This won’t come as much of a surprise who paid attention to Tyrese Gibson‘s Instagram shade today, but Universal is speeding ahead with a Fast and Furious spinoff for Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham‘s fan favorites characters (well aside from the Han thing). Yesterday, we learned that the studio planned to push Fast and Furious 9 back to 2020, and now it’s clear that was Universal switching gears to drive the franchise in a new direction (fun fact: it’s impossible to write about the Furious films without using racing puns, sorry).
The untitled spinoff is now officially scheduled to arrive in theaters on July 26, 2019. Franchise orchestrator Chris Morgan, who has shepherded the Furious scripts since 2006’s Tokyo Drift, is penning a new adventure for Hobbes, Johnson’s superhuman field agent, and Shaw, Statham’s international assassin turned good guy.
The duo started out as enemies in Fate of the Furious but formed an unlikely (and very brawny) bromance in the eighth film. It was both the highlight of the movie and a prickly spot of contention amongst fans considering Shaw straight up murdered Han at the end of Furious 7. But Universal ain’t letting that #JusticeForHan noise dull their franchise shine. No deals have been made at this time, but the wheels have been in motion on the spinoff since Johnson and Statham’s chemistry started poppin’ off in the Fate of the Furious dailies.
“Fast & Furious is one of Universal’s most beloved properties, and we handle every decision we make surrounding this franchise with great care,” Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley told The Hollywood Reporter. “The global brand of Fast & Furious is strong and full of iconic characters, and we look forward to continuing to build on the film that started it all, as well as expanding into different narratives beginning with our first spinoff.”
The Furious franchise has earned more than $5 billion at the worldwide box office since launching in 2001, with the last two entries earning more than a billion a piece. So yeah, spinoffs, theme parks, stage shows and every other money-printing idea at Universal is to be expected. Personally, I’m just keeping my fingers crossed for a Magic Mike style Vegas show.