Spoilers for ‘Fast X’ below.
Your mileage may vary on Fast X. The latest installment of the now two-decades-long franchise is hitting theaters to decidedly mixed reviews (yours truly enjoyed it more than Fate and F9, while the editor of this very piece gave it a 1.5 on Letterboxd). One thing most can agree on is that the ending is a big deal.
Originally, the film was intended to function as the first of a two-part send-off to the series– that is, before star Vin Diesel revealed on the red carpet that he may expand to a third installment. The film concludes, inEmpire Strikes Back fashion, with our heroes scattered to the wind, and many of the Toretto family left for “dead” by the machinations of diabolical bad guy Dante (Jason Momoa, the only actor in this movie having fun.) Dead, of course, means nothing in a franchise that has invalidated more character deaths than your mother’s favorite soap opera. Case in point: one of the movie’s final scenes finds Cipher (Charlize Theron, finally given something to do) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) emerging over a frozen ridgeline in Antarctica. After escaping from a top secret, high-security prison, they crest a frozen rise to see a submarine emerge from the ice, piloted by none other than Gal Gadot’s previously departed Gisele. (Apparently she managed to survive her fall onto the world’s longest runway.)
The production managed to keep that shocker under wraps—though it had been long speculated—but an even bigger surprise was spoiled shortly after the film’s international premiere. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is back as Agent Luke Hobbs.
After the mid-credits roll, we pick up with a strike team of masked soldiers infiltrating a warehouse owned by Dante. As one troop breaks off from the group, the figure encounters a series of monitors, similar to a setup Dom encounters in the preceding film. It’s here that a recorded message from Dante plays, helpfully reminding the audience that while Dom played a critical role in the death of Dante’s father, Herman Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), it was Hobbs who actually pulled the trigger.
“The Devil is coming for you,” Dante’s voiceover growls, before the goggled commando pulls off his head covering to reveal: Dwayne Johnson himself. Cue fist pumps. Agent Hobbs, now officially back in the mainline story says, in a perfect pro wrestling promo, “Well, I ain’t hard to find, you sumbitch.”
Johnson’s return (seemingly!) marks a ceasefire in the extensive feud between Johnson and Diesel. TL;DR, but it essentially boils down to the fact the two had a massive falling out while filming the eighth Fast film. Apparently the beef got so bad that the two didn’t shoot any of their scenes together. Johnson went on to break off from “the family” with the Hobbs & Shaw spin-off, generating massive box office.
In November 2021, Diesel posted an emotional plea on Instagram for Johnson to return to the franchise. A few weeks later, Johnson denied the request during an interview with CNN and elaborated on Fate’s contentious set to Vanity Fair.
It’s unclear when or what caused Johnson to change his mind and play ball—it’s possible the scuttling of his plans to turn Black Adam into a major cornerstone of the DCEU may have been a motivator. Or maybe it was the realization that being in the proposed final set of films benefits him, regardless of Diesel. Either way, the verdict is still out on whether Diesel and Johnson will actually film scenes together. It’s an exciting olive branch nonetheless—and one way to ensure the Fast movies have something left in the tank before they reach the end of the road.