Writer Chris Morgan reveals his initial idea for the film.
Vin Diesel could have been the star of The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, according to the film’s writer. In fact, that was the original plan.
Tokyo Drift has often been looked at as the outsider of the series; it’s the only film in the franchise that doesn’t star Vin Diesel or Paul Walker as the lead, and when it was released, the only connection Tokyo Drift had to the first two films was a short Diesel cameo at the end. But originally, the film was written around Diesel’s character, Dominic Toretto, says Chris Morgan, who wrote Tokyo Drift and every subsequent globe-trotting adventure.
“There was an open writing call for the third film,” he told UPROXX. “I think originally I came in and pitched. Essentially it was Tokyo Drift, but it was with Vin, and his character kind of had to go out and learn drifting. And there was a murder he had to solve. … And they said, ‘Nah, can’t do that. We have to do high school.’”
Diesel had previously opted out of 2 Fast 2 Furious in favor of xXx — a move that led to Walker being promoted as the main star, and the addition of future franchise stalwarts Ludacris and Tyrese. Tokyo Drift, on the other hand, starred franchise newcomer Lucas Black as Sean Boswell, a teenager sent halfway across the world to live with his absentee father.
“And so the movie became what the movie was,” Morgan said. “I was really proud of it. And the audience, they came to see it. A lot of people liked it. It kind of did the worst of all the films.”
Despite being the lowest-grossing film in the franchise, Tokyo Drift made a respectable $158 million at the box office. And while it may not be the most beloved or successful, director Justin Lin’s first Fast entry has become arguably the most important film to the series, thanks to the introduction of Sung Kang’s Han and a cameo in the final scene from Diesel.
“It could have been the death throes, and then thankfully, the thing that kind of saved us was that we got Vin at the very end of the movie to come in and kind of hint where we’re going to go in the future,” said Morgan. “That moment at the end, everyone’s like, ‘Oh my God, what does this mean? Are they going to do something else?’ And that gave us the ammo to go in and do the fourth one, which led us to do the fifth and the sixth and the seventh and the eighth. So it all kind of built from there.”