With Universal Pictures officially setting a release date for its long-rumored Fast and Furious Spin-Off, the studio reportedly also has its eye on a director as well. A new report claims that The Predator remake director Shane Black is among the directorial candidates Universal is interested in, although the studio reportedly won't be meeting with any directors until writer Chris Morgan, who has written all but the first two Fast & Furious movies, has delivered the script. With the spin-off's 2019 release date less than two years away, new details have also been revealed about the studio's approach to this project.
This report from Variety also reveals that Universal had always planned to shoot this spin-off in August 2018, to accommodate the extremely busy schedule of The Rock, a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson. This lead to the studio pushing the previously-announced Fast & Furious 9 release date by almost a full year, from April 19, 2019 to April 10, 2020. This report also reveals that the story will follow Dwayne Johnson's Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw as they team up on an undisclosed mission. Sources claim that, early on in the development process, this dynamic duo was going to chase after Cypher, the primary villain from this year's The Fate of the Furious, played by Charlize Theron, but insiders now say that it isn't clear if this character is involved at this point.
This spin-off was first announced back in April, just weeks after The Fate of the Furious hit theaters, en route to $225.7 million domestic and a whopping $1.23 billion worldwide. Dwayne Johnson even promised an epic fight between Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, who had come face to face in The Fate of the Furious when they were both locked up in prison together. There was rumored to be a post-credit scene featuring both Hobbs and Shaw meeting up that would have reportedly set up the spin-off, but star-producer Vin Diesel reportedly vetoed the scene being used, which was likely a by-product of the on-set feud that went down during production between Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel, which lead to an infamous social media post by the normally-gregarious Dwayne Johnson.
It seems this spin-off has started a whole new Fast & Furious feud, with Tyrese Gibson, who plays Roman Pearce in the Fast & Furious franchise, calling out Dwayne Johnson on Instagram, after the actor posted a photo at his "GSD" (Get S--t Done) table signing some documents, which many believed was his contract for this very spin-off. Tyrese said he called him out on social media because he wasn't answering any of his texts and Dwayne Johnson reportedly ignored a "heart-to-heart" chat they had, where Tyrese presumably tried to persuade Dwayne Johnson not to make this spin-off and break away from his "Fast family."
Tyrese Gibson called out The Rock because this spin-off would bump Fast & Furious 9 out of its release date, which ultimately happened, with the spin-off set for July 26, 2019 and Fast & Furious 9 arriving on April 10 2020. After the release date announcement was made, Tyrese "congratulated" The Rock and his producing partner Hiram Garcia for making the franchise all about him. Dwayne Johnson hasn't publicly responded to any of Tyrese Gibson's messages at this time. Shane Black is currently in post-production on The Predator for 20th Century Fox, which has been set for release on August 3, 2018. With production on this Fast & Furious spin-off reportedly not happening until next summer, there is still plenty of time to find a director. There are no further details in this Variety report, but now that a release date has been set, hopefully we'll find out more about this project very soon.