[Update: Now Variety adds that Charlize Theron is also potentially part of this spinoff idea, which throws some doubt onto where the main Fast and Furious franchise is at going into its final two films.]
The Fast & Furious franchise proper may be headed for a conclusion with Fast & Furious 10, but the possibilities for other characters are just beginning. The undeniable standout from Fate of the Furious was the chemistry between Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, and now Deadline reports that Universal Pictures is developing a spinoff that would focus on these two characters. Chris Morgan, who’s scripted every Fast & Furious movie since Tokyo Drift, will pen the script for this untitled spinoff, and the idea is for Luke Hobbs to form “an unlikely alliance” with Shaw as the two team up for some kind of ass-kicking adventure.
This is still early days, but Deadline notes that Universal could move forward with this movie ASAP while they figure out what Fast & Furious 9 will be. Morgan is the architect of this franchise and has said that Fate begins a trilogy arc that will conclude with Fast & Furious 10, hinting that Charlize Theron’s hacker character Cipher could be a big part of that overarching story. Morgan also recently responded to fan outcry over Shaw being welcomed into the Fate family after killing Han by noting there’s more to Shaw’s backstory that we’ll find out in future movies.
It’s unclear how this will affect the main Fast & Furious franchise, which remains a box office behemoth. Fate scored the largest worldwide box office opening in history with over $500 million in its first weekend, but as audiences still flock to these films, the movie showed signs of franchise aging. I pointed out in an editorial recently that Vin Diesel’s Dom has become something of a wet blanket for the series, while Johnson’s Hobbs and Statham’s Shaw were what really made Fate a fun and compelling movie. My answer was to phase Dom out entirely, but it appears Universal may be going a different direction by just giving Hobbs and Dom their own franchise.
This isn’t an entirely new notion. After Johnson’s Hobbs was introduced in Fast Five to stellar results, the studio began discussions about a potential spinoff for his character. Johnson’s schedule is jam-packed and that film never came to fruition, but Johnson remained a key member of the team in Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7. Reports of on-set tension between Johnson and Diesel heated up during the production of Fate, so perhaps this spinoff idea is a solution to keeping the two performers separate. Indeed, the fact that Johnson and Diesel aren’t ever in a scene together in Fate is distracting (you’ll notice a heavy use of doubles and even CG), and since Diesel is a producer on the franchise, it’s kinda hard to kick him out of the series in favor of Johnson.
So maybe this is a win-win. Diesel gets to continue and possibly conclude a franchise that helped kick off his career, and Johnson and Statham get to shine in their own series. Although if this means Johnson and Statham are out of Furious 9 and 10, those are gonna be some dull movies.
What say you folks? Are you down with this spinoff idea? Sound off in the comments below.