Dwayne Johnson‘s ascension from WWF superstar to highly sought-after action-film lead has been a bumpy road but not one without its myriad pleasures. For this reviewer, he’s the most instantly galvanic presence in the recent Fast & Furious films, and his performance in Richard Kelly‘s divisive, brilliant Southland Tales is one built on largely unexplored elements of his physicality and delivery, which suggest a far more ambitious comedic actor hiding behind the tonnage of brawn. But, hey, brawn is popular and intermittently fun to watch, which is part of the reason why the upcoming natural-disaster bonanza San Andreas, starring Johnson and Carla Gugino, is getting such a huge push in a summer full of costumed superheroes and dystopian desert chases. And at a recent press conference for the action film, Johnson confirmed that Hobbs, his character in the Fast & Furious franchise, will be returning for the recently announced, inevitable Furious 8.
Here’s the exact exchange from the press conference in regards to Hobbs in Furious 8 which our reporter Sheila Roberts attended:
Q: They announced Furious 8. Is Hobbs going to be in it?
DWAYNE JOHNSON: Of course. It can’t go on without Hobbs.
That’s good news for fans of both Johnson and the stunts-centric movie series, but Johnson also responded to the continued talk of a Hobbs spin-off film, which was originally rumored to see release between the sixth and seventh iterations of Fast & Furious. The answer is a definite maybe, as Johnson reported having a recent “big” studio conversation to discuss the possible Hobbs spin-off, which could prove to be the major guns-and-explosions franchise that Johnson has yet to secure in his career thus far. He’s easily one of the most purely enjoyable action stars to come up in the last two decades, and if we’re going to keep letting Bruce Willis blow up half of the Eastern seaboard, Johnson certainly deserves his own chance to press the detonator button as well.
Here’s Johnson’s full answer to the possibility of a Hobbs solo film:
JOHNSON: We all are interested in it. I just had a big conversation with the studio. So we’ll see. I still think for me personally we’ve created a little bit of space for him in 7 and the gauge is set for what the audience will want. That’s my take on it, you know, but a lot of other people have to have input.
Furious 8 is scheduled for release April 14, 2017.