Vin Diesel And The Rock: A History Of Their Fast And Furious Beef

Vin Diesel and The Rock in Fast Five
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

There is a shot in the closing minutes of Fast and Furious 6 where Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Luke Hobbs' (Dwayne Johnson) dynamic reluctantly goes from an international cop chasing a Dodge Charger-obsessed and family-driven criminal to somewhat of a loose partnership built on respect. The two stand side-by-side, looking in the general direction of the other, but not making eye contact, creating a confusing perspective that leaves you wondering what’s going on there.

Something similar can be said about the real-life feud between The Rock and Vin Diesel that went public during the making of The Fate of the Furious and didn’t seem to calm down until years later (after multiple ups-and-downs and back-and-forths between the two massive stars). Yet, here we are, still discussing one of the strangest chapters in the history of the Fast and Furious movies, and one that also played out in coded messages, tweets, Instagram posts, and even in publications around the world.

Here is a fast and furious breakdown of the years-long and heated beef shared by Mr. “Quarter Mile at a Time” and the “Franchise Viagra,” and what it could mean for the property moving forward. 

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in Fast Five

(Image credit: Universal)

The Vin Diesel/Dwayne Johnson Beef Became Public With The Rock’s ‘Candy Asses’ Instagram Post In August 2016

It has never been made entirely clear when Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson first started beefing with one another, but the first chapter that played out extensively over social media, and the media in general, kicked off during the production of The Fate of the Furious

In an August 2016 Instagram video that has since been taken down, Johnson shared some behind-the-scenes footage of the film’s iconic prison fight scene before taking things to the next level in the comment section where he called out his male co-stars while not naming any names:

UNIVERSAL has been great partners as well. My female co-stars are always amazing and I love ‘em. My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t. The ones that don’t are too chicken shit to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I’m not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling — you’re right. Bottom line is it’ll play great for the movie and fits this Hobbs character that’s embedded in my DNA extremely well. The producer in me is happy about this part. Final week on FAST 8 and I’ll finish strong. #IcemanCometh #F8 #ZeroToleranceForCandyAsses

This could have very well meant any of Dwayne Johnson’s co-stars, but as great as it would be to see The Rock trade barbs with Kurt Russell (maybe over the Big Trouble in Little China remake), in the days following it became clear this message was pointed at one person and one person only: Vin Diesel, who just so happened to be one of film’s producers.

Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel face to face in Fast Five

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

In The Wake Of The Incendiary Post, Dwayne Johnson And Vin Diesel Had A One-On-One Meeting

The buzz surrounding Dwayne Johnson’s incendiary comments was both fast and furious as the world began to take in what the former WWE Champion was saying about his co-stars. And as the day went on, it began to look more and more like the comments were aimed at none other than Vin Diesel, according to a detailed TMZ report. But even though Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Kurt Russell, and even Jason Statham appeared to escape The Rock’s Instagram takedown, they all were reportedly upset with their co-star.

The whole situation got so out of hand so quickly, Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel had an impromptu meeting. This initially looked like gossip following another TMZ report, the meeting was eventually confirmed by The Rock himself in a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone where the wrestler-turned-actor confirmed not only the meeting but another rumor about he and Diesel not filming any scenes together:

That is correct. We were not in any scenes together. Vin and I had a few discussions, including an important face-to-face in my trailer. And what I came to realize is that we have a fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating. It took me some time, but I’m grateful for that clarity. Whether we work together or not.

There is just so much to take in there: the meeting, not filming scenes together, comments like “whether we work together or not.” As work on The Fate of the Furious wrapped up, it looked like the beef too was about to run its course, but it quickly became the story that wouldn’t go away.

Vin Diesel in F9: The Fast Saga

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Vin Diesel Later Said His Feud With Dwayne Johnson Was ‘Blown Out Of Proportion”

When Vin Diesel was making the media rounds ahead of the release of The Fate of the Furious in April 2017, everyone wanted to know about one thing and one thing only: no, not his beer of choice but instead the business with him and Dwayne Johnson. When speaking with USA Today, the franchise star briefly touched on the subject and yet again made it sound as if this was just two brothers coming to a disagreement:

I don’t think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way. I think some things may be blown out of proportion. I don’t think that was his intention. I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne.

