In an amazingly well-timed news report, a release date for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's The Fast and the Furious spinoff has been announced. The film, which will focus on Johnson's Hobbs character and Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw, may also have a director in the bag.
Shane Black leads a list of potential directors on the currently untitled project, Variety reported late Thursday. Black is known for his previous work on The Nice Guys, Iron Man 3, the Lethal Weapon franchise, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and the forthcoming Predator sequel. However, director meetings won't go down until Fate of the Furious writer Chris Morgan finishes the script.
Potential involvement of Fate of the Furious highlight Charlize Theron, though initially touted as part of the spinoff's story during the film's development stage, is now categorized as an "unknown" factor. Universal is putting the film into production next August ahead of a July 26, 2019 release date. The also untitled Fate of the Furious sequel, originally slated for the same year, will now follow on April 10, 2020.
On Instagram Thursday, prior to the official announcement of the spinoff's release date, Tyrese Gibson hit Johnson with the blame for delaying Fast 9. Gibson sarcastically congratulated Johnson and his Seven Bucks Productions team for "making the Fast and Furious franchise about you." Gibson also made a disparaging remark about Johnson's attempt at a successful, R-rated Baywatch movie.
In subsequent posts, Gibson offered additional thoughts on his disinterest in Johnson's spinoff: