'Fast & Furious' Director Justin Lin Suddenly Exits 'Fast X'

Fast & Furious director Justin Lin will no longer direct the franchise's next installment, Fast X. Just days after filming on the upcoming film began last week, Lin on Tuesday announced his decision to "step back as director." Lin, who co-wrote the film with Dan Mazeau and directed five other films in the franchise, said he will remain involved with the project as a producer.

In an announcement shared on the official Fast & Furious Instagram account, Lin announced that "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." The director went on to reflect on his time within the franchise, writing, "Over 10 years and five films, we have been able to shoot the best actors, the best stunts, and the best damn car chases." He continued, "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."

While Lin did not provide a reason for his decision, sources told Deadline that "the parting was amicable between both parties" and Lin "ultimately decided to step away from the franchise due to creative differences." Lin's departure as director comes a week after filming on the film began. Deadline's sources said "production will take a brief pause" amid Lin's exit as executives and producers look to find Lin's replacement. Conversations with potential candidates are said to be underway, and a decision is expected "soon."

Prior to his Fast X exit, Lin directed five previous movies in the franchise. He first joined the franchise in its third installment, 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. He later went on to direct Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011) and Fast & Furious 6 (2013). After not directing the 7th and 8th installments, Lin returned for last year's F9, which earned more than $720 million worldwide. 

Fast X stars Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang and Charlize Theron, all of whom are reprising their characters. New cast members include Michael Rooker, Jason Momoa, Daniela Melchior and Brie Larson. The movie is currently scheduled for a May 19, 2023 release, and sources said they do not expect Lin's exit as director to impact that date.