Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) find their footing in F9 (2021)

The Fast & Furious franchise has been with us for two decades now and, as a result, Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and his crew (or “family”) have become mainstays within the world of cinema. But of course, the bulk of these installments have happened under the watchful eye of director Justin Lin. With five Fast & Furious installments under his belt, Lin is practically a pro at this point and has overseen some of the franchise’s biggest moments. So what keeps the filmmaker coming back to the fan-favorite film series? Well, he’s now provided some insight on the matter.

Justin Lin made his Fast & Furious debut with 2006’s Tokyo Drift and would direct every subsequent installment through 2013’s Fast & Furious 6. However, Lin has now returned for the highly anticipated F9 and, during a recent interview with the Associated Press, Lin reflected on how he got involved with the latest film and opened up about how it symbolizes his reasoning for sticking with the franchise:

I thought I was done with it but even though I was gone, I actually now look back and I don't think I ever was gone. I still remember I was in the cutting room on Star Trek Beyond and Vin called me and he's talking about Dom [Toretto, Diesel's character] and the state of Dom for two hours. I'm sitting there going, like, what movie am I making? It's just been a relationship, you know? It's always been more than just a movie. So when I woke up with this idea I called Vin and the studio and they were like 'OK, let’s go.' I never felt like the door was closed.

Based on his comments, it would seem that Justin Lin has forged a deep relationship with lead actor Vin Diesel and, when you’ve been through as much as they have, you can understand why. A lot of work goes into making the Fast & Furious franchise what it is, and the filmmaker and actor have been in the trenches together for years now. With this, a kinship was bound to form between Lin and Diesel, and it’s been nice to see.

To say that Justin Lin’s direction has become a key part of Fast & Furious would be an understatement. He’s overseen some of the franchise’s most insane stunts, including an insane sequence in F9 that his son helped with. Of course, he’s also managed the characters, helping to determine when to bring back familiar faces and how to write around major characters that are no longer around.

Of course, F9 won’t be the end of the road for Justin Lin, as he’s set to return for the final two installments in the main Fast & Furious franchise. Details on the films are scarce at the moment, but Vin Diesel is already teasing some cool things. Lin has a tough challenge ahead of him, as he’ll be tasked with closing out an iconic saga. Nevertheless, he’s proven he has the know-how to end things on a high note.

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, though, as we’re still waiting to see Justin Lin’s latest contributions to Fast & Furious in F9. And with the director having been away from the franchise for so long, franchise devotees are excited to see what he does in his return.

F9 roars into theaters on June 25.

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