Universal Pictures is in full swing this week over who will replace Justin Lin, who abruptly resigned as director of Fast X, the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise. As of press time, it’s being reported that Louis Leterrier may be Universal’s first choice, but no deal has yet materialized, pending the resolution of Leterrier’s scheduling conflicts.
The film began production in London last week. Lin reportedly severed his ties over creative/scripting conflicts with star and co-producer Vin Diesel. Lin was apparently upset over changes to the script that he co-wrote with Dan Mazeau. He will stay on as one of the film’s producers, however.
Other factors also contributed to Lin’s decision to ditch the project, including a change in the Eastern European venue for some scenes due to the Russia-Ukraine war. This was not the only Lin had recently experienced with the franchise. F9: The Fast Saga was released during the pandemic and grossed only about $725 million worldwide, lower than any episode since Fast Five (2011). Still, the franchise is the most lucrative of Universal’s properties, generating $6 billion over the years.
Explaining his decision, Lin issued this statement: “With the support of Universal, I have made the difficult decision to step back as director of Fast X, while remaining with the project as a producer. Over 10 years and five films, we have been able to shoot the best actors, the best stunts, and the best damn car chases. On a personal note, as the child of Asian immigrants, I am proud of helping to build the most diverse franchise in movie history. I will forever be grateful to the amazing cast, crew and studio for their support, and for welcoming me into the Fast family.”
Leterrier’s credits are, as the French say, “formidable.” They include such memorable titles as The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans, Now You See Me, and Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.