A key member of the “family” will be missing from the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who has portrayed Luke Hobbs in the series ever since 2011’s. Fast Five, will be sitting out the action when the latest entry hits theaters this summer.
Given his rocky history with franchise star Vin Diesel, and the success of last year’s spin-off Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, fans could be forgiven for thinking that Johnson might be going his own way.
However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. In a 2019 interview with MTV News, Johnson explained that his absence from F9 was due to scheduling conflicts with Hobbs & Shaw.
An explanation which seemed a little suspect. At the time, the spin-off flick had just wrapped, and when asked by the interviewer if he and co-star Jason Statham would be taking part in the ninth film in the main series, Johnson hemmed and hawed.
“The plan has always been for the Fast and Furious universe to grow and expand. As of now, we are not in Fast 9 because they’re getting ready to start shooting.”
We suppose that even the Rock needs to take a breather from action movies every once in awhile. Still, considering that his work on Hobbs & Shaw was complete and F9 was gearing up to enter production at the time of the interview, it sure seems like he could have participated.
Perhaps that answer wasn’t quite the whole truth. It’s well-documented that Johnson and Diesel butted heads, and possibly biceps, during the making of 2017’s Fate of the Furious.
While we still don’t know the exact nature of the beef, we do know that it was serious enough that the two didn’t actually shoot any scenes for the flick together.
Instead, clever editing and Dom’s seeming betrayal of his Family allowed the two bald beefcakes to share starring roles without actually sharing a scene.
However, in a Rolling Stone interview in 2018, Johnson indicated that the beef had been at least somewhat squashed. According to The Rock himself:
“Right now I’m concentrating on making [Hobbs & Shaw] as good as it can be. But I wish him all the best, and I harbor no ill will there, just because of the clarity we have… Actually, you can erase that last part about ‘no ill will.’ We’ll just keep it with the clarity.”
That’s a little harsh, but by September of last year, the Rock seemed like he was finally ready to put all the bad blood behind him. Johnson made an Instagram post thanking his former co-star for all his support. Johnson said:
“I want to thank brother Vin for your support of Hobbs & Shaw. We did it the right way, we did it the smart way, and again brother, I appreciate your support. And of course, all roads lead to one thing… I’ll be seeing you soon, Toretto.”
Johnson’s reference to Diesel’s character in the series certainly implies that Hobbs will be back to mix it up with him once again — but if so, he’s running out of road.
“Daddy’s gotta go to work.”
It has been widely reported that Fast and Furious 10 will officially bring to a close the series that Universal Pictures is now referring to as the “Fast Saga.”
Considering that the finish line is in sight,it doesn’t seem like Johnson would let a little thing like a three-year old beef keep him from appearing in the final film of the series.
“Look, at the end of the day, the truth is, there’s unfinished business between Hobbs and Dom. It’s unfinished.”
While nothing has been officially confirmed, the rumor mill has gone into overdrive reporting that anonymous inside sources insist that.
Johnson will return for Fast 10. It’s also worth mentioning that John Cena, who will appear in F9 as Toretto’s long-lost brother, has done a bit of blabbing to the press about the possibility. Asked about the likelihood of an onscreen showdown between himself and Johnson, Cena all but confirmed that it was happening before seeming to catch himself.
According to Cena:
“I will say this, man, it’s amazing the parallels that Fast runs with WWE. In Fast, never say never.” Well, we’re certainly not going to be the ones to say “never.” Bringing the Rock back into the mix for the conclusion of the high-octane Fast Saga is likely to yield only one result: the fastest, most furious flick of the whole bunch.
“This time, it ain’t just about being fast.”