Last April the eighth installment to the street-racing themed action film series “Fast And Furious” premiered in cinemas and went on to break some global box office records. It says a lot about the longevity of a franchise that moviegoers are still pouring in to see the latest in a long line of sequels repeating the same elements with only cosmetic alterations.

Towards the end of May “Fate of the Furious” was announced to become available in Digital HD by June 27, and when the day arrived one of its main stars, Michelle Rodriguez, issued an unexpected ultimatum.

If the production could not grant her simple request then “Fate” would be her final appearance in the franchise.

Thinking of leaving

Michelle Rodriguez has one of the top billings on Universal’s “Fast and Furious” franchise alongside star Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker. She portrays the girlfriend (and eventual wife) of Diesel’s character since the original 2001 film and five of the sequels. However, the actress recently revealed some measure of resentment for her role and those of the other female stars in the past movies. Taking to Instagram in order to announce the digital release of “Fate of the Furious” Rodriguez abruptly called for better portrayals of women in the series, lest she departs from it herself.

Her Instagram snap showed her in several shots with her costars and a massive crowd of fans. In her caption, Rodriguez expressed her hope that Universal’s “Fast and Furious” production team would be able to “show some love” to the women involved in the franchise. The alternative, she mentions, is her having to leave the franchise after some 16 years.

“It’s been a good ride & Im{sic} grateful for the opportunity the fans & studio have provided over the years,” she concluded.

Girls get downplayed

The “Fast and Furious” film franchise has had a number of female stars appearing in it over the eight installments it has run since 2001. Aside from Michelle Rodriguez, the films also featured Jordana Brewster, Gal “Wonder Woman” Gadot, Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron.

Several of them had their characters killed off. Due to Paul Walker’s death in the making of “Fast 7” his character and that of Brewster’s, who are married, were written out as having “retired” from the action. As of “Fate of the Furious” only Rodriguez and Vin Diesel remain from the initial cast.

The actress has voiced her frustration with the seemingly limited role female characters like the one she plays have not just in the “Fast” films but in action movies in recent times. Whether her pronouncement has any effect on the next two sequels (for 2019 & 2021) after “Fate of the Furious” is yet to be known.