20 years ago, a small, but supercharged sedan known as The Fast and the Furious drove into theaters around the world. It didn’t have as much under the hood as it does now, but it had what it took to launch Vin Diesel, his co-stars, and his franchise into legendary status. With the latest film F9 opening with a flashback to 1989, director Justin Lin made a pretty fantastic choice to honor the franchise’s legacy: he used a more period-appropriate logo when introducing the Universal film.

As Justin Lin spoke with our own ReelBlend team to promote F9, the conversation shifted to whether the flashback sequences, featuring younger versions of Dom and Jakob Toretto, were shot on film. This led to Lin not only talking about how he did shoot those sequences using celluloid but also how he even tweaked his filming techniques to match up with the technology available at that time. This is why he chose to break out an older Universal logo, which as Justin Lin points out below, had its own pros and cons:

The logo for Universal, I’m glad you caught that. I actually went into a deep dive. That logo is actually not perfectly of period. But when I used the one that was of period, it really just stood out. The one we used is definitely the older one, and I love the grain that matched.

Movie buffs, this is where you’re going to have your own moment of justice. As it turns out, while this Universal logo is more period appropriate than the current variant, it’s still a little misplaced when you look at the studio’s history. If this were to be a perfect match, the big Toretto family flashback in F9 would have to happen at some point after May 25, 1990; the day that the logo first premiered in front of Back to the Future: Part III.

And if you’re wondering if this would work as a tribute to The Fast and the Furious’ 2001 release date, that logo was the design that debuted in front of 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Of course, arguing the timeline of studio logos pretty much goes against the sort of fast and loose chronology that F9’s respective series has always indulged in. Let’s not forget, 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift technically takes place after 2013’s Fast and Furious 6. But as you’ll see below, this slightly tweaked variant that hews closer to the 1989 time period still has that magic touch:

To borrow the immortal words of Fast Saga co-star Dwayne Johnson, when that old Universal logo makes itself known, it doesn’t matter if it’s totally period appropriate. By the time that classic 1990 Universal logo sails across the screen, grain and all, the audience is ready to sink into F9’s deep dive into the history of the Toretto family. Reviewing the box office results from this past weekend, one can easily prove that statement to be an accurate assessment.

If you haven’t had the chance to partake in the thrills of F9 for yourself, head over to your local theater and soak in that retro Universal magic. And if you’re ready for another adventure at the movies, take a look at our 2021 release schedule and stake out your next trip to the big screen.

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