Vin Diesel returned to Fast & Furious in exchange to the rights to another franchise
The reasons behind his return for the fourth movie are directly tied to him deciding to leave the second movie.
As we reported during the first episode of TBR Spotlight: The Fast & Furious Saga, there were a few reasons why Vin Diesel decided to drop out of the franchise after that first movie.
Despite being offered a big pay day, he went off to make The Chronicles of Riddick instead, and the first sequel went ahead with just Paul Walker returning.
The initial idea for the third Fast & Furious movie involved Vin Diesel travelling to Tokyo and trying to solve a murder (a plot point that would be reworked into the fourth movie), but again, he turned it down, as did Paul Walker and pretty much everyone involved.
On the second episode of TBR Spotlight: The Fast & Furious Saga, in which Eoghan, Garry and Rory tackle the third and fourth Fast & Furious movies, they discuss [LISTEN from 30.30 below] what it took for Vin Diesel to actually return to the series.
When The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift was first test screened, it apparently didn't go down fantastically (not that the finished movie did either, scoring just 37% on Rotten Tomatoes).
Universal then turned to Diesel for a small reshoot that would tease his return as the front and centre character for the fourth entry in the series, 2009's Fast & Furious.
Diesel agreed and actually didn't even take an acting fee for his return. Instead, he asked Universal to sign over the rights to the franchise of Riddick to him.
Despite 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick being a critical and commercial dud, Diesel felt that his time with the character wasn't done, which then allowed him to produce 2013's Riddick, which went back to the bare bones nature of the origins of the character, 2000's Pitch Black.
In a nice moment of full circle symmetry, Universal would also come back to distribute Riddick in cinemas around the world.
It wasn't a massive hit - the $38 million budget made $98 million at the box office, and it scored 57% on Rotten Tomatoes - but there has been discussions of a fourth Riddick movie ever since.
Regardless, it was enough to get Diesel back behind the wheel for that teaser at the end of Tokyo Drift and he was reinstated as the Fast & Furious franchise's leading star ever since.
Fast & Furious and all of the other entries in The Fast Saga are all available to watch on NOW right now, while Fast & Furious 9 is currently scheduled to arrive Irish cinemas this June.
Clip via The Fast Saga