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Why did Justin Lin quit?

The sudden departure of director Justin Lin from the Fast & Furious franchise just weeks into production of the 10th installment has left fans shocked and wondering why he would leave a series he helped reinvigorate. Lin has been a central figure in the Fast saga since 2006, directing four consecutive films that propelled the franchise to new box office heights. So what exactly led to his abrupt exit from Fast 10? Here we break down the key questions and answers around this surprising turn of events.

When did Justin Lin quit Fast 10?

On April 26, 2022 it was announced that Justin Lin was stepping down as director of Fast X, which had begun production just days earlier on April 20. Lin penned a statement explaining his difficult decision to leave the project, citing creative differences. His exit came as a massive surprise given his long history with the franchise.

How many Fast & Furious films did he direct previously?

Justin Lin had directed five previous installments in the Fast saga before his departure from Fast X:

  • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
  • Fast & Furious (2009)
  • Fast Five (2011)
  • Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
  • Furious 7 (2015)

Lin helped reshape the franchise beginning with Tokyo Drift, transitioning it from street racing films to outrageous heist action spectacles. His four consecutive movies from 2009-2015 form the backbone of the saga and escalated its success tremendously. Furious 7 grossed over $1.5 billion globally under Lin’s stewardship.

What has he said about his departure?

In a statement announcing his exit from the director’s chair, Lin cited creative differences that led to the difficult decision. He reiterated his love for the franchise he helped build and indicated the choice to leave was made in the best interest of the film. Reports suggest Lin departed over script issues and dissatisfaction with where the story was headed in Fast 10. He clashed frequently with lead star Vin Diesel over the creative direction.

Who is replacing him as director?

Just a week after Lin’s departure, veteran director Louis Leterrier was brought on to replace him at the helm of Fast X. Leterrier has experience directing action franchises, having previously made films like The Incredible Hulk, Now You See Me, and Clash of the Titans. The producers quickly secured an experienced replacement to prevent production delays on the massive project.

What does this mean for the future of the franchise?

Justin Lin’s sudden exit from Fast 10 has ignited doubts about the future of the Fast saga. He had been expected to direct the final two installments that would cap off the story. Universal remains committed to completing the two-part finale as planned, but Lin’s absence will be felt. The next film needs to succeed to justify the concluding chapter. There are questions if the creative vision will remain intact without Lin at the helm.

Could Justin Lin return in the future?

Despite the creative differences that led to his departure, there remains a possibility Justin Lin could return to direct another Fast & Furious installment. He shepherded the franchise for over a decade and may be enticed to return for a future film once the dust settles. Lin has expressed his love for the Fast world. He could potentially direct an offshoot movie centered around a specific character rather than the main saga.

A Look at Box Office Figures for Films Directed by Justin Lin

Justin Lin’s influence elevated the Fast & Furious series to phenomenal new box office heights. Here is a comparison of the worldwide gross earnings for each of his Fast films:

Movie Global Box Office
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) $158.5 million
Fast & Furious (2009) $363.2 million
Fast Five (2011) $626.1 million
Fast & Furious 6 (2013) $788.7 million
Furious 7 (2015) $1.516 billion

As the table illustrates, box office revenues increased exponentially with each new film under Lin’s direction. This quantifiably demonstrates his impact on revitalizing the franchise.

Comparing Critical Reception of Films With/Without Justin Lin

Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious films were generally better received by critics than installments helmed by other directors. Here is a comparison of critical scores on Rotten Tomatoes:

Movie Director Rotten Tomatoes Score
The Fast and the Furious (2001) Rob Cohen 53%
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) John Singleton 36%
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) Justin Lin 37%
Fast & Furious (2009) Justin Lin 28%
Fast Five (2011) Justin Lin 77%
Fast & Furious 6 (2013) Justin Lin 69%
Furious 7 (2015) Justin Lin 81%

While ratings were mixed overall, Lin’s films from Fast Five onward earned Certified Fresh scores in contrast to the earlier Rotten entries. This highlights his direction helped elevate the franchise’s critical reception.

How will Justin Lin’s departure affect core cast members?

Justin Lin shares a long history with the central Fast & Furious cast members, having directed five films spanning over a decade. His rapport with the actors helped anchor the saga. His departure could have mixed effects on core cast like Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Tyrese Gibson.

Vin Diesel

Of all the cast, Vin Diesel likely had the closest creative partnership with Justin Lin. They drove the evolution of the franchise together. Diesel was instrumental in convincing Lin to direct the later films. Creative clashes apparently led to Lin’s exit, so Diesel may need to adapt to a new director’s style.

Michelle Rodriguez

Rodriguez came back to the series in 2009 after Lin’s urging, and subsequently became a major player. She may be disappointed to lose a director who championed inclusive roles for women. But she is a franchise veteran capable of rolling with the changes.

Tyrese Gibson

Tyrese benefited greatly from Lin’s stewardship, as Roman Pearce grew into a prominent comic relief character. He could fear less screen time without an advocate like Lin. But the actor’s talent and rapport with co-stars should enable him to maintain a substantial presence.

How receptive will fans be to a Lin-less Fast & Furious?

Justin Lin helmed over half the Fast Saga films, so his creative voice is deeply ingrained in the franchise. His kinetic directing style matched its propulsive energy. Fans have greatly enjoyed his vision. While some will be let down by his departure, the saga has momentum and most will give the new director a fair chance. But Lin’s absence may be felt if the next film stumbles.

Could this delay the release of Fast 10?

The producers acted quickly to lock down a replacement director in Louis Leterrier, and sources indicate Fast X remains on track for its planned release date. Some minor delays are always possible with such a major directorial change. But Universal remains committed to releasing the film on May 19, 2023 as originally scheduled. Major delays seem unlikely given production is already well underway.

When will we learn more about what happened?

In the short term, both Justin Lin and the Fast producers seem unlikely to delve into the messy details behind his departure. The focus now is on completing Fast X. Down the road, retrospectives and interviews may reveal more about the creative differences that forced Lin off the project. But fans may need to wait until after Fast X concludes its theatrical run to get the full story.

Could the reason be related to The Rock’s role?

Tensions between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson have been heavily rumored in recent years. Speculation suggests The Rock’s expanded role as Hobbs may have been a factor in creative disputes over the script. Lin may have been caught between Diesel wanting to minimize Johnson’s role while The Rock pushed for more screen time. This clash of stars could have contributed to Lin’s difficult choice to walk away.

Is the Fast franchise now too big for any one director?

Justin Lin helmed many successful Fast entries, but the saga has evolved into a Hollywood behemoth. With an enormous cast, excessive stunts, and bloated budgets, it may have simply outgrown the control of any single director. Creative differences are inevitable with so many parties involved. The Fast juggernaut will roll on, but perhaps the scale of these mega-productions makes a long-term directorial tenure impossible.


Justin Lin’s unexpected departure from directing Fast X sent shockwaves through Hollywood. He guided the Fast & Furious franchise to new heights, so his exit due to creative differences comes as a huge surprise. Details remain sparse, but appear to involve clashes over the script and direction of the saga. While Lin will be missed, the producers have acted quickly to ensure Fast 10 stays on track for its planned release. The billion-dollar franchise seems poised to weather this storm. But Lin’s unique vision and bond with the cast and characters cannot be entirely replaced. His contributions will endure in the Fast world even as it presses on without him at the wheel.