‘Fast and Furious’ spin-off set for 2019 debut

Dwayne Johnson attends the New York premiere of ‘The Fate of the Furious’ April 8, 2017. — Reuters pic
Dwayne Johnson attends the New York premiere of ‘The Fate of the Furious’ April 8, 2017. — Reuters pic

LOS ANGELES, Oct 6 — A Fast & Furious is indeed coming in 2019, only it’s not Fast & Furious 9 but a spin-off featuring recurring characters Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckhard Shaw (Jason Statham.)

A day after postponing Fast & Furious 9 from April 2019 to April 2020, Universal Pictures has confirmed that the gap will be filled by the franchise’s first non-numbered, feature-length spin-off.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are slated to return, with Johnson’s security agent Hobbs and Statham’s lethal assassin Shaw as the movie’s leads.

Over the course of 2015’s Furious 7 and 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, Shaw’s arc has been in line with the franchise’s tendency to see what happens when core characters are given a change in motivation or circumstance.

By the end of Fate of the Furious, he and Hobbs had come to an understanding, with their pressurized relationship one of the movie’s major themes.

Though Universal has not yet closed deals with either Johnson or Statham, per The Hollywood Reporter, series scriptwriter Chris Morgan has been assigned to the spin-off.

An early draft has the pair on the trail of Fate of the Furious evil mastermind Cypher (Charlize Theron), though Variety cautions that “it’s currently unknown whether or not she’s involved”; the publication also has Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys director Shane Black on the studio’s shortlist.

Instead of the April 19, 2019 date that Fast & Furious 9 vacated, the Statham and Johnson movie is set for July 26 instead.

That moves it away from April’s DC comics superhero entry Shazam! and May’s Avengers movie, but places it day and date with Terminator 6, directed by Deadpool man Tim Miller with original leads Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton returning.

Meanwhile, Fast and Furious 9 could see Justin Lin helming, after taking on movies 3 to 6, also according to THR. — AFP-Relaxnews

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