'Fast and Furious' star threatens to quit franchise unless the female cast gets bigger roles
The Fast and Furious series continues to be one of the more remarkable franchises in cinematic history. Beginning in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious, which, let's face it, was a glorified Point Break remake, the series has morphed into a global phenomenon that has transcended the racing genre. But outside of Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez, the films have generally featured a predominantly male cast; while the latest movie did add Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren to the mix, Brewster was absent since Paul Walker's character was written out of the series.
Even the female characters that do play a role in the Fast and Furious films generally take a back seat to the series' male stars — namely Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner. Lately, Dwayne Johnson's Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw have taken larger roles in the franchise. Now, it seems that the lack of screen time and compelling storylines for the series' female characters is starting to bother Michelle Rodriguez. The actress said as much in a recent Instagram post touting the latest film's digital release.
"I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one," wrote Rodriguez. "Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It's been a good ride [and I'm] grateful for the opportunity the fans [and] studio have provided over the years... One Love."
The latest film, The Fate of the Furious, is the eighth movie in the franchise, and has proved there is more than a little life left in the series. The film has banked an outstanding $1.23 billion worldwide, making it the 11th-highest grossing movie of all time — more than every Marvel movie that doesn't have Avengers in the title. The eighth installment is intended to be the start of a new trilogy that will end the main series at 10 movies. And losing Rodriguez from the next two would be a major narrative hit — though whether that would slow down the series' box office prowess is uncertain at this point.
Outside of Dominic Toretto, Rodriguez's character, Letty Ortiz, is the only other main star remaining from the first film. While at times Ortiz's function has been primarily as Toretto's love interest, she is one of the more badass female characters in film today. Presumably, Rodriguez already has a contract in place for the ninth and 10th films, which are currently slated to be released in 2019 and 2021, respectively. It also stands to reason that the writing process, or at least the planning stage, is well underway, leaving only so much time for drastic changes.
Whether any alterations will be made that appease Rodriguez is, at the moment, unclear, but it would certainly be a shame to lose a character that has been a fixture in the series for more than 16 years.