Fear not, Justin Bieber won’t be joining the cast of Fast & Furious 9 anytime soon – here’s the ridiculous rumor explained and debunked. The Fast & Furious franchise began in 2001 with The Fast And The Furious and for the first seven films the focus was largely on Paul Walker and Vin Diesel characters Brian O’Conner and Dominic Toretto. Filming of the franchise’s seventh installment Furious 7, however, was interrupted by the untimely death of Paul Walker in a car crash.
At the time of his death in November 2013, Walker had only filmed a small part of his scenes but rather than scrap the movie or drop the character of Brian O’Conner from the sequel, director James Wan turned to VFX to solve the problem. After hiring Peter Jackson’s visual effects company Weta Digital, Wan was able to keep Walker in Furious 7 with the help of his brothers Caleb and Cody acting as stand-ins and some hi-tech digital trickery.
Before Fast & Furious fans learned CGI had stepped in to save the day, a rumor surfaced in December 2013 that Justin Bieber would be taking over the role of Brian O’Conner. The rumor was seemingly spurred on by a spoof trailer created by entertainment website Hollywood Life earlier in 2013 before Paul Walker’s death. Hollywood Life made the trailer – which was a mash-up of scenes from Fast & Furious movies and Justin Bieber music videos – in response to Fast & Furious co-star Ludacris jokingly stating during a red carpet interview he’d try to get his pal Bieber a part in Furious 7.
Despite its origins in a spoof trailer, the rumor gained legs and infuriated the Fast & Furious fandom. The rumor reared its ugly head once again before the eighth film The Fate Of The Furious went into production after a spurious report from satire website National Report claimed Justin Bieber would be taking over as Brian despite the fact the character retired in Furious 7. Since it’s practically tradition for the rumor to resurface whenever a new Fast & Furious sequel is on the cards, the same thing happened when Fast & Furious 9 was gearing up for production.
In reality, Justin Bieber has never been attached to the Fast & Furious franchise and he won’t be appearing in Fast & Furious 9 either. Rather, the rumor came about because of an offhand comment made by Ludacris, a spoof trailer and a so-called news report from a satire website that other outlets ran with. For now – thankfully – Bieber’s film career has been confined to cameos in films like Men In Black 3 and Zoolander 2 although Beliebers can catch him voicing the god of love in the forthcoming animation Cupid.