It’s only been four years since John Wick, but David Leitch has wasted no time in building quite the blockbuster resume. The Wick co-director, veteran stuntman, and second unit filmmaker helmed the combat-heavy spy thriller Atomic Blonde before strapping up for Deadpool 2. Now that the superhero sequel is arriving in theaters this weekend, Leitch is already getting to work on his next project, the upcoming Fast and the Furious spinoff Hobbs and Shaw, which puts the spotlight on Dwayne Johnson‘s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham‘s Deckard Shaw.
Collider’s Steve Weintraub spoke with Leitch in anticipation of Deadpool 2‘s theatrical release, and took the opportunity to get some updates on what we can expect. The director confirmed he rolls into production on the film this September, ahead of the film’s scheduled summer 2019 release date, and despite the big summer debut and big franchise background, Leitch is teasing a film that might be a bit more “grounded” and “character-centric” than what we’ve come to expect from the Fast and Furious franchise.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit more grounded because it’s the beginning. It’s an origin story, in a sense. It’s not an origin story, but we’re starting a franchise. So we want it to be a little bit more grounded, a little bit more character-centric. We’re going to set up the stakes for these guys and their relationship, but we’re also going to have some great set pieces and some action that you’d expect from that type of franchise.”
Fast and Furious regular Chris Morgan is writing the script for the film, and while plot details are still under wraps, Leitch teases a film that veers away from the world of street racing and digs into the world of spies and government agents that Hobbs and Shaw deal in.
“We’re diving into their world. I think we want to have our own take on the Fast universe. It will definitely have elements of the original DNA, but it is more drifting into Shaw’s spy word and Dwayne’s agent world and, obviously, we want to build on their relationship, their conflict, their banter. That chemistry that they have between them, that’s sort of what’s driving the movie.”
The Fast and Furious franchise has spawned eight films to date with two more sequels on the way after Hobbs and Shaw, and likewise, the spinoff is intended to build a universe of its own. Asked if he was focused on delivering a single film or setting up a possible franchise, Leitch explained,
“I think you have to do both. I think long term. Obviously being true to the script and making the best movie, you do want to seed elements that allow you to expand the universe and have enough characters to move forward. If you look at the first Fast, they had the core group that allowed them to be able to have this ensemble that moved forward for nine movies. We have to set up the world so it has the potential to grow. That’s what I’m saying with, if we’re digging into their respective worlds outside of Fast, they’re going to have their own universe in a sense.
Leitch also said there’s some possibility for continued crossover between the two franchises, and we might see some familiar faces pop up. It sounds like those conversations are still being worked out. Asked if he wanted to build a new world of characters or borrow some from the existing franchise, Leitch said,
“I think there’s a way we could do both but I don’t really want to get into who would be in it and who wouldn’t be in it. I think that’s probably a little sensitive stuff right now. I think it would be a fun nod to have a couple of the characters come by and make their appearances. But I think we have a really strong point of view that we want to create our own characters for this world.”
As I mentioned, the Fast franchise has spawned eight films, a spinoff, theme park rides, even a new animated Netflix spinoff, so there’s no doubt the studio is going to continue investing in new ways to expand this world even further.