This year saw the premiere of “Fate of the Furious,” the eighth installment of the long-running “Fast And Furious” car racing/heist franchise from Universal starring Vin Diesel. Fans of the films are waiting with baited breath for the next sequel, especially considering the story hooks from “Fate” such as the main antagonist (played by Charlize Theron) escaping scot-free.

“Fast 9” was initially slated for a 2019 premiere, but Universal has gotten another idea and postponed it. That is because they have decided to develop a spin-off to premiere on the original date, featuring two characters who are relative latecomers to the franchise.

They are Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, portrayed by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, respectively.

Heroes of another story

One of the greatest allies of the Toretto “family” of street racing car thieves and one of their one-time worst opponents will be taking center stage in a spinoff film of the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Universal Pictures made the official announcement on Thursday, October 5. The spinoff, which is yet untitled, will release on July of 2019. Unfortunately, that is the original premiere date for “Fast 9,” which has now been bumped off one year, to April 2020. The delay of the main sequel was publicized earlier, on Wednesday.

The “Fast and Furious” spinoff will focus on the further adventures of former Diplomatic Security Services agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and ex-British spec-ops operative-turned-assassin Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).

Hobbs was a secondary antagonist to the Toretto family during the fifth film “Fast 5,” before segueing into an ally and eventual teammate. Shaw, on the other hand, was the main bad guy of “Furious 7,” seeking to kill Dom (Vin Diesel) and his family to avenge his brother, the main villain of “Fast 6.” He is however convinced to help them out in “Fate of the Furious,” where he buries the hatchet with Dom.

Unhappy reaction

However not everybody on the “Fast and Furious” cast was pleased with Universal’s schedule reshuffle. Tyrese Gibson, whose character Roman was in the second film and in the fifth onwards, was upset and called out Dwayne Johnson on social media for “hijacking” the franchise and focusing it on himself rather than Vin Diesel.

A rift between the two actors has been building in the production of past films, but both of them have committed to being part of “Fast 9.”

“Fate of the Furious,” the most recent film in the franchise, had a global box office gross of $1.2 billion, adding to the franchise total take of about $5 billion. “Fast and Furious” is one of Universal’s hit film properties. In the meantime, no other details are available for the spinoff with Johnson and Jason Statham.