Can you have too much of a good thing? When that thing is “Fast and Furious” franchise installments, one would think the answer would be simple— there’s no such thing.
But at least one person in the “Fast and Furious” franchise cast disagrees. This week, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced his spin-off action franchise with Jason Statham has been given the green light, most rejoiced. Two F&F movies in back-to-back years, with a whole new franchise to extend for at least a half dozen movies? Win. The Rock plays federal agent Luke Hobbs and Statham is British bad-guy-turned-good-guy Deckard Shaw. The duo’s on-screen chemistry has fueled rumors of a spin-off since they started appearing over the last three films.
But Tyrese Gibson, who played Roman Pearce in “Fast 2,” and again in 5-8, has been displeased about this for a while. You see, he and The Rock had a heart-to-heart about this spin-off, and allegedly Johnson is blatantly ignoring that heart-to-heart. Tyrese’s worry is that “Fast and Furious 9,” in which he would star, would be crowded out of its original release date, April 19, 2019, to make way for the Hobbs/Shaw project.
In a now-deleted Instagram post from September, Tyrese presaged this week’s announcement and fight: “If you move forward with that #Hobbs Movie you will have purposely ignored the heart to heart moment we had in my sprinter. I don’t wanna hear from you until you remember what we talked about. I’m on your timeline cause you’re not responding to my text messages – #FastFamily is just that a family… We don’t fly solo.”
First off, I love that all beef has to come with hashtags now, and this rant’s hashtags are all on-brand. In the wake of Tyrese’s complaint, Universal Studios announced “Fast and Furious 9” was indeed pushed back to 2020 to make way for the Hobbs/Shaw movie, coming in July 2019. Tyrese had more to say about that, in announcing F9’s new date:
#PSA Congratulations to @TheRock and your brother in law aka 7 bucks producing partner @hhgarcia41 for making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU – And like you, DJ even if they call I will not be deleting this post – Gn folks see you in 2020 April #FastFamily right? Nah….. it's about #TeamDewayne #3yrs will it be worth the wait? #NoShaw just Hobbs will this be another #BayWatch? Guys guys just relax I'm just a passionate film critic
DeWayne? The careful use of hashtags in his first post suggests this misspelling of The Rock’s name is intentional.
Tyrese then throws back his shade to the original, suggesting Johnson is clamoring to be front-and-center in a franchise that should be about the family: “Diversity, love, multi ethnic worldwide multi generational, United Nations, One Race, Fast Family…… Until Dewayne showed up I guess this whole time he had a problem cause he wasn’t the ONLY ONE on the movie poster……….. I guess dreams do come true.”
Diversity, love, multi ethnic worldwide multi generational, United Nations, One Race, Fast Family…… Until Dewayne showed up I guess this whole time he had a problem cause he wasn't the ONLY ONE on the movie poster……….. I guess dreams do come true congratulations to @hhgarcia41 and @therock you guys are just amazing you really broke up the #FastFamily I tried to warn you guys… You thought I was hating…… I was simply fighting to keep the family together what makes us great is when you see us all TOGETHER we don't fly solo….. #MyLastPost today….. I got 3 years of venting on this clown – They offered but YOU didn't have to agree with a solo #HobbsMovie #OriginalFastFamily we salute you and stand on your shoulders #VinDiesel #PaulWalker #RobCohen #RomanTej were offered a spin off we TURNED IT DOWN!!!
At this point, the feud seems pretty one-sided. It remained so on Twitter for a while, with Tyrese saying The Rock should call him and accusing him of breaking up their imaginary family. To be fair, that is basically my approach to The Rock on Twitter, too — Call me! Our imaginary family is in jeopardy!
The Rock finally responded, obliquely at least, in an Instagram post, in which he worked out with a heavy chain around his neck, natch, while declaring “big dogs eat. Little crying puppies stay on the porch.” I’m pretty sure we are to presume that Johnson is a big dog, who is eating, and Tyrese a mere crying puppy.
