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Mike Reyes

What Fast Saga Fan Louis Leterrier Wanted To Bring Back For Fast X, And The Classic Car He Knew Had To Be In The Movie

Vin Diesel staring off camera while leaning against a car at night in Fast X.

Fast X, one of this summer's biggest films, marks the beginning of the end for Dominic Toretto and his family. It's the first in a potential trilogy of entries that close out the Fast Saga, and writer/director Louis Leterrier’s status as a fan led him to a very specific direction while taking on the cinematic feat. His wishes came down to one element that was part of this franchise’s bedrock but had also taken a backseat to some of the more action-intense storylines presented in recent years. The filmmaker wanted to see cars racing again, and there was one vehicle he knew had to be in his movie as a result. 

Who better to reveal this fact than Louis Leterrier himself, which is exactly what he did when I had the pleasure of speaking with him for Fast X’s home entertainment release. Considering that Universal’s 2023 movie release is now currently available for digital and physical rental or purchase, it was the right time to dig into his admiration for the series he’s been following since 2001’s The Fast and the Furious. Leterrier’s love for this franchise was on full display, and part of that fandom shone brightest when he was discussing the moment he stepped in after previous director Justin Lin surprisingly departed.

While speaking with CinemaBlend, here's what the Incredible Hulk helmer thought was his first priority when he first got the keys to the Fast Saga

I wanted to see cars again, To put Dom behind the wheel of a car and race, and do quarter mile races, and fly my camera through the engine. I wanted to shoot cars like [they] hadn’t been shot before, but also paying homage to the car cinematography from the original movie. That was very exciting to me.

If you've followed the Fast and Furious timeline, then you can probably see how the handling of the vehicles began changing with 2011’s Fast Five. That crucial installment saw the drama of street racing and underground criminal activity make way for larger-scale capers. While personal grudges would continue to pop up, the threats became more global, with villains like Cipher (Charlize Theron) and Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) joining the fray. 

The days of racing for pinks and literally watching chemicals course through a car's vital systems seemed to be gone the moment macguffins like God’s Eye, or any other objects of remarkable and insane Fast Saga tech, came into frame. However, Fast X’s Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa) symbolizes a unification of the two eras, conveying that attitude of evolution in a destructively entertaining way. 

Reyes' conception might even be the one element that shows the Transporter franchise veteran’s full grasp of all things Fast. Linked to a crucial point in the series' narrative, Dante is up with all of the high-tech toys that have become endemic to the Fast Saga -- but isn’t above killing a quarter mile at a time. 

As for that one car Louis Leterrier saw as the ultimate symbol of the series, it was none other than Dom’s 1969 Dodge Charger. While it wasn’t likely that the iconic muscle car would be absent from Fast X, that didn’t stop Leterrier from falling in love with it all over again. Once again talking the evolution of this cinematic crowd-pleaser, the director opened up about these feelings that engulfed him when first seeing that automotive beast on set: 

Every franchise has to evolve, and I think they did a wonderful job evolving. I thought that there was a way to keep all the balls in the air, but land it back on a 1969 Charger. That was my goal, and lo and behold, when I arrived on set, I saw that ‘69 Charger, and I was like, ‘You are in my movie.’

While the current WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes have relegated any production on Fast and Furious 11 to the starting line, Louis Leterrier admits the Fast Saga’s ending is already plotted out. The moment negotiations allow everyone to return to work with a mutually beneficial deal, you can bet Leterrier and his Fast family will jump into action at a moment’s notice. As a fan of the series, and its current steward, that responsibility is something he obviously takes great pride in; with the franchise’s future being all the more promising as a result. 

If you want to catch up on the first five Fast Saga installments, you can use your Netflix subscription to return to those early days of street races and vault chases. But don’t forget to also check out Fast X, which is currently available for rental or purchase on Digital HD and physical media

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