For years, one of the internet’s dirty little secrets has been that people really enjoy The Fast of the Furious: Tokyo Drift. A healthy flop at the time of its release  —  the film’s $60 million gross is half that of 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second-lowest grossing movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise  —  Tokyo Drift has climbed steadily back into fans’ favor due to the lasting appeal of Sung Kang’s Han Lue and a bit of chronological trickery in a later film that boosted this one’s reputation. It’s amazing how much better a film gets when you stop being mad at it for failing to bring back any of the main characters.

And with people finally accepting Tokyo Drift as part of the franchise, the talent involved are having some candid conversations about the movie that almost was. In a recent interview with Uproxx (via Heroic Hollywood), series screenwriter Chris Morgan shared that the original plan for Tokyo Drift was to bring Vin Diesel to Tokyo, not Lucas Black:

There was an open writing call for the third film. I think originally I came in and pitched. Essentially it was Tokyo Drift, but it was with Vin, and his character kind of had to go out and learn drifting. And there was a murder he had to solve.

While I like Vin Diesel as much more than the next guy, it’s hard to imagine Dominic Toretto being enough to salvage a movie without any other members of “the family.” That being said, Morgan does admit in the interview that the creative team altered the entire timeline of the franchise just “to be able to hold onto [Sung Kang] for a few movies longer,” confirming that Tokyo Drift played an important role in the franchise even if you don’t care about the story or the characters. It’s rare to see a franchise make it to eight movies without a single flop, but now that Tokyo Drift is back among the angels, maybe that’s exactly what we have.

Fate of the Furious hits theaters this Friday.

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