Big dogs eat. As many of you know, it ain’t a size or gender thing…it’s a mentality thing. Shout to all my big dogs around the 🌎 as we’re over here quietly on our weekend grind earning sweat equity. Because at the end of the day, we’re always willing to put in the raw hard work for the one thing we relentlessly chase daily – the results. Heavy ass chains around your neck are always optional. Have a hungry and productive week 🤙🏾#HardestWorkersInTheRoom #BigDogsEat
Johnson followed that up with a celebratory post for the Hobbs/Shaw franchise, which is also shade-sprinkled:
I have a tremendous amount of respect for this franchise that I’ve enjoyed droppin’ blood and sweat in over the years and my vision is to create greater opportunities for not only my fellow FF cast mates, but for other amazing actors as well who want to be a part of something new and cool.
I want to use my spinoff platform to create new characters that fans will ultimately love to have fun with in multiple chapters and platforms. Film, TV, Digital, Virtual Reality etc.. the more opportunities we can create the better for the fans.
Let’s have some FUN and to quote, Hobbs the boss, if you don’t like it, we’re happy to beat that ass like a Cherokee drum.
That #CandyAssesNeedNotApply is a reference to The Rock’s own 2016 Instagram post, which called some of his coworkers on “F8 of the Furious” “candyasses.” At that time, the feud was primarily between Vin Diesel and The Rock, as the two biggest alphas of the franchise refused to appear on camera together throughout the film.
Speaking of Diesel, he had something to say during all of this, but was more subtle than Tyrese. On Instagram he wrote “Brotherhood,” with a picture of the original franchise stars: the late Paul Walker, Tyrese, and himself.
That seems like a clear declaration of his side in this feud, but a day later, Diesel posted a picture of Johnson and him with the caption, “Brotherhood…with all its complexities.” He went on to explain this is all part of growing the franchise and the family: “I know there has been a lot of speculation as to why the Fast 9 release date was pushed… but it would be unfair to say it is anyone’s fault.”
It reads like Diesel understands the potential for the Hobbs/Shaw movie and what conscientious objectors in the family are up against in the combined charisma of Johnson and Statham (who has been silent during this dust-up).
Brotherhood… and all it's complexities. This scene was filmed in Puerto Rico, I can remember it like it was yesterday. Such a beautiful island, the people were so warm and welcoming. I turned 43 that summer… and my son Vincent was born. A woman named Jan Kelly responded to a question I had asked on Facebook, 'who they would like to see me work with?' She said would love to see me work with Dwayne… I listened to her request and he became Hobbs. I know there has been a lot of speculation as to why the Fast 9 release date was pushed… but it would be unfair to say it is anyone's fault. As we plot the course to expand the Fast & Furious universe, one must be mindful to take stock of the roads we took to get here. The pillars of authenticity, family and most importantly, our loyal fan’s perspective has been instrumental in procuring success. However, like any vehicle that has run around the globe 8 times, the franchise is in need of maintenance. My good friend and the godfather of Universal, Ron Meyer has granted me the time to do just that. We have some very exciting news to share soon… stay tuned. Yours truly, Dom #FamilyAlways
Tyrese reposted that picture, notably liked by another franchise star, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, with some more commentary. Speaking to TMZ today, Tyrese continued to be loquacious:
“Everybody’s coming at me like I’m hating on Dwayne about his spinoff but I’m not,” he said. “The truth is, I just wish he was releasing it at a different time….He’s the reason we’re pushing the release date back now,” the “Baby Boy” actor said. “I just got a problem with Dwayne, it appears that he’s being selfish, it appears that he’s so focused on furthering his own self-interests.”
Tyrese then dug up a two-year-old video of The Rock calling his “Black Rose” album “dog sh*t” in sundry, descriptive ways, though it’s unclear whether Johnson was joking in the video or why Tyrese would post such a savage review if it were sincere.
At this point, this feud seems more like a bit of a side solo project for Tyrese than a family endeavor. We’ll see what the next two years brings.