2 Fast 2 Furious: Every Original Movie Character Who Didn’t Return (& Why)
2 Fast 2 Furious didn’t bring back the majority of The Fast and the Furious’ cast members. Here’s why Vin Diesel and others didn’t appear.
Paul Walker returned as Brian O’Conner to lead 2 Fast 2 Furious, but the sequel left out a lot of characters from the original movie. The Fast & Furious franchise is now one of the biggest in all of Hollywood, but it started from humble beginnings. The low-budget street racing film The Fast and the Furious hit theaters in 2001 and made over $200 million worldwide – more than five times its budget.
After the success of The Fast and the Furious, Universal moved quickly to get a sequel in motion. John Singleton was hired to direct 2 Fast 2 Furious and the studio began developing multiple versions of the script. The story that ultimately made its way into the movie saw Brian O’Conner go to Miami and become involved in another undercover mission. The new direction for the franchise saw many new characters introduced. Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej Parker (Ludacris) made their first appearances in the franchise and have gone on to be staples of the series, while Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes) debuted here as well.
With the new characters featured alongside Brian, 2 Fast 2 Furious works more as a spinoff than a true sequel to The Fast and the Furious. Outside of Brian, the only character from the first movie to return was his former FBI boss Agent Bilkins (Thom Barry). As a result, fans of The Fast and the Furious missed out on seeing many familiar faces in 2 Fast 2 Furious, and here’s what is known about why each one didn’t appear.
Star Vin Diesel didn’t return as Dom Toretto in 2 Fast 2 Furious due to the script. Diesel was very involved with the making of the first film and was pleased with how The Fast and the Furious turned out. He wasn’t interested in doing a sequel just for the sake of getting a franchise off the ground though. Diesel thought that the version of the script that included a role for Dom was not good enough to be made, despite Universal reportedly offering him $25 million to star. Instead of demanding for more rewrites of the script so 2 Fast 2 Furious’ story met his expectations, Diesel simply decided to walk away instead. At the time, it might have been for good, until he agreed to cameo in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift.
Michelle Rodriguez was not part of the cast of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Rodriguez had a major role to play as Letty Ortiz in The Fast and the Furious, as she is Dom’s girlfriend and a skilled member of his team too. This resulted in her getting to know Brian, but she wasn’t part of his story in 2 Fast 2 Furious. There have not been any specific reasons given for why Letty did not return. However, the absence of her is likely just a result of the story. Letty could’ve been included in the version of the movie that included Dom, but it would’ve been strange to see her team-up with Brian at this stage. So, without a clear role to play in 2 Fast 2 Furious, it made sense for Letty to not return.
Jordana Brewster’s Mia Toretto wasn’t included in 2 Fast 2 Furious either. Similarly to Rodriguez, a particular reason for her not returning has not been shared. But, the inclusion of Mia would’ve made more sense. She is set up as a love interest for Brian in The Fast and the Furious, and they end up getting married in later installments of the franchise. Mia and Brian might not be officially together at this point, but Brian did ruin his career as a cop to let Mia’s brother be free. Mia having a role in 2 Fast 2 Furious would’ve been believable and further planted the seeds for her and Brian’s love.
Another member of Dom’s team, Johnny Strong didn’t play Leon again in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Leon wasn’t given too big of a role in The Fast and the Furious. He helped save Letty’s life near the end of the film and the only tease of what happened to him next was Dom saying he and Letty are “long gone.” Although this ending leaves his future open-ended, what happened to Leon next didn’t include crossing paths with Brian again. In fact, this proved to be the end of Leon’s story in the Fast & Furious franchise so far, as Strong has not appeared in any of the sequels. After watching Jesse die and more of his friends nearly doing the same, Strong believes Leon simply walked away from this lifestyle once The Fast and the Furious ended.
Matt Schulze didn’t return as Vince in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Vince is one of Dom’s best friends and an integral piece to his crew, but he still didn’t get a role in The Fast and the Furious’ sequel. The reason for Vince’s absence isn’t confirmed, although it is likely just a function of him not fitting with 2 Fast 2 Furious. Vince and Brian repeatedly clashed, so his appearance in 2 Fast 2 Furious would be strange. Perhaps that would’ve been different if Dom was included in the sequel. The good news for Schulze, though, is that he did return for Fast Five, even if it was only to die.
2 Fast 2 Furious also didn’t feature the return of Ja Rule as Edwin, but it was considered. Edwin is a fellow street racer who went up against Dom and Brian in The Fast and the Furious but lost the quarter-mile race. Director John Singleton originally wanted Rule to return as Edwin for 2 Fast 2 Furious. The role would’ve seen the rapper-turned-actor get a redemptive arc and play a similar role to Tej Parker. However, Ja Rule turned down the chance to appear due to money and scheduling. This left Singleton to cast Ludacris as Tej and create a new major franchise character.
FBI sergeant Tanner, played by Ted Levine, wasn’t included in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Tanner worked with Agent Bilkins to oversee the LAPD-FBI case to capture Dom and his crew. While Bilkins returned for the sequel, The Fast and the Furious proved to be Levine’s only appearance as Tanner in the franchise. It isn’t known why he didn’t return, especially since he could’ve worked alongside Bilkins again as they tracked down Brian.