Fate of the Furious marks the beginning of the final trilogy in the Fast and Furious franchise, and beyond the tenth film, Universal Pictures is looking for potential spinoff opportunities.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Fate of the Furious.]
The latest report from Deadline suggests Universal is interested in focusing on Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) for a spinoff feature film that could potentially start production before the ninth Fast and Furious movie. Although the story is thinly sourced, it does support previous reporting from The Wrap that suggested a post-credits scene between the two characters was cut because Vin Diesel was uncomfortable with the idea of the two actors getting their own spinoff. A source told The Wrap that scenes between Johnson and Statham played out so well with audiences in early screenings that “they were looking at doing a spinoff.”
Universal has not commented on the possibility and both reports cite unknown sources, so the actuality of this happening is still too difficult to say for certain. Here’s the thing: If Universal were to do a Fast and Furious spinoff, which executives have said they want to, the only possibility is to focus on Hobbs and Statham for one very specific reason.
Fast and Furious 6 ends with the revelation that Shaw was the one who caused Han’s death. Han, as Fast and Furious fans know, was the lovable slacker who partook in the racing scene in Japan during The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. The character, who was played by Sung Kang, became a hit with fans almost immediately. Franchise writer Chris Morgan was also taken with the character, but has recently admitted that he loved working with Kang so much, he wanted to find a way to keep him around.
Morgan managed to find a way to bring back Han for the fourth, fifth and sixth movie, giving audiences even more time with the character. It deepened our love for Han and made watching his death occur again in the sixth movie all the more difficult. A crucial member of the Toretto family had been taken, and if we were pissed off, imagine how Dom, Letty, Brian and the rest of the team must feel.
This realization led to some debate within the community. In Fate of the Furious, Shaw and Dom team up. Dom needs Shaw and his brother, Owen (Luke Evans), to save his son from the clutches of the new villain, Cipher (Charlize Theron). In return, Dom manages to get Deckard out of prison following his arrest at the end of Furious 7. The two working together has irked some fans, who point out that Dom, the man who defined what it meant to be a family in these films, would never betray Han by working with Deckard.
All of which ties back to the characters Universal could pluck from the main films to throw into a spinoff. Diesel’s Toretto is the franchise’s main character, so he couldn’t possibly be in one; a spinoff focusing on Dominic Toretto would just be another installment. His character also doesn’t have on screen chemistry with any of the other actors — with the possible exception being Michelle Rodriguez, who plays his wife, Letty.
The rest of the family is also out. There’s a scene in Fate of the Furious when Shaw walks into a bunker the main crew — Han’s closest friends and “family” — are in. When Hobbs tells them that Shaw is going to help them figure out what happened to Dom, they lose their minds, refusing to work with the man who killed their best friend. With that knowledge in mind and that resentment obvious, it would be strange to give any of these characters a movie with Statham.
Hobbs and Shaw are two of the only characters that don’t have a familial connection to Han. Add in the fact that the two have fantastic, natural on-screen chemistry and they make the most sense. Statham and Johnson are also two of the biggest action stars who have proven in their own films and series that they can do comedy on top of being typical muscle men performing difficult stunt work. They’re the smartest investment Universal could make.
Still, Diesel stands in the way of this potential spinoff. The actor, who has reportedly been in a long-standing fight with Johnson, may have been the reason the post-credits scene at the end of Fate of the Furious was cut. Other reports suggest that scene would have set up the spinoff, but Universal hasn’t said anything about it.
There’s no question that Universal will eventually move forward with a Fast and Furious spinoff. Executives have talked about it before and it makes sense from a business perspective. The question is who the spinoff will focus on?
As far as that goes, Johnson and Statham are, without question, the best possible option.