The following story will contain very mild spoilers for F9, the new Fast & Furious movie that’s now in theaters. Proceed with caution.
It was a running joke. The Fast and Furious franchise has pulled off so many ridiculous stunts over the years, including dragging a safe through Rio de Janeiro and The Rock pushing a torpedo with his bare hands, that fans would say the only place for this franchise to go would be “space.” That’s the textbook answer for any franchise that has been around for this long. It’s how Jason ended up in the stratosphere for the tenth Friday the 13th movie. When F9 director Justin Lin came on CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast, though, he talked about his plans to try and practically film the space stunt in his movie… until he was told that he can’t.
In the F9 story, the reason that the team needs to get to space is so Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) can access a satellite and shut down a crucial transmission that the film’s villain, Jakob (John Cena), needs to implement his evil plan. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew don’t have access to a shuttle. So they put Tej and Roman in scuba-diving suits and launch them into space in a Pontiac Fiero. I kid you not.
And while the bulk of the scenes involving Tej and Roman as astronauts use really good visual effects to pull it off, there was a time when Justin Lin -- who adores using practical effects whenever possible and tries to captures as much of his action in camera as he can -- explored the notion of coming up with a solution that would have allowed him to film a car in the atmosphere.
Justin Lin told ReelBlend:
Now, we asked Justin Lin to clarify whether or not he planned to put this Pontiac Fiero into the upper atmosphere with stunt performers or his actors IN the car! Because this is F9, so anything is possible. But he stopped us short, explaining with a laugh:
Ultimately, he had to back off. The cost, and the logistics, were going to be too much, and Lin already had so many other massive set pieces in store for F9, so he couldn’t possibly blow his entire budget on sending Ludacris and Tyrese to space. This time, anyway.
F9 got off to a very fast start on its opening night, and is expected to perform well all weekend. Welcome back to theaters, America. Your Fast family is waiting for you.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.