michelle rodriguez leave fast and furious

The Fast and Furious movies have been paragons for diversity in action blockbusters, boasting a multiracial cast of Hispanic, black, and Asian characters long before superhero franchises caught on. It was in part thanks to the films’ street-racing roots in the Latino community, and in part due to star Vin Diesel‘s insistence on working with only diverse casts. But despite all the franchise’s progress, it’s still got a women problem.

A women problem that female lead Michelle Rodriguez is calling out. Although she’s had her fair share of car stunts and fight scenes, Rodriguez is still the only woman who has stuck with the male-heavy franchise since the beginning, and now, she’s threatening to leave if she and the other female characters aren’t given better parts.

Rodriguez celebrated the release of Fate of the Furious on digital platforms on her Instagram, but took the opportunity to chastise the series for its predominantly male cast which features Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Statham, Chris Ludacris Bridges, and Kurt Russell.

“F8 is out digitally today, I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one. Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It’s been a good ride & Im grateful for the opportunity the fans & studio have provided over the years… One Love.”

Rodriguez plays Letty, the love interest and right-hand man of Diesel’s Dom, in the Fast and Furious franchise. She made her first appearance in The Fast and the Furious in 2001 and appeared in each film except for Tokyo Drift and Fast Five after getting temporarily killed off (it’s complicated).

However, despite her checkered appearances, she has appeared in the same number of movies as Jordana Brewster, who left the franchise when her character was written off after Paul Walker’s death. And let’s not even get into how poorly the franchise has treated Mia, who has spent her time in the movies off to the sidelines or kidnapped. The only other significant female characters are Gal Gadot‘s Gisele, who was also killed off alongside her love interest Han (Sung Kang), and Nathalie Emmanuel‘s genius hacker Ramsey, who only joined the franchise in Furious 7.

The worst treated has to be Elsa Pataky‘s Elena, however, who has spent her time in the movies being a kind-of-love-interest to Dom, a kind-of-partner to Hobbs (who, let’s face it, already has his bulging biceps to back him up), and a kind-of-plot-point in Fate of the Furious, only to be unceremoniously killed off.

Rodriguez is right to criticize the Fast and Furious franchise for its poor treatment of women, who seem to be inherently tied to their male love interests — even if they do get a badass fight scene in a dress every now and then.

However, with the inclusion of Charlize Theron as a villain and a scene-stealing performance from Helen Mirren in Fate of the Furious, the folks behind the Fast and Furious franchise will hopefully listen to Rodriguez’s demands and give more opportunities for female characters in the next films.

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