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Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in Fast & Furious franchise

The majority of the public obviously knows Vin Diesel first and foremost as an actor, but this year, the Hollywood officially added ‘singer’ to his professional resume. Back in September, Diesel released his first single, titled “Feel Like I Do,” and he followed that up with “Days Are Gone” in October. So why did Diesel decide to embark on a singing career? We have Paul Walker, his late Fast & Furious costar and close friend, to thank for that.

Vin Diesel did musical theater as a kid and started rapping in the early 1980s, and for about a decade, he’s shared videos on social media of himself performing various covers. However, when Diesel first started posting these karaoke videos, he was told by certain parties that it was “dangerous” for him to be singing publicly due to his action star image. It was Paul Walker who convinced Diesel to keep going with this creative endeavor. As Diesel recalled to People:

Bless my brother's soul. I remember in London when I told Pablo that all these people were concerned that I was singing, he was the one who said, 'Don't ever stop singing, you know you have something special.'

Having first worked together on 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker were close friends until the latter’s tragic death in 2013. But all these years later, Walker’s influence on Diesel’s life is still being felt. Diesel had to put his greater singing aspirations on hold for years due to shooting movies, but this year’s health crisis freed up his schedule and allowed him to further pursue this passion. Had Walker not said those words to him all those years ago, who knows if Diesel would have ever delivered his own singles to the masses?

Following the first Fast & Furious movie, the franchise saw Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor and Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto separating, with 2 Fast 2 Furious following the former and the latter only cameoing at the end of Tokyo Drift, which otherwise starred all-new characters. But when 2009’s Fast & Furious rolled around, Brian and Dom reunited, and that paved the way for the two characters to become as close as brothers. While Walker is sadly no longer with us, Brian is still alive in the Fast & Furious universe, having last appeared in Furious 7 and now left the life of car-centric heists to focus on caring for his family.

Vin Diesel isn’t the only Fast & Furious actor who still thinks fondly back to his time with Paul Walker. Last year, Tyrese Gibson, who plays Roman Pearce, said that he and the other cast and crew members kept thinking about Walker when they were filming F9, and Walker’s family continues to support the franchise. Diesel also revealed earlier this year that it was Walker’s idea to keep the main film series going for 10 movies, so Diesel was determined to honor that goal, although that number has since extended to 11.

It remains to be seen when Vin Diesel will drop his next single, but those of you looking forward to seeing him back in action as Dominic Toretto can expect that next summer. The ninth Fast & Furious movie sees Dom clashing with his estranger brother Jakob (played by John Cena), who has allied himself with Cipher, the main antagonist from The Fate of the Furious. Diesel will also be taking part in Avatar 2, although who he’s playing hasn’t been revealed yet.

F9 races into theaters on May 28, 2021, and Avatar 2 is slated for December 16, 2022. Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on Vin Diesel’s acting and singing work, and don’t forget to keep track of movies coming soon with our 2021 release schedule.

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