Fans know a few details about Fast & Furious 11 at this point, including the fact that it could very well be the final installment in Universal Pictures’ high-octane blockbuster franchise. And as of late, Vin Diesel and the cast have discussed the franchise’s conclusion. For them, the movie will mark the end of a cinematic journey, which has spanned decades. One of the series’ OGs, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, spoke with CinemaBlend about saying goodbye to this blockbuster behemoth of an IP. At the same time, he also opened up about his biggest goal for the upcoming film.
Ludacris made his first appearance as Tej Parker in 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, with the character being established as a race host and friend of Brian O’Conner. The A-lister was then absent from the franchise for several years, before Parker resurfaced in 2011’s Fast Five. Since then, he’s popped up in all of the films and has become a core part of Toretto’s crew. His fate – along with those of several others – is left unclear by the end of Fast X (which left fans with questions about FF 11). However, it’s more than fair to assume that he’ll pop up again for the gang’s last ride.
With that in mind, I couldn’t help but ask the “Money Maker” performer about the beloved, automobile-infused series when I spoke to him (and Lil Rel Howery) in promotion of their new movie, Dashing Through the Snow. I specifically asked the entertainer if he’s prepared to bid farewell to Tej, and his response might surprise you:
Man, listen, I prepared myself to say goodbye after 2 Fast 2 Furious, the only one I was in, and then we came back for 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
Based on his comments, the fan-favorite entertainer didn’t even believe he was going to return after his first outing in this fictional universe. So everything since has pretty much been the icing on the cake for him. He’s always seemed to appreciate what these movies have done for his career. And that’s probably why at his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony earlier this year, he spoke about how Vin Diesel and Fast changed his life. In addition to asking about saying goodbye, I was also eager to get his thoughts on his main goal for the eleventh movie, and it seems he knows exactly what he wants:
My goal, no matter what is going on, is to always give something to the audience that they don't know about Tej so that you continue to learn something new about him. And if we're not able to grow the character, then I feel like my job there is no longer necessary. And luckily, we have been able to show something outside of what you already knew about him in each film. And so that's how I feel, man, and I love that he continues… He just progresses every single time. Nobody knew he could fight, you know, he started whooping ass after a certain amount of time. So it's just a lot that you don't know that you’re starting to find out.
You can’t argue with Ludacris’ desire to have his character continue to grow in interesting ways that keep audiences invested in his journey. It’s also been fun to see how Tej has evolved since his inaugural appearance. I’m not sure how many people would’ve pegged him for being one of the Toretto crew’s resident tech geniuses, but he is indeed integral to their cause in that regard. And as the Hustle & Flow pointed out, the man has also proved that he’s more than formidable in a fight.
More on Fast & Furious
Fast X saw Parker working alongside his allies amid their war against the devious and unpredictable Dante Reyes, who sought revenge on Dom for the death of his father. At the same time, Tej, Han Lue, Ramsey and Roman Pierce try to evade the authorities after the team was framed for a bombing in Rome. In the final scene, the quartet arrived by plane to assist Dom, though the aircraft was shot down by crooked enforcement official Aimes. Their fates remain uncertain as a result of that cliffhanger, and many are surely waiting anxiously to find out how that narrative thread is resolved.
In the meantime though, it sounds regardless of what happens, Ludacris will be prepared to say goodbye to Tej Parker whenever that moment arrives. It’ll be exciting to see how the character’s arc ultimately concludes, and I hope the hip hop veteran’s aim to add more layers to Tej pans out.
The Fast & Furious movies are currently streaming on various platforms, and the eleventh installment is currently slated to ride into theaters on April 4, 2025. You can also stream his latest title on the schedule of 2023 new movie releases, Dashing Through the Snow, using a Disney+ subscription.