A lot of movement has been going on with regards to the Fast & Furious franchise over the last 48 hours, and the news keeps on coming. First, Universal pushed back the release date of Fast & Furious 9 a year. Then, after an Instagram tirade from Tyrese Gibson, it was announced that the Dwayne Johnson/Jason Statham spinoff movie would be taking Furious 9’s old date, stepping out in front. And now, with that spinoff moving forward, we’re starting to hear what kind of filmmaker might direct it—and it’s a doozy.
Buried in Variety’s report on the Fast and Furious spinoff release date is the news that none other than Shane Black is one of the candidates to take the helm of the film. Black is reportedly one name on a list of candidates that Universal is considering, but no offer has been made and it’s not even clear if Black would want to direct this thing. Universal won’t make any official movements until Chris Morgan, who has written every film in the franchise since Tokyo Drift, so this is far from confirmation, but it does let us know what kind of filmmaker the studio is after.
The untitled spinoff will see Johnson and Statham reprising their roles of Hobbs and Shaw, respectively, as the characters team up for an undisclosed mission. Some say that mission involves hunting down Charlize Theron’s Fate of the Furious villain Cypher, but it’s still somewhat early days on this and unclear if she’s involved. Johnson and Statham showcased some terrific chemistry in Fate and, frankly, were the best parts of that movie. Universal seems to have agreed to some degree, leapfrogging this film in front of the next proper Fast & Furious movie even though those blockbuster sequels keep printing money.
It’s worth nothing that Black has been developing one of his passion projects for Johnson to star, Doc Savage, for years now. The adaptation of the 1930s and 40s pulp magazines would see Johnson playing an Indiana Jones-esque hero, and while Johnson was confirmed to star in the film in May 2016, the guy’s busy schedule has been a constant hindrance. It’s possible that Johnson suggested Black given their history together, and while a buddy movie like this would certainly benefit from Black’s talents, it’s unclear if he’d even be interested in directing something like this—especially if he didn’t write it.