Universal has pushed the release date for Fast & Furious 9 back to April 10th, 2020, taking the spot that the studio was previously reserving for the animated sequel Trolls 2. The latter will instead be arriving two months earlier than previously-scheduled on Valentine’s Day of that year (the same date that 20th Century Fox currently has reserved for its animated Nimona comic book movie adaptation to hit theaters).
The future of the Fast & Furious franchise is somewhat up in the air at the moment. While Universal’s official plan is still to release two more mainline Fast & Furious movies to complete the trilogy that was set in motion by this year’s The Fate of the Furious and then call it a day, there have been multiple reports of a spinoff featuring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham’s Fast & Furious characters (Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, respectively) having entered active development, following the release of Fate of the Furious. Now that the next installment in the main Fast & Furious saga has been pushed back by a year, does that mean a Rock/Statham-led spinoff will be arriving first, in 2019?
According to Variety, Universal has yet to provide an official explanation for why Fast & Furious 9 has been pushed back from its original April 19th, 2019 release date. Although it’s possible that the move was made in order to create room for The Rock’s spinoff film to hit theaters first, there are other factors that could account for this shift in release dates.
Although The Rock and Vin Diesel are both reportedly set to return for Fast & Furious 9 (setting their reported beef during the production of Fate of the Furious behind them), they are the only longtime Fast & Furious cast members who appear to be locked-in for the ninth installment at the moment. Michelle Rodriguez has even indicated that she won’t return for the ninth Fast & Furious film unless she and the franchise’s other female stars are given more substantial roles this time around – something that Diesel has publicly voiced support for. Meanwhile, Fate of the Furious director F. Gary Gray has remained noncommittal about returning to helm the next chapter in the Fast & Furious saga.
With no director in place yet and even certain steadfast Fast & Furious cast members expressing their frustrations with the creative direction of the series, it’s possible that Universal pushed Fast & Furious 9 back to allow itself more breathing room to work out these behind the scenes complications before production on the movie begins. Although reviews for Fate of the Furious weren’t as generally enthusiastic as they have been for previous installments in the series, the movie was still mostly well-received and grossed $1.24 billion worldwide in theaters. For those reasons alone, it’s safe to assume that Fast & Furious 9 will eventually come together… even if The Rock and The Stath wind up hosting their own private party first.
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