But then Vin Diesel went and said this:

I protect the franchise. I protect everybody including Dwayne. I protected Dwayne more than he’ll ever know. And it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to know. But he appreciates it. He knows it. Dwayne has only got one Vin in his life. Dwayne Johnson only has one big brother in this film world and that’s me.

These comments at first seemed to bury the proverbial hatchet, but also featured more of that brotherly talk the actor likes to throw out, especially when talking about Johnson.

Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson in each other's faces in Fast Five

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

When Addressing The Beef At The April 2017 Premiere Of The Fate Of The Furious, The Rock Chalked It Up To ‘Different Philosophies’

By the time The Fate of the Furious premiered in April 2017, Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel had appeared to have put the whole beef behind them when speaking with ET at the red carpet event. When asked about his involvement in the feud and how the two let bygones be bygones, The Rock explained that some things just have a way of working themselves out before diving into his comments the previous summer:

Just like, in life, you have different philosophies and people have different fundamental philosophies on how you do things. And again, the most important thing is just the movie.

Johnson's comments make it sound as if the supposed feud between him and Vin Diesel was nothing more than two brothers getting worked up after spending a lot of time together. If the Fast and Furious franchise has taught us anything it is that you don't always have to agree with your family, but you should be there for one another.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham walking into battle holding weapons in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw.

(Image credit: Universal)

The Feud Appeared To Be Finished In 2019 When The Rock Teased His Fast And Furious Future

By the time Hobbs and Shaw became a box office juggernaut in August 2019, the once red-hot feud between Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel seemed to have cooled off. And that appeared to be the case even more the following month, when Johnson posted a video to his Instagram page thanking everyone for the spin-off’s success before turning his attention to his Fast and Furious costar and their possible future:

Lastly, but not least, I want to thank brother Vin [Diesel] for your support of Hobbs & Shaw. I saw your post and I appreciate it. ... As you know, and what a wild ride this is and what a wild ride this has been, 10 years ago when you and I spoke, you invited me into the Fast and Furious family. I'm grateful for that invite. And as you know, my goal was always, all these years, to come into the Fast & Furious world and help elevate the franchise in any way that I possibly could. And of course, all roads lead to one thing. I’ll be seeing you soon, Toretto.

In January 2021, just months before F9 was to land in theaters and while Fast X was being mapped out, Diesel took to Instagram and shared a picture of Johnson and himself with a caption stating he was “too excited” for what lay ahead

Vin Diesel smiling in Fast Five

(Image credit: Universal)

Vin Diesel Has Gone On To Say ‘Tough Love’ Factored Into The Feud

On the heels of the release of F9 in June 2021, the first Fast and Furious film in more than a decade to not feature Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel spoke with Men’s Health and some offered insight into what caused the two to butt heads so much in the early days, which heavily factored into the feud that came later on:

It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character. My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be. As a producer to say, Okay, we’re going to take Dwayne Johnson, who’s associated with wrestling, and we’re going to force this cinematic world, audience members, to regard his character as someone that they don’t know—Hobbs hits you like a ton of bricks. That’s something that I’m proud of, that aesthetic. That took a lot of work. We had to get there and sometimes, at that time, I could give a lot of tough love. Not Felliniesque, but I would do anything I’d have to do in order to get performances in anything I’m producing.

But this statement, and Diesel comparing himself to Federico Fellini, would kick off the next stage in the seemingly never-ending feud between the two action stars.

Dwayne Johnson in the Fate of the Furious.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Dwayne Johnson Said He And Vin Diesel Were ‘Philosophically Two Different People’ In A November 2021 Interview

Despite Johson and Diesel both having similar social media habits and a love for over-the-top action movies where they are featured front-and-center, the XFL owner made sure to point out that he and his co-star were “philosophically two different people” when speaking with Vanity Fair in November 2021. 

Though he didn’t directly discuss what he didn’t like about Diesel, Johnson said they approached “the business of movie-making in two very different ways,” stating:

It’s the philosophy of going into work every day. Looking at everybody as equal partners. And looking at the studio as equal partners. And looking at the crew, regardless of where you’re at, either on the call sheet or otherwise, as equal partners—with respect and with humility, and being respectful of the process and every other human being who is putting in just as much time, just as much hard work and sweat equity, if not more. And I think it’s always been important to me to always be straight up and look somebody in the eye. And if you say you’re going to do something, do it.

