainment Tonight, implying that he, too had considered leaving the famiglia but had taken Johnson's advice to stay.
"We still love each other, that's my boy," he told reporters. "When I was making that difficult decision, should there be an 8 or not, I called [Johnson] and he said, 'Brother, I will be there shoulder to shoulder with you to make sure it's the best movie in history.' And he delivered."prevnext
In a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, Johnson was asked about the curious fact that he and Diesel were not in any scenes together in Fate of the Furious. He answered simply: "That is correct. We were not in any scenes together." He was amicable with Statham in promoting Hobbs & Shaw, which performed as well as some of the main franchise titles at the box office.
None of the other F9 cast members were in Hobbs & Shaw, but Johnson did thank Diesel in an Instagram video at the time. He said: "Lastly, but not least, want to thank brother Vin for your support of Hobbs & Shaw. I'll be seeing you soon, Toretto." Statham then appeared in a post-credits scene in F9, but Johnson was not in the movie at all.prevnext
Like much of the movie industry, the Diesel-Johnson feud laid dormant through much of 2020, but it was back with a vengeance in June of 2021, when Diesel spoke to Men's Health. He gave one of the most sensationalized quotes of the whole beef when he said that the issues between him and Johnson were those of a producer and an actor, not of two actors together.
"My approach at the time [of filming Fast Five] was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be," he said. "As a producer to say, 'OK, we're going to take Dwayne Johnson, who's associated with wrestling, and we're going to force this cinematic world, audience members, to regard his character as someone that they don't know' - Hobbs hits you like a ton of bricks."
"That's something that I'm proud of, that aesthetic. took a lot of work," he went on. "We had to get there and sometimes, at that time, I could give a lot of tough love. Not Fellini-esque, but I would do anything I'd have to do in order to get performances in anything I'm producing."prevnext
This summer, Johnson spoke to the press a lot in junkets and interviews promoting other movies, including Disney's Jungle Cruise, Free Guy, Red Notice and his TV show Young Rock. In one interview with Vanity Fair, a reporter read some of Diesel's most infamous quotes to him, and he offered rapid-fire reactions to them.
In response to the comment that they butted heads because they are both "alpha males," Johnson said: "Sounds like him to say that, sure." In response to the "multicultural megastar" comment, he said: "He talks like that." In response to the "big brother in the film world" comment, he said: "I have one big brother and it's my half brother. And that's it."
Finally, Johnson got more general responding to Diesel's comments in Men's Health. He said: "You know, I'll tell you this. One part of me feels like there's no way I would dignify any of that bulls- with an answer. But here's the truth. I've been around the block a lot of times. Unlike him, I did not come from the world of theater. And, you know, I came up differently and was raised differently. And I came from a completely different culture and environment. And I go into every project giving it my all. And if I feel that there's some things that need to be squared away and handled and taken care of, then I do it. And it's just that simple. So when I read that, just like everybody else, I laughed. I laughed hard. We all laughed. And somewhere I'm sure Fellini is laughing too."prevnext
It was after that that Johnson announced he would not be returning to the Fast & Furious franchise. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said: "I've wished them well. I wish them well on Fast 9, and I wish them the best of luck on Fast 10 and Fast 11 and the rest of the Fast & Furious movies they do without me."
Last month, Johnson elaborated in an interview with Vanity Fair, saying that he wasn't having his "best day" when he made the Instagram post that started the whole feud. "I shouldn't have shared that," he admitted.
"Because at the end of the day, that goes against my DNA. I don't share things like that. And I take care of that kind of bulls- away from the public. They don't need to know that. That's why I say it wasn't my best day... I mean what I say when I say it, but to express it publicly was not the right thing to do."prevnext
When Johnson left the franchise, fans were left to assume that the feud was authentic at least on some level. However, last week Johnson appeared on SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Show where he said that "the jokes never end," regardless of where he and Diesel truly stand or where they are in their careers.
"People were asking me about that, and they find a way. These Vin Diesel jokes - which play great, by the way, to the audience, which is always a good thing because it's all about them - people think these jokes come from me and they actually don't," he said. "You'd be surprised with how many people come to me with, 'I've got a great one. I've got another great Vin Diesel joke.' I'm sure you do. [They're] always funny."prevnext
Still, Fast & Furious star Ludacris gave his two cents on the feud back in October, implying that it was still more than just a joke to the two actors. He treaded carefully, hinting that there might be real pride at stake.
"All I can say is that, from what I understand, I know those are two grown men," he told Us Weekly. "I believe The Rock has spoken on that, and I don't want to speak for either one of them. So, I would leave it to whatever their words are and keep it that way, because it's a delicate situation."prevnext
Last week, Johnson's new movie Red Notice premiered on Netflix, complete with a joke about Diesel from co-star Ryan Reynolds. Johnson told Entertainment Tonight that Reynolds had improvised the joke, but seemed to find it funny himself.
"You know, Ryan loves to improv, and I love that," he said. "I've known Ryan for a long time, 20 years. Man, we go way back. I've known Ryan longer than anyone in Hollywood, and so that's how close we are and the Vin joke, audiences love it, very, very funny. But that was Ryan. He came up with that."
"He came up with a few of them, and I thought that was the one that could be funny," Johnson added. "Look, in a movie like this, you've got to have a sense of humor."prevnext
Although it seemed to be winding down, the most surprising development in the saga came on Sunday, Nov. 7 when Diesel made an Instagram post addressed directly to Johnson, essentially pleading with him to appear in the new movie. Filming has not begun on Fast 10 yet, which is currently slated to premiere in February of 2023.
"My little brother Dwayne... the time has come," Diesel wrote. "The world awaits the finale of Fast 10. As you know, my children refer to you as Uncle Dwayne in my house. There is not a holiday that goes by that they and you don't send well wishes... but the time has come. Legacy awaits."
"I told you years ago that I was going to fulfill my promise to Pablo," he went on. "I swore that we would reach and manifest the best Fast in the finale that is 10! I say this out of love... but you must show up, do not leave the franchise idle you have a very important role to play. Hobbs can't be played by no other. I hope that you rise to the occasion and fulfill your destiny."
Fans were staggered by the post, speculating wildly that it was all an act, or that Johnson was in on it. Johnson set them straight a few weeks later.prevnext
Johnson did not respond to Diesel on social media, but he did address this post in an interview with CNN in December. He said: "I was very surprised by Vin's recent post. This past June, when Vin and I actually connected not over social media, I told him directly – and privately – that I would not be returning to the franchise. I was firm yet cordial with my words and said that I would always be supportive of the cast and always root for the franchise to be successful, but that there was no chance I would return. I privately spoke with my partners at Universal as well, all of whom were very supportive as they understand the problem."
"Vin's recent public post was an example of his manipulation," Johnson continued. "I didn't like that he brought up his children in the post, as well as Paul Walker's death. Leave them out of it. We had spoken months ago about this and came to a clear understanding."0comments
"My goal all along was to end my amazing journey with this incredible Fast & Furious franchise with gratitude and grace. It's unfortunate that this public dialogue has muddied the waters. Regardless, I'm confident in the Fast universe and its ability to consistently deliver for the audience, and I truly wish my former co-stars and crew members the best of luck and success in the next chapter," Johnson concluded.
Fast 10 has not started filming yet, and is not slated for release until 2023. That leaves plenty of time for further developments in this fan-favorite side-plot of the saga.prev