Fast X’s Candy-ass Mid-Credits Scene, Explained

With the context of a very public beef between two very large men, there’s more going on here than in your average post-film teaser. Photo: Peter Mountain/Universal Pictures

Warning: This post spoils many plot details of Fast X.

In their decadent, late-period incarnation, the Fast & Furious movies often split the difference between superhero world-building and the tongue-in-cheek goofiness of a lighter James Bond movie. So it’s appropriate that Fast X’s mid-credits sequence — not post-credits, to be pedantic about it — combines those elements as well. But with the context of a very public beef between two very large men and the flailing fortunes of other film franchises, there’s more going on here than in your average post-film teaser.

The scene opens with a gaggle of Special Forces types clearing a dank hallway draped in ragged plastic sheeting — reminiscent of the abandoned police station where Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) tracked the movie’s big bad Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa) earlier in the film. A figure who appears to be an elite gunman in tactical sunglasses and a black balaclava makes his way past rows of seats covered in tarps in a crumbling movie palace.

The vibe is, in short, haunted as hell. As the soldier approaches the stage, draped in more plastic and blank video monitors, we find the source of the spooky musical cue that’s been playing throughout the sequence: Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing “Happy Trails” on one of those old, bricklike portable TVs. A cell phone placed in front of it rings. The big guy picks up.

“Howdy, partner,” a voice says. “Do you like surprises?”

It’s Reyes, re-relitigating the ending of Fast Five. One thing that latter-day Fast & Furious movies love to do is cut back to a scene they already showed at a slightly wider angle, pulling back to reveal a new guy standing next to the guy we already knew was there. This tendency reaches its apotheosis in Fast X’s mid-credits sequence, recycling footage from Fast Five, which we already saw again in the opening scene of Fast X. “You’ve done some dastardly dirty deeds. You’ve taken the most important thing in my life from me,” Reyes says right before we see his character’s dad die again — just in case we didn’t make the connection the first time.

“And now I’m gonna make you suffer,” Reyes adds, because when you’re trying to stretch your big finale into three two-hour movies, you don’t want to kill anyone off right away. “The devil is coming for you.” A spotlight, presumably coming from the projection booth, flashes on, bathing the figure in light. In case the sheer size of the character’s forearms didn’t give it away, he dramatically takes off his helmet and pulls down his face covering. The big-applause moment has arrived: It’s Dwayne Johnson! “I ain’t hard to find, you sum’bitch,” he growls and crushes the phone in one of his massive hand.

Last we left Johnson’s character, super-soldier and intelligence operative Agent Lucas Hobbs, he had given up on the will-they-won’t-they of alternately helping and hindering Dom’s crew in Fast & Furious five through eight. Instead, he’d taken his skills in manly bickering to London, where the CIA (Universal, whatever) paired him up with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) — another of the series’ erstwhile frenemies — for a high-stakes mission with shades of tough-guy family values in spinoff Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019).

That film had only the loosest of ties to the Toretto-family saga for reasons that go beyond Hollywood’s passion for milking IP. While filming The Fate of the Furious in 2016, Johnson took to Instagram to air his grievances with an unnamed “family” member, writing in a (since-deleted but thoroughly documented) caption: “Some [male co-stars] conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t. The ones that don’t are too chicken shit to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses.” He hashtagged the post “zero tolerance for candy asses,” and a feud was born.

Everyone suspected that Vin Diesel was the “candy ass” in question, though Johnson walked back his statements two days later, writing, “family is gonna have differences of opinion … I was raised on healthy conflict and welcome it. And like any family, we get better from it.” Still, #CandyAss dominated the movie’s press tour the following spring, and rumors from the set claimed that Diesel and Johnson had butted heads so often that they ended up shooting their scenes separately. Tellingly, Diesel was the only co-star Johnson didn’t tag in his Instagram post about the end of filming.

Diesel implicated himself in multiple interviews, including one in which he said, “It’s not always easy being an alpha. And it’s two alphas.” In a cast full of cutups, tough gals, tech whizzes, and the supreme professionalism of one Mr. Kurt Russell, who else could the other alpha be? Scott Eastwood? (No offense to Scott Eastwood.) Whether it was kayfabe — Johnson is one of the most successful pro wrestlers of all time — or real animosity between two men who are not used to sharing space with anyone who’s as big, bald, and charismatic as they are, the damage was done. Johnson sat out F9 and (most of) Fast X and seemed to have gotten his own spinoff in the proverbial divorce. In 2021, Johnson told CNN that his and Diesel’s differences were irreconcilable and that he had told Diesel “directly — and privately — that I would not be returning to the franchise.”

Exhibit A. Photo: Universal Pictures

What changed? As we’ve mentioned, Johnson was a pro wrestler for many years and could have been playing the heel this whole time in order to whip up audience interest in an emotional onscreen reunion with Diesel. There’s that, then there’s Black Adam. Johnson’s stab at solo superhero stardom was critically reviled and grossed less than $400 million worldwide — a weak performance given the star power and name recognition involved. That’s $360 million less than Hobbs & Shaw — which, to be fair, came out before the COVID-19 pandemic and did excellent numbers overseas. (Johnson went on the offensive after Variety called Black Adam a box-office “bust,” tweeting that it would probably turn a modest profit once all the secondary-revenue services had been accounted for, thanks.)

Nevertheless, a Hobbs & Shaw sequel isn’t coming anytime soon. Which is not to say that Johnson doesn’t have anything going on at the moment: He’s filming sequels to 2021’s Jungle Cruise and 2015’s San Andreas. And Shane Black’s long-awaited Doc Savage movie (starring Johnson in the title role) is supposedly still happening. But in terms of big-name series with big paydays, returning to F&F is Johnson’s best bet. Diesel has already expressed a willingness to bury the candy-ass hatchet, writing on Instagram in November, “Hobbs can’t be played by no other. I hope that you rise to the occasion and fulfill your destiny.”

So what will Dwayne Johnson’s (and Luke Hobbs’s) return to the Fast & Furious fold look like? With no Hobbs & Shaw sequel in the works (for now) and Dom’s greatest enemy now Hobbs’s greatest enemy as well, the most probable outcome is that either Dom will get wind of Hobbs’s problems with F&F nepo-Joker Dante or Hobbs will come to him directly for help in F&F 11 or 12. The two will then have to overcome their differences and band together to save the world by driving cars really fast — rebuilding the stars’ real-life relationship as well as their characters’ fictional one.

It’s the kind of corny redemption arc that Diesel — who’s a producer on the F&F series and its biggest cheerleader as well as its star — loves. In his pleas for Johnson to squash their beef and return to the F&F fold, he often said that his kids call Johnson “Uncle Dwayne,” which is about as close as you can get to an emotional A-bomb in Diesel’s sentimental universe. The fact that doing it for the money, doing it for the fans, and doing it for the family are all the same thing in this instance can’t hurt either.

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Fast X’s Candy-ass Mid-Credits Scene, Explained