Idris Elba is in final talks to play the villain in the upcoming Fast & Furious spinoff, aka. Hobbs and Shaw. The film sees Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their roles as (respectively) special agent Luke Hobbs and mercenary Deckard Shaw, as the mismatched duo team up on an adventure together. The idea for the spinoff was inspired by the onscreen chemistry between the pair during their scenes in last year's The Fate of the Furious (which nearly included a post-credits scene that set up the spinoff).
The Fast & Furious spinoff already has a writer in Chris Morgan (who also wrote the previous six installments in the series), as well as a director in John Wick and Atomic Blonde helmsman David Leitch. As such, the film is now actively filling out its other lead and supporting roles, including - naturally - that of its central antagonist.
According to Variety, Elba is all but officially set to play the baddie that Hobbs and Shaw will square off against during the Fast & Furious spinoff. (Johnson has already confirmed Elba's involvement on his Twitter account.) According to a previously-leaked casting call, Elba's character is known as Null and is described as being a "mysterious" international terrorist who prefers to dress entirely in black. The character description specifically refers to Null as a "British villain" around 49-59 years old, which makes Elba (who turns 46 this September and hales from England) all the more fitting a pick.
This makes Fast & Furious yet another franchise that Elba can now add to his larger resume. The celebrated actor has played roles in everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the Star Trek movies and the Alien films (see Prometheus) in recent years. Over that same period of time, Elba has still found room to reprise his breakout role as tortured DCI John Luther on the BBC series Luther, lend his voice to multiple animated films, and costar in such awards season fare as Beasts of No Nation and Molly's Game. Of course, Elba is hot-in-demand for good reason, as he continues to rack up accolades for his diverse body of work.
Between Elba signing on and Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) closing a deal to play the female lead this week, the Fast & Furious spinoff is sounding all the better in terms of its onscreen talent alone. Similarly, Leitch is coming off the critical success of Deadpool 2 and his involvement further assures that Hobbs and Shaw won't be lacking when it comes to impressive action sequences. The filmmaker says he's taking inspiration from classic 1980s and '90s buddy movies on the film - something that suggests the spinoff may yet manage to put a fresh spin on the Fast & Furious franchise (which is eight movies deep now).
- Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Fast & Furious 9 (2020) release date: May 22, 2020