Production on Fast & Furious 8 is well underway, and now a very important part of the team has joined the cast for filming: Dwayne Johnson. Franchise Viagra incarnate made his Fast & Furious debut with Justin Lin’s franchise highpoint Fast Five playing Luke Hobbs, a government bounty hunter, and he subsequently reprised the role in Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7. When it came time for the eighth film in the franchise, however, Johnson was firmly one of the most bankable stars on the planet, so it was unclear how he’d fit into such a large ensemble once more.
Well it appears the key to getting Johnson back was evolving the character of Hobbs even further for director F. Gary Gray’s (Straight Outta Compton) sequel, as Johnson has unveiled the first look at the character from Fast & Furious 8 while teasing a very different version of Hobbs than we’ve seen before. It sounds like the character may be a bit darker when we pick up with him in Fast & Furious 8, as he returns to his dangerous roots.
Moreover, there’s been talk of a Hobbs-centric spinoff ever since Johnson’s debut in Fast Five, and Johnson teases the future of the character in this Facebook post as well, offering up three seemingly equally possible outcomes: a spinoff happens, no spinoff happens and Hobbs remains part of the franchise, no spinoff happens and Hobbs leaves the franchise. Given how busy Johnson has become in recent years, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fast & Furious 8 marked the character’s final significant appearance in the franchise. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part since I want to see Johnson lead Shane Black’s Doc Savage so bad I’m worried he’ll get franchised-out.
Regardless, you can take a look at a certifiably badass Hobbs below along with Johnson’s message. Fast & Furious 8 also stars Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gisbon, and Kurt Russell and opens in theaters on April 14, 2017.