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Vin Diesel's Fast X Has Found Its New Director As Rumors Swirl Around Reasons For Justin Lin's Exit

Vin Diesel stoically driving a car in F9.
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

On April 26, fans of the Fast & Furious franchise were hit with surprising news: director Justin Lin had exited Fast X just a week after principal photography began. Naturally Universal Pictures couldn’t waste anytime finding someone to replace Lin on the next Fast & Furious movie (especially given how much money it might be costing the studio), and word’s come in that this individual has been found. This also happens as rumors swirl around Lin’s reasoning for leaving the next adventure starring Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and his family.

Let’s start off with the directorial update: Louis Leterrier has reportedly been lined up to fill Justin Lin’s shoes on Fast X. Leterrier is no stranger to action/blockbuster filming, having previously helmed Unleashed, Transporter 2 (starring Jason Statham, who plays Deckard Shaw in the Fast & Furious saga), The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans, as well as worked on the TV shows The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and Lupin. Variety shared that Leterrier “beat out numerous candidates for the job,” and schedules are being figured out so he can come aboard Fast X.

So assuming a deal is finalized, we can count on Louis Leterrier to take over the directorial reins on Fast X. It’s also a good bet he might do the same for Fast & Furious 11 given that that the two projects are shooting back-to-back, although I won’t rule out the possibility that Universal might look for another director to handle concluding the main Fast & Furious film series, especially if the back-to-back plan ends up being scrapped. Regardless, by joining Fast X, this means Leterrier will have two movies coming out in 2023, as he also helmed the live-action animated comedy Strays starring Will Ferrell, Jamie Fox, Will Forte, Randall Park and Isla Fisher.

As for why Justin Lin exited Fast X as its director (he’s still involved as a producer), this was initially attributed to “creative differences,” an all-too common reason used when creative minds depart from a project. However, according to a source who spoke with The New York Daily News, franchise star Vin Diesel is the reason for Lin’s departure, with this anonymous individual claiming that the Dominic Toretto actor “shows up late to set. He doesn’t know his lines. And he shows up out of shape.” The only way we’ll know for sure if this is true is if Lin someday explains his reasoning for deciding to step away from Fast X, but this wouldn’t be the first time there’s been some behind-the-scenes drama involving Diesel on the Fast & Furious franchise; just look at his feud with Dwayne Johnson.

Following Justin Lin’s Fast X exit, the movie’s main unit paused filming, while second unit continued filming in the United Kingdom. Once everything is properly arranged with Louis Leterrier, principal photography can get back on track. Had Lin remained on Fast X, this would have been his sixth time directing a Fast & Furious movie, having first worked on 2006’s Tokyo Drift and later helming 2009’s Fast & Furious, 2011’s Fast Five, 2013’s Fast & Furious 6 and last year’s F9. No plot details for Fast X have been revealed yet, but along with plenty of familiar Fast & Furious faces joining Vin Diesel on this next ride filled with crazy car stunts and explosions, Jason Momoa has been tapped to play a villain, and Daniela Melchior and Brie Larson have joined in undisclosed roles.

Fast X races into theaters on May 19, 2023. CinemaBlend will continue providing coverage on how its progressing, but in the meantime, check out the 2022 movie releases to plan your moviegoing experiences later in the year accordingly.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.