After years of speculation, Universal confirmed Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham will star in the first spin-off of the "Fast and Furious" franchise titled "Hobbs and Shaw." On Monday, Johnson took to Instagram to announce production has begun for the film.
Johnson will reprise the role of Luke Hobbs, the hulking Diplomatic Security Service Agent, and Statham will return as Deckard Shaw, the main antagonist from "Furious 7." Both characters have had two films to ensure plenty of corny dialog and jokes for their own spin-off film.
According to previous reports, "Hobbs and Shaw" will take place within the "Fast and Furious" universe with a screenplay by Chris Morgan. Morgan previously wrote the stories for "The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift," "Fast and Furious, Fast Five," "Fast & Furious 6," "Furious 7," and "The Fate of the Furious." He has also written the ninth "Fast and Furious" film.
Per the Instagram photo, it appears David Leitch is on deck to direct "Hobbs and Shaw." Leitch recent wrapped up directing "Deadpool 2," and Johnson said he brings expertise to "evolve the franchise in exciting and fresh new ways."
The spin-off film comes as the "Fast and Furious" franchise continues to rake in cash. The most recent release, "The Fate of the Furious," tallied $532.5 million during its opening weekend, which was enough to unseat the previous box office record held by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
If production goes according to plan, we'll see "Hobbs and Shaw" open July 26, 2019. Barring any other unforeseen occurrences, the ninth "Fast and Furious" film is scheduled to open April 10, 2020, after being delayed one year. It's unclear if the spin-off film will tie into the final two "Fast and Furious" films (yes, the franchise is set to go to a 10th installment), so we'll have to wait and see how the action unfolds.