Again, Johnson never came out and explicitly said what it was about Diesel that rubbed him the wrong way, but at this point in their tattered relationship, it was easy to read between the lines.

Dwayne Johnson in Fast and Furious

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

A Month Later, Johnson Said He ‘Would Not Be Returning To The Franchise’

In December 2021, Johnson revealed that he was actually done with the Fast and Furious franchise in a CNN interview in which he also talked about telling Diesel he was not returning:

This past June, when Vin and I actually connected not over social media, I told him directly - and privately - that I would not be returning to the franchise. I was firm yet cordial with my words and said that I would always be supportive of the cast and always root for the franchise to be successful, but that there was no chance I would return. I privately spoke with my partners at Universal as well, all of whom were very supportive as they understand the problem.

The former WWE Champion went on to call an Instagram post by Diesel the previous month “an example of his manipulation,” and say that he didn’t like how his former co-star brought up his children and the 2013 death of Paul Walker. But, this wouldn’t be the end of the saga. In fact, it was far from it…

Dwayne Johnson looking at Jason Statham in Hobbs and Shaw

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Johnson’s Luke Hobbs Made A Surprise Appearance In Fast X’s Mid-Credit Sequence 

There was a lot going on with the Fast X ending, but for the sake of this article, we’ll just focus on one aspect of it – one that just so happens to be the most shocking moment in the franchise’s more recent history. A little less than 18 months after Dwayne Johnson said he had no plans to return to the franchise, fans got to see none other than Luke Hobbs in the Fast X mid-credits sequence.

Though Johnson didn’t publicly respond to his out-of-leftfield return to the franchise in the days following the film’s release, it appeared as if the long-standing feud between the titans of the entertainment industry was over and done with, or at least they patched things up enough for Hobbs to return.

Vin Diesel in car in Fast X

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

After The Film Was Completed, A ‘Peace Treaty’ Was Brokered By Fast X Director Louis Leterrier To Bring Johnson Back To The Franchise

So, how did the stars align for Johnson to return to the franchise and maybe, just maybe, put an end to his feud with Diesel? Well, as director Louis Leterrier, who came in after Justin Lin departed Fast X partway through production, revealed to The Hollywood Reporter, there was a “peace treaty,” so to speak:

The peace treaty … I kind of [brokered it]. We all did. Ultimately, the movie did. We sort of looked at each other from across the room and winked a few months back, saying, ‘We should work together.’ And then I had this idea and I presented it to the producers and the studio. And then we reached out to Dwayne and his team, and said, ‘Just come and watch the movie. You have to love the movie first.’ So he came to see the movie and really loved it, and then we started talking. It was very smooth, and frankly, as a fan, I could not conceive continuing the franchise without either Dwayne or Gal Gadot.

The movie was all but completed by the time Johnson was brought into the fold, which explains why he was the only franchise player to be featured in the scene where he becomes the next toy in Dante Reyes’ (Jason Momoa) grand revenge scheme.

Dwayne Johnson chanting with a girls soccer team in Fate of the Furious

(Image credit: Universal)

In June 2023, Dwayne Johnson Announced He Was Officially Returning To The Franchise

Not even two weeks after making his shocking return to the Fast & Furious franchise, Dwayne Johnson revealed that the post-credits sequence featuring Luke Hobbs wasn’t a one-and-done situation. In fact, not only is the wrestler-turned-actor returning to the franchise he once swore off, he’s getting his own spin-off movie.

In June 2023, Johnson took to his Twitter to share the news that a newly announced Luke Hobbs-centric movie was on the way, revealing that it would serve as a bridge between Fast X and Fast & Furious 11, or whatever it ends up being called:

The next Fast & Furious film you’ll see the legendary lawman in will be the HOBBS movie that will serve as a fresh, new chapter & set up for FASTX: Part II

Though Johnson didn’t provide too many details about the upcoming project, the action star said that he and Vin Diesel had put the past behind them, adding that they’ll “lead with brotherhood and resolve.” 

So, with the feud appearing to be behind them for now, does this mean that Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel will team up and take on one of the franchise’s best villains in the upcoming Fast and Furious 11? We’ll just have to wait and see. 

In the meantime, you can go back and watch the whole timeline unfold by watching all the Fast and Furious movies streaming. And don’t forget to check out our 2023 movie schedule so you don’t miss out on any of the big-screen action coming out this year.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.