Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson defends his and Jason Statham's upcoming Fast and Furious spinoff movie amid accusations from fellow co-stars. Shortly after James Wan's Furious 7 broke franchise records and grossed well over one billion dollars at the worldwide box office, Universal Pictures announced plans to develop one last trilogy in the franchise before closing up shop on the mainline saga. The first installment in that new trilogy was F. Gary Gray's The Fate of the Furious, which released earlier this year to overwhelming commercial success.
The on-screen chemistry between Johnson's Diplomatic Security Service Agent Luke Hobbs and Statham's former British Special Air Service officer Deckard Shaw - who was the villain in Furious 7 but worked alongside the good guys in Fast 8 - was palpable enough for the studio to consider a spinoff focused on the duo and their adventures. Universal chose to prioritize the spinoff over the core series and slated the untitled Hobbs/Shaw spinoff for July 2019. Unfortunately, that meant that the already dated Fast and Furious 9 had to be pushed back from its planned April 2019 release to April 2020.
Tyrese Gibson, who has appeared in each main installment (save for Tokyo Drift) since 2 Fast 2 Furious, publicly criticized Johnson for holding up the franchise's ninth chapter (something he did even before Fast and Furious 9 was delayed). Now, one day after news broke about the upcoming spinoff film, Johnson has taken to Twitter to defend the decision to focus on that movie first, saying all he's ever wanted to do was give audiences a fun character to follow as well as "elevate" the franchise. You can read his tweet below:
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) October 6, 2017
In Gibson's tirade on Instagram earlier this week, he revealed that he and Ludacris - two fan-favorites - were once offered their own spinoff movie, which makes sense considering that their characters, while less physical and domineering compared to Johnson and Statham's characters, work well together and an on-screen chemistry that helped elevate the series' comedic aspects. However, he also said that he and Ludacris had turned down the potential spinoff in favor of appearing in the main saga installments, such as Fast and Furious 9.
What's more, Gibson's accusations isn't the only drama brewing around the Fast and Furious franchise. Earlier this year, series star Michelle Rodriguez expressed dissatisfaction with the way female characters have been treated in the movies and threatened to walk if the franchise didn't improve, something that Vin Diesel supported. Furthermore, there were reports that Diesel and Johnson didn't get along well on the set of The Fate of the Furious. So, at this point, while Johnson's Fast and Furious spinoff is moving forward, we'll have to wait and see what ends up becoming of Fast and Furious 9.
Source: Dwayne Johnson
- Fast & Furious 9 (2020) release date: May 22, 2020