At the end of the first week of production of “Fast X” last Friday, actor Vin Diesel posted a brief video to Instagram alongside the film’s director and co-writer.
Diesel asked an uncomfortable Lin how he’s feeling after the first few days, to which he responds: “It feels like the beginning of, uh, of an epic ending.”
Cut to four days later and Lin is no longer directing the planned back-to-back filming of the action franchise’s tenth and eleventh installments which are purportedly planning to conclude the saga.
The news came as a massive shock as Lin is seen as one of the primary architects of the franchise’s success, and with five other films in the series under his belt he can certainly handle productions of this scale.
However with his “amicable” exit over “creative differences,” the multi-million dollar franchise now faces a challenge in which time is literally money.
Variety reports that second unit will continue production in the UK, while the main unit is paused until a replacement is onboard and until then production is burning through cash to keep key crew and cast members in limbo.
According to sources from different studios with experience replacing directors midstream, it’s estimated to be costing Universal upwards of $600,000 to $1 million a day.
Money isn’t the only concern as windowing is also important with stars like Charlize Theron, Jason Momoa and Brie Larson all having commitments to other ongoing franchises and so delays could necessitate costly changes.
Other directors in the franchise like James Wan, David Leitch and F. Gary Gray all have other active commitments for the next few months and so are unavailable.
Meanwhile other A-list filmmakers are able to handle films of this scale might not be willing to join without additional time to work on the scripts. They also have to face Vin Diesel, the actor/producer likely has a say in creative decisions.
This showed recently when Diesel posted on social media that the first “Fast X” script draft didn’t include Jordana Brewster’s character Mia which upset him. The actor got his way though, with Brewster returning for the film.
For now, the film remains on track for a planned May 19th 2023 theatrical release date.