It looks like Vin Diesel has bested Dwayne Johnson in at least one arena, clocking in at number one on Forbes’ list of the highest-grossing actors of 2017 — and throwing a little more fuel on that Fast & Furious feud (say that five times fast). Thanks to The Fate of the Furious and xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Diesel edged out his Fast co-star / arch-nemesis, and with fewer 2017 releases under his belt.
This Fast and Furious family feud has become so wacky and convoluted that it could easily serve as the plot for the next Fast and Furious movie. If you haven’t been paying attention, here’s a quick recap: After some highly-publicized beef with Vin Diesel on the set of The Fate of the Furious, Dwayne Johnson struck a deal with Universal for his very own spinoff with Jason Statham. Last week, the studio pushed the release of Fast 9 back from 2019 to 2020, and subsequently scheduled Johnson’s spinoff for…2019. Tyrese Gibson dragged Johnson on Instagram. Then Diesel chimed in with a post about staying positive. Grab your popcorn, fam, because Johnson just responded.
Here’s a question for you: is it time to add Vin Diesel to the list of actors whose career is defined entirely by a single film franchise? Sure, Diesel has shown up in other successful movies throughout his careers — Saving Private Ryan, The Iron Giant, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all been critical and commercial successes, not to mention his more niche productions like Find Me Guilty and his Riddick movies — but none of this holds a candle to his work on the Fast and Furious franchise. He’s been producer, screenwriter, and star of those movies for over 16 years now… I mean, nobody goes up to William Shatner and praises him for his work in Judgment at Nuremberg, right?
Fambly. Chances are you just read that word in the gravel-voiced growl of babyfaced colossus Vin Diesel, the star of the Fast and Furious franchise that turned those two syllables into a catchphrase, and then into a way of life. In no small way, Diesel is the series, and not just because his name makes him sound like he’s already a character in one of these movies. As noble-hearted car jacker Dom Toretto, he helped shape the tone, themes, and overall outlook of all films fast and furious. But he was this close to missing it all, and going through life primarily identified as “the guy in the xXx movies I always tell my wife I was trying to Google.”
In The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment in the car-jacking, street racing franchise, Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto does the worst thing a man of his values can do: He turns his back on family. That six letter, three syllable mantra is the sentimental thread that holds the Fast and Furious crew together, and what adds heart to an action series suffused with cars and criminals. One would assume there must be good reason to plot an entire film around something so antithetical to the spirit of the series. But that reveal winds up being the silliest and most left-field twist since the time the movies explained Letty’s (Michelle Rodriguez) return with amnesia.
It seems appropriate that the new international trailer for The Fate of the Furious is rather…international, taking the crew from New York to Cuba to the arctic (it’s like Fury Road but with, like, ice) for the eighth (!) installment of the franchise. The next chapter of the awesomely soapy action series looks like a pretty juicy one, as Vin Diesel’s Dom straight-up abandons his family for Charlize Theron (who wouldn’t) and her questionable hairstyle.
Groot has proven wildly popular in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks in no small part to the introduction of Baby Groot, and even though Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t hit theaters for another four months, he’s already become everyone’s favorite character. And while such intensely beloved characters often work better in slightly smaller doses within an ensemble (like the Guardians movies), Vin Diesel, the number one source for breaking Vin Diesel news, seems to think a solo Groot spinoff is “inevitable.”