If the writers behind the Fast & Furious films ever feel tapped for ideas, all they have to do is mine the real-life drama unfolding around the mega-franchise for inspiration. The highly publicized beef between stars Dwayne Johnson and Tyrese Gibson went nuclear this week after Universal officially announced the long-rumored spin-off that will be built around Johnson and Jason Statham’s respective characters.
While fans of the franchise might be high-fiving at the prospect of more shiny cars moving both fast and furiously, not everyone is behind the expansion of this latest cinematic universe. Gibson has long been opposed to a Johnson-led spin-off and has openly criticized the star on social media. According to Gibson—who’s been with the franchise from the beginning only to have Johnson came on board later—any Fast offshoot would delay the next film in the main franchise. As it turns out, he was right. Just 24 hours prior to the spin-off announcement, Universal confirmed that Fast 9 will be pushed from its original April 19, 2019 release date to April 10, 2020. Johnson’s spin-off meanwhile, is scheduled hit theaters on July 26, 2019.
Gibson wasted little time in calling out Johnson on Instagram, unleashing a scathing verbal assault that paints Johnson as an ego-driven movie star unwilling to share the spotlight with his Fast costars.
“Diversity, love, multi ethnic worldwide multi generational, United Nations, One Race, Fast Family……,” Gibson wrote underneath an image of the original Fast cast. “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.”
This of course, isn’t the first time Gibson has slammed Johnson on social media. Last month, as the possibility of a Johnson-led spin-off inched closer to becoming a reality, Gibson basically begged Johnson not to move forward, using the franchise’s “family first” ethos as a kind of bargaining chip. “If you move forward with that #Hobbs Movie you will have purposely ignored the heart to heart moment we had in my sprinter,” he wrote at the time. “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.”
Gibson seems to be forgetting what sphere he’s operating in. In Hollywood, the concept of family or loyalty is frivolous. Few businesses are as cutthroat as the movie business, where box office is everything. So if Universal can expand on its most profitable franchise with the help of the world’s most bankable action star, why would it hesitate?
This isn’t the first time Johnson’s growing prominence in the Fast universe has rankled some of the franchise’s elder statesmen. The feud between Johnson and Vin Diesel is also well documented. Diesel couldn’t help but weigh in on the week’s developments with his own Instagram post featuring himself with Gibson, the late Paul Walker and the caption “Brotherhood…” written underneath.
Clearly a line has been drawn between the franchise’s original stars and its more recent additions, who only came on board after it was an already established financial juggernaut. And with the battle of egos and jostling for pole position expected to rage on as Johnson slowly becomes the face of the franchise, we can officially start looking forward to all the awkward press tours to come. Hey, no family is perfect.