Just days ahead of the release of F9 in theaters, fans are looking back to where it all began by celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Fast and the Furious. Back when the original movie was released in theaters in the summer of 2001, no one could have foreseen just what would become of the franchise over the next two decades. Heading into F9, the series is as popular as ever, and many fans will always have a spot for the original movie that kicked things off two decades ago. Universal is celebrating all day long with several surprises, and the first is The Fast Saga X 20 video that takes a look back at the entire franchise.
“20 years of Fast have all led up to this next chapter. From the beginning all the way to #F9, this wouldn’t have been possible without the support from our Fast family. Thanks for riding with us since day one. #Fast20Anniversary.”
No matter how fast you are, no one outruns their past. Summer 2020 is the time for F9, the ninth chapter in the saga that has endured for almost two decades and has earned more than $5 billion around the world. Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon.
This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most. His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena, next year’s The Suicide Squad).
F9 sees the return of Justin Lin as director, who helmed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth chapters of the series when it transformed into a global blockbuster. The action hurtles around the globe-from London to Tokyo, from Central America to Edinburgh, and from a secret bunker in Azerbaijan to the teeming streets of Tblisi. Along the way, old friends will be resurrected, old foes will return, history will be rewritten, and the true meaning of family will be tested like never before.
The film stars returning cast members Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel and Sung Kang, with Oscar® winner Helen Mirren and Oscar® winner Charlize Theron. F9 also features Grammy-winning superstar Cardi B as new franchise character Leysa, a woman with a connection to Dom’s past, and a cameo by Reggaeton sensation Ozuna.
“The Fast and the Furious turns 20 today, which is wild because I still remember seeing the trailer for the first one in front of The Mummy Returns and thinking it looked dumb. Now 20 years later I’m ridiculously excited for F9 in 3 days,” tweeted one fan.
“20 years ago on this date, we started living life a quarter-mile at a time as we raced into one of the most successful action franchises in modern cinematic history with The Fast and the Furious. Side note: F9 finally hits theaters this weekend,” reads another tweet posted by The Screen Addicts.
“20 years ago, The Fast and the Furious came out in theaters,” said another fan who can’t believe it’s been so long. “Damn, time flies fast like a Toyota Supra.”
And another fan posted: “20 years ago The Fast and The Furious came out and spawned one of my favorite movie franchises. Now in a few days I’m gonna see F9 and couldn’t be more excited to see how this one plays out. ‘I don’t have friends, I got family.’ -Dom.”
Directed by Rob Cohen, The Fast and the Furious featured an all-star cast including Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, and Ted Levine. It established the relationship between undercover cop Brian O’Conner (Walker) and Dom Toretto (Diesel), the leader of a heist crew and professional street racer. It was a tremendous hit at the box office, spawning the ongoing franchise fans are still enjoying to this day.
Sadly, Walker died while working on the seventh installment of the The Fast Saga, Furious 7. His brothers were brought in as stand-ins to help finish his remaining scenes, and Dom bids Brian farewell in the closing moments of the movie. Cody Walker, one of Paul’s brothers who helped the Furious 7 team finish the movie, recently spoke with TMZ about how Paul’s legacy has been treated respectfully. He also thinks Paul would be amused by what the series has become.
“You know, I think that Vin and the whole [Fast and Furious] family have done a good job in tastefully letting the character ride off into the sunset,” Cody recently told TMZ. “I think Paul would really get a kick out of where it’s gone. It’s gotten so crazy. It’s a wild, wild ride at this point. Paul was very much the purist, the real car guy. I couldn’t speculate what he would think. I just know that Vin always takes the very serious approach to keeping Paul’s legacy in mind, and has always done a nice job of paying tribute to his character. They worked together and were brothers for years.”
Of F9, Cody added: “I think Paul would think it’s hilarious. When they filmed these movies… I don’t think if you would have asked Paul in 2001, where he thought this franchise would have gone, I don’t think he would have thought they were on the ninth film at this point. They were just having a lot of fun making a movie.”
F9 will be released in U.S. theaters on June 25. The original installment of the franchise, The Fast and the Furious, is currently streaming on HBO Max. It might be a bizarre experience to first revisit the original movie shortly before heading into F9, as it’s been quite the evolution over the years. You can see what fans are saying about the original’s 20th anniversary on Twitter.