The Fast And Furious: Tokyo Drift Was Initially Written For Vin Diesel

Sean driving in Tokyo Drift

No one would have thought that the Fast and the Furious franchise would become the action juggernaut it has transformed into. But there is one question mark in the midst of those films, the threequel Tokyo Drift. With a different setting and set of characters, Tokyo Drift is the black sheep of the family, having nothing but a cameo featuring Vin Diesel. And despite its 2006 technology, it's apparently set between the sixth and seventh films. But now it appears that Diesel was originally meant to star in the movie.

Screenwriter and producer Chris Morgan has had his hand in every Fast and Furious movie since Tokyo Drift, which he also wrote. In a recent interview, Morgan revealed that the oddball threequel was originally written as another adventure for Vin Diesel's Dom, saying:

There was an open writing call for the third film. I think originally I came in and pitched. Essentially it was Tokyo Drift, but it was with Vin, and his character kind of had to go out and learn drifting. And there was a murder he had to solve.

Now that would have made much more sense. Tokyo Drift was essentially a standalone film, completely ignoring the events of the previous two movies. Sure, Dom showed up at the tail end to race protagonist Sean, but that was little more than a quick cameo. But transporting Dom to Tokyo in order to learn the art of the drift and solve a murder sounds like a sequel more in line with the rest of the franchise.

So what happened? The whole debacle was actually Vin Diesel's doing, as he turned down Tokyo Drift in order to star in 2002's xXx. Chris Morgan explained in the same Uproxx interview how they switched tactic with the direction of the movie:

And they said, 'Nah, can't do that. We have to do high school.' And so the movie became what the movie was. I was really proud of it. And the audience, they came to see it. A lot of people liked it. It kind of did the worst of all the films.

You win some, you lose some. And a country bumpkin moving to Tokyo to drift and hang out with Bow Wow is definitely a loss. That isn't to say that Tokyo Drift wasn't a box office success, as it made $158.5 million on a $85 million budget. And Vin Diesel's cameo surely hinted at the future of the property, leaving the door open for the franchise to be re-explored with 2009's Fast & Furious.

The Tokyo Drift will be brought closer to the main franchise when The Fate of the Furious finally arrives in theaters. Actor Lucas Black will reprise his role as Sean (the lead character from Tokyo Drift) in the next movie, bringing the black sheep back into the fold.

The Fate of the Furious will debut in theaters April 14, 2017. Check out our full 2017 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.