Universal Pictures has now officially slated its Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham-led “Fast and the Furious” spin-off for a July 26th 2019 release.
Franchise scribe Chris Morgan will pen the project which will focus on Johnson’s Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs, and Statham’s assassin character Deckard Shaw.
The announcement comes after the studio pushed back the ninth chapter in the series by a year, delaying it from 2019 to 2020, with sources telling THR that one reason for the delay was to accommodate potential director scheduling.
The trade also indicates “Fast Five” helmer Justin Lin may be returning to the franchise and is the top choice to helm the ninth main film. No deals have been made with the actors as yet.
The news has led to the most visible cracks yet in the ‘Fast’ family with actor Tyrese Gibson, who plays the fast-talking Roman Pearce, blaming Johnson for the “Fast 9” delay in an Instagram post saying:
“PSA Congratulations to @TheRock and your brother in law aka 7 bucks producing partner @hhgarcia41 for making the Fast and the Furious franchise about YOU. And like you, DJ even if they call I will not be deleting this post. Gn folks see you in 2020 April #FastFamily right? Nah….. it’s about #TeamDewayne #3yrs will it be worth the wait? #NoShaw just Hobbs will this be another #BayWatch? Guys guys just relax I’m just a passionate film critic.”
This follows on from a posting in mid-September in which Tyrese desperately begged Johnson not to star in that rumored spin-off.