F9 Makes A Strong Argument Vin Diesel Is More Important Than The Rock

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Fast & Furious 9 is the first in a while without The Rock and the film makes a case for Vin Diesel being the true driving force behind the franchise.

F9 makes a strong argument for Vin Diesel being more important to the franchise than Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock). The latter was first introduced into The Fast and the Furious saga during Fast Five, playing Luke Hobbs, a federal agent tasked with finding Diesel’s Dominic Toretto, Brian O’Connor (the late Paul Walker), and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster). F9 is the first film since then not to feature Hobbs in an integral role, with the story setting up Diesel as the true core of the franchise.

Dom and Hobbs went from enemies to allies in a manner not dissimilar to Dom’s initial relationship with Brian. Johnson’s Hobbs got his own spinoff movie in 2019 in the aptly titled Hobbs & Shaw, which saw him teaming up with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to stop a programmable super-virus from wiping out half of the world’s population (which is eerily scary to think about now given real-life circumstances). While the film garnering a sequel in Hobbs & Shaw 2 suggests that Johnson’s star power is enough to lead a separate part of the franchise, his absence in F9 and the elevation of Diesel as the center of the franchise hones in on him being the key component and the glue holding it all together.

The majority of F9’s plot revolved around Dom and his estranged brother, Jakob Toretto (John Cena), who was working against his older brother before becoming an ally. With Hobbs nowhere in sight and no one even mentioning him at all, the sequel made it relatively clear who was the favored character.

Fast & Furious Was Always Vin Diesel’s Franchise

The Fast and the Furious franchise has always been Vin Diesel’s. The films have always hinged upon the relationship between Dom and Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor. While Walker’s death changed the onscreen dynamics of the films a bit, they have still centered Diesel’s character. In fact, The Fate of the Furious and F9 both have stories linked directly to Dom, with the latter even introducing his brother into the mix, which links new characters to the franchise veteran. This more than suggests that Jakob and Dom could become the core relationship for the next two films in the franchise, a decision that would continue to center Diesel as the driving force of the overarching narrative.

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Diesel has been a part of the saga from the beginning, starting with 2001’s The Fast and the Furious. With the exception of 2 Fast 2 Furious, Diesel has helped pave the way for the franchise’s success. What’s more, it would be hard to imagine what the films would look like without Dom at the forefront. He’s been the rock holding his crew together; he also has a personal connection with most, if not all, of the characters that have appeared throughout the franchise. In addition to all that, Diesel has been a producer of the film saga since 2009’s Fast & Furious, which is likely one of the reasons why he’s been so integral to the slate of The Fast and the Furious

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 movies for so long.

The Rock Changed (& Saved) The Franchise With Fast Five

 Luke Hobbs tracks down Dom and his crew in Rio in Fast Five

The Rock’s introduction in Fast Five changed the franchise in many ways, becoming the first to crossover several characters from other films, including The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. It expanded the franchise beyond its limited, mostly standalone predecessors. Bringing in The Rock also added more star power to the franchise, while also giving Dom someone new and charismatic to clash with onscreen. Thanks to Johnson’s Agent Luke Hobbs, Fast Five allowed the saga to push boundaries, moving from its humble street-racing beginnings to take on international heists. Johnson’s involvement also boosted the franchise’s global presence, turning Fast Five into a worldwide success that surpassed the previous sequels like 2 Fast 2 Furious. To that end, The Rock helped to save the franchise early on, turning things around for it to become the global phenomenon it is now.

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