Following the events starting with Fast Five, it’s kind of hard to imagine the Fast and the Furious franchise without Tyrese Gibson. Yet, there was a short stretch including The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift and the fourth film in the series, Fast & Furious, where the actor wasn’t in the franchise at all. Well, Tyrese Gibson has now explained how the The Fast and Furious franchise was done with him until Paul Walker helped bring him back.
The series was actually going through an interesting transitional period after 2 Fast 2 Furious, which is where the Baby Boy star made his debut alongside other series mainstay, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. It is interesting to hear though that Tyrese Gibson wasn’t considered for the re-branded, more action-heavy version of the franchise until Paul Walker went to bat for him. In a recent EW's Binge podcast, Gibson had this to say about what happened, calling it a "fight" to get him back into the franchise.
Paul knew that there was a bit of an obstacle that we had to get through in order for us to all band together for Fast Five. I mean, I get emotional when I think about this guy; for damn near three movies, he kept begging and pleading and trying to talk to the studio and directors and Vin, ‘Yo, we got to get Tyrese back.’ I finally came back for Five, and it was a fight, man. I think there was some type of spoken but yet unspoken tension in and around Roman Pearce and where do I fit in? And I think after hanging out with a Vin a few times before we did Five, he realized quickly that I’m more of an asset and there’s way more upside to what I’m bringing to the franchise over it ever even remotely being considered competition or anything that anybody should be worried about.
It likely helped that Tyrese Gibson had worked so hard to make sure his Fast character Roman was nothing like the one that Vin Diesel had crafted in the first movie and honed years later in the franchise. The actor says that was an intentional choice and that he wanted to bring more "humor" to the character during his introduction, noting the thought was...
If Vin ever does it again, if you become this carbon copy of Vin, then Vin is going to be like, 'Well, why would I ever want to do a movie with a dude who basically came in with deep voices and just all of the things that kind of represent the blueprint of Diesel?'
I really love this behind-the-scenes kind of stuff, because I had no idea that it was a “fight” to get Tyrese Gibson back into the franchise. It is well known that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Gibson didn’t get along for a while, especially when it came to the side-story, Hobbs & Shaw. It was here that Gibson thought that Dwayne Johnson wasn’t being fair to the Fast and the Furious (in Vin Diesel’s voice) family by doing a side project without most of the cast. But their feud now looks to be over, so everything is good on that front.
Overall this new information is really interesting because this took place before the whole Rock/Tyrese beef that ended up going very public. I actually kind of wonder what direction the series could have gone in if they didn’t bring Gibson and Ludacris back? One of the main reasons why Fast Five -- which is arguably considered the best movie in the long-running franchise -- is so good is because of the huge cast of characters, with Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris included. To think of them not in the series after the fourth film almost seems like sacrilege.
But what do you think? Could you even fathom the upcoming Fast and Furious 10 without the one and only Roman Pearce? Sound off in the poll below!