3 Candidates to Replace Justin Lin as ‘Fast X’ Director

The Fast and the Furious series went from being inspired by a magazine article to becoming a massively bankable movie franchise. Since 2001, the nine movies in the series have trickled into theaters every couple of years at the height of summer blockbuster season, and there’s no end in sight. The tenth entry, Fast X, started shooting in April 2022, but things hit a snag when director Justin Lin stepped down a week into shooting. Quickly replacing Lin is a top priority.

With a budget in place, actors committed, and deadlines to meet, Fast X needs a new director as soon as possible. Three candidates seem ideally suited to step in and keep production on track.

Justin Lin of 'The Fast and the Furious' franchise stepped down as director of 'Fast X' and needs to be replaced.
Justin Lin | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Justin Lin steps down as ‘Fast X’ director

Lin is a The Fast and the Furious veteran. He directed the third through sixth movies in the series (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6), and he wrote, directed, and produced F9

 Lin wrote the following in a statement posted to The Fast Saga Twitter account:

“With the support of Universal, I have made the difficult decision to step back as director of Fast X while remaining with the project as a producer. Over 10 years and five films, we have been able to shoot the best actors, the best stunts, and the best damn car chases. On a personal note, as the child of Asian immigrants, I am proud of helping to build the most diverse franchise in movie history. I will forever be grateful to the amazing cast, crew, and studio for their support, and for welcoming me into the Fast family.”

Justin Lin

Lin is out as Fast X director but remains a producer, which means he still has a financial stake in the movie’s success. It also means he has the incentive to get someone in the director’s chair as soon as possible so the movie can stay on track for the summer of 2023 release. Three candidates with ties to the series seem ideal to replace Lin on Fast X.

Three candidates to replace Lin as ‘Fast X’ director

David Ayer (top left), Rob Cohen (top right), and Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are all candidates to replace Justin Lin as 'Fast X' director.
David Ayer (top left), Rob Cohen (top right), and Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (bottom l-r) | Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Deadline; Noel Vasquez/Getty Images; Jemal Countess/FilmMagic

David Ayer

Ayer has ties to the franchise. He wrote the screenplay for the first movie, and he penned a script for The Fast and the Furious: Underground short in 2019. But his familiarity with the series isn’t the only reason he’s a good candidate.

He’s directed other action movies recently, including Suicide Squad and Bright, so he knows how to handle himself on those types of films. Plus, Ayer’s schedule isn’t all that heavy. He has a few recently announced projects as a writer and producer on the table, but nothing is currently in production, per IMDb

Rob Cohen

Cohen could be a tricky get as he’s attached to direct Speedhunters, which is in pre-production according to IMDb. However, actors or a potential release date are yet to be determined. It’s not outlandish to think the Fast X producers could lure Cohen off Speedhunters to replace Lin and keep production on track (if they make it worth his while). Cohen also has The Fast and the Furious experience as he directed the first movie in the series. 

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

The European directing tandem comes as a package deal. And what a package. El Arbi and Fallah helmed 2020 hit Bad Boys for Life, and they’re currently in post-production on Batgirl and two episodes of the TV series Ms. Marvel (per El Arbi’s IMDb profile).

They know how to handle themselves on big-budget Hollywood action movies, and their shared schedule appears to be somewhat light at the moment. It would be an outside-of-the-box choice, but one that might help shift the franchise in a new direction.

​​What we know about ‘Fast X’ so far

Aside from who will replace Lin as director, we know plenty about Fast X roughly a year out from the release date.

Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang, Ludacris, and Nathalie Emmanuel return from F9: The Fast Saga

Diesel, who served as a producer on six earlier entries in the franchise, previously announced Portuguese actor Daniela Melchior had joined the project. Brie Larson came on just before shooting started, and Jason Momoa will play a bad-boy villain.

Once the producers figure out who will replace Lin as the director, all the pieces are in place for Fast X to storm into theaters in 2023.

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