The road to the newest entry in the Fast and Furious franchise has been a long one, and that was the case even before the film needed to be delayed due to a global pandemic. The Fate of the Furious added another billion dollars to the franchise coffers, and even before it came out we knew there were plans to make a ninth and tenth entry in the series. However, there was potential concern as to exactly how the ninth movie would go forward when Michelle Rodriguez made it clear that she might not return to the series if something wasn't done to help the female characters be better represented in the movies. On the eve of the film's release, Rodriguez is apparently quite happy with how it all turned out. And she's glad she's been part of this nearly 20 year run.
It's been 18 years since the first Fast and Furious movie came out and it feels like it's safe to say that nobody could have expected the franchise would have such longevity. It's a very different sort of film series than what it started out to be. But according to Michelle Rodriguez, that's part of what makes it so great. Speaking with EW, Rodriguez says that not only has the franchise changed a lot, but the characters have been able to evolve over the course of the movies as well. And in the new movie, that evolution includes the women. According to the actress,
We've grown so much in the last 18 years, and it's all of us, we're in it together. It's cool that they were open enough to change and to evolve with the times... I really think that 9 is doing some justice for all the girls. I'm really proud of each and every woman in F9.
Back in 2019 Michelle Rodriguez revealed that she would not be signing on to the next Fast & Furious movie until she saw the script and saw just how her character, and the other women in the film, were treated. It was clear she didn't feel the women were on equal footing with the guys. She insisted that a female writer be brought in to help pen the script. Luckily, Rodriguez got what she wanted. And even before we see F9, we have heard about some of the ways the new movie will be different for the women of the franchise. The new movie will include real scenes between Michelle Rodriguez's Letty and Jordana Brewster's Mia that we've never seen in the films before.
We learned recently how Michelle Rodriguez was fighting to make Letty a more complex character even from the first movie. But clearly the battle did not stop there. While Rodriguez was able to make her character more than simply "the girlfriend," once other writers got a hold of the character, they still seemed to latch on to only a single aspect of who Letty was. Rodriguez continues,
It was really, really tough, just going through that whole process. I think eventually it got to a point where we got some females onboard and it felt a lot easier to try to express dimension in the character. Because I think the one thing that most male writers got out of Letty was that she's no nonsense, and I guess that it stuck with them like concrete and all of a sudden there was nothing outside of that. And I'm like, 'Dude, what the hell? Does this bitch smile ever?' I think girls are different than boys, and for male writers, I think sometimes it's hard outside of sex or outside of boyfriend-girlfriend to really find her psychological meaning.
Fans have clearly enjoyed seeing the movies and the characters evolve over the last 18 years. The more recent Fast & Furious have been the more successful in the franchise, showing that fans really love what the series has been doing. We'll finally see what F9 brings to the table when it hits theaters June 25.