The Fast and Furious crew is assembling for the ninth film in the franchise, and two key players are allegedly onboard.
That Hashtag Show reports that franchise staples Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson are returning for Fast and Furious 9, which has not received an official title yet. The outlet reports that the two stars are the first cast members to board the sequel, which will be produced by Universal Studios.
No other cast details were released in the report, but Vin Diesel is also expected to return. Production on the ninth film will begin some time in April in Atlanta, Georgia. Kin screenwriter Daniel Casey is penning the film, and Justin Lin is the frontrunner to direct. Lin directed The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6.
Both Rodriguez and Gibson returning to the franchise is somewhat surprising news. The actors have each expressed their distaste with some of the creative decisions the franchise has made in recent years.
After the release of The Fate of the Furious, Rodriguez expressed her desire for the series to feature stronger material for its female characters.
"F8 is out digitally today, I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one," Rodriguez wrote on Instagram in June 2017. "Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It's been a good ride [and] I'm grateful for the opportunity the fans [and] studio have provided over the years... One Love."
"I'm just saying, in general, that my path is about female empowerment," Rodriguez explained. "If I'm feeling a little stagnant in that area, in what I'm doing for a living, then I'm gonna have to move on. Evolve or die, baby. ... We don't know what's happening. Until I get a script, I have no idea. I hope they show some love for the women in the franchise, I'd like to see that. I'd like to see them talk to each other for a change. I can count on one hand the number of times I've talked to the female actresses in the franchise. It's kind of sad."
Gibson's gripes are mostly tied to co-star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Johnson has spearheaded a spinoff film, Hobbs & Shaw, that will focus on Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). That film's production cycle delayed Fast 9's production for a year, and Gibson was not too pleased with Johnson stealing the franchise's spotlight for himself.0comments
"Hello loyal fans and loved ones from OUR fast universe........ I’m sorry to announce that if Dewayne (sic) is in Fast 9 there will no more Roman Pierce - You mess with family and my daughters survival I mess with yours," Gibson wrote on Instagram in November 2017. "Close your eyes dude you’re a 'clown' ..... #CandyAssBitchMade All my real one.... Men on integrity... my real ones out here stand UP...... folks that GP to the gym and get big naturally #NoJuice #NoOJ spin off huh? Spin off these nuts selfish champ...... pause notice who’s got his arms around my shoulder and who’s standing alone."
Hobbs & Shaw will be released on Aug. 2, 2019. Fast and Furious 9 is tentatively slated for April 10, 2020.