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Although the Fast and Furious franchise has seen a massive upward swing in popularity and quality over the last few years, it has not been without its share of speed bumps. One major issue came up earlier this year when Michelle Rodriguez threatened to walk away from the series over its representation of female characters. The Fate of the Furious actress' remarks have caused widespread speculation over Letty's future, and Rodriguez recently came out and doubled down on her concern over how the series handles its women, saying:
My path is about female empowerment, and if I'm feeling a little stagnant in that area in what I'm doing for a living, then I'm gonna have to move on. Evolve or die, baby. I hope they show some love to the women in the franchise. I'd like to see that. I'd like to see them talk to each other for a change, you know what I mean? I can count with one hand the times I've talked to the female actresses in the franchise, and I think that's kinda sad.
So the Fast and Furious franchise isn't exactly a poster child for the Bechdel Test, and that's something that hasn't sat well with Michelle Rodriguez for quite some time. As one of the only central female performers/characters in the series, the actress feels some level of responsibility for making sure these films do right by the female characters and give them opportunities to work together. If that can't happen, then she's prepared to walk away.
Michelle Rodriguez's stance on the franchise's portrayal and representation of women has invoked a variety of responses from other members of the series. Charlize Theron responded to her comments with support, and series headliner Vin Diesel joined Rodriguez on social media to voice his agreement that the Fast and Furious film should strive to do better with each passing project.
With that said, there have been certain leaps in progress compared to what the Fast and Furious franchise used to be. Letty's role as a member and leader of Dom's crew has become increasingly important with each passing movie, and the franchise has gradually introduced newcomers like Cipher, Ramsey, and Mrs. Shaw. The Fast and Furious movies arguably remain a very male-dominated landscape (and based on Michelle Rodriguez's comment to TMZ, there is more room for improvement), but changes that have already taken place do bode well for the future of women in this series.
It's clear that there are plenty more adventures left for Dom and his crew, but we will have to wait and see if Michelle Rodriguez will return as Letty. With the ninth installment aiming for an April 19, 2019 release and a tenth aiming for a 2021 release, CinemaBlend will bring you more information related to the future of the franchise as it becomes available to us. Until then, check out our movie premiere guide to see what the rest of this year has in store!