While it remains unclear if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will return to the main Fast and Furious franchise, he is set to star in a spin-off alongside fellow action star Jason Statham. The movie will focus upon their Fast and Furious characters Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, and it has been confirmed that it will be directed by Deadpool 2‘s David Leitch.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Leitch has officially signed on to the direct the movie, which hits theaters on July 26, 2019. The former stunt coordinator has become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand action directors since he co-directed John Wick in 2015. As well as Deadpool 2, which arrives in May, he also helmed last year’s Cold War thriller Atomic Blonde. The Hobbs and Shaw script is written by Chris Morgan, who has penned six other movies in the Fast and Furious franchise.
While the spin-off is highly anticipated by fans, it has been a source of contention among some members of the Fast and Furious cast. Tyrese Gibson, who plays Roman Pearce in the films, went on a well-documented rant against Johnson in 2017, after the spin-off led to the release date of Fast and Furious 9 getting pushed back. At one point, the actor even threatened to quit the franchise over the debacle. Thankfully, the drama seems to have ended.
In addition, Johnson is far happier to talk about the Hobbs and Shaw film than the main series. In a recent interview, the star revealed that he didn’t know if he would be back for Fast and Furious 9, which is scheduled for a 2020 release, because he was “concentrating on making the spin-off as good as it can be.”
Johnson went on to confirm the much-reported feud between himself and co-star Vin Diesel. “Vin and I had a few discussions, including an important face-to-face in my trailer,” he said. “And what I came to realize is that we have a fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating. It took me some time, but I’m grateful for that clarity. Whether we work together again or not.”
In related news, the first trailer for Statham’s upcoming shark thriller The Meg was released this week. The actor plays an expert diver who faces off against a 70-foot monster shark, and the movie releases in August.