Spinoffs, when used the right way, can be fun ways to explore fresh and new corners of a pre-established universe. When you are Hobbs & Shaw and your universe just happens to be the Fast & Furious cinematic playground, where each film seems to retcon something important to the plot of the most recent film, it definitely helps to have that sort of breathing room.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, or just plain old Hobbs & Shaw, as the world typically calls it, is the first venture of that type to give Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and his family a run for their thematic money. To make sure that fans of the franchise were pleased, while also being welcoming to those who might be entering the ring for the first time, there are some key ingredients that writer Chris Morgan and director David Leitch kept in mind when crafting Hobbs & Shaw into the supercharged action-comedy that hits theaters this weekend.
“Family” is certainly king in both the Hobbs & Shaw and Fast & Furious franchises, and just as Dom will do anything to protect his family, so will Hobbs (& Shaw) both. You can see that much is true in the responses both Chris Morgan and David Leitch gave during their individual interviews, which reveal how they kept the spinoff all in the family. Take a look.
As CinemaBlend was on hand in London to discuss the film with both its writer and director, it was asked of both men how they felt that Hobbs & Shaw differentiates itself, yet also fits right into, the Fast & Furious universe. Both answered in their own ways, and starting with the response we got from Chris Morgan, the foundation of the Fast & Furious universe was laid out as follows:
There’s two things I would say. First of all, Hobbs & Shaw happens within our Fast universe, it’s all on our Fast timeline. And what was very important is that tonally it’s consistent with Fast, right? So that means yes, you have crazy insane action sequences, for sure. You also have characters acting with a moral code, and family is truly something that’s important to them. The way that you make it through your obstacles are “Family."
Naturally, over the past couple of entries in the Fast & Furious saga, the easily memed theme of “Family” with a capital F has been a large focus when it comes to what happens in the series. It’s the same thing that has fans wondering just when, if at all, Hobbs & Shaw’s Deckard Shaw will answer for his crimes against the Torretto family of thieves, as Jason Statham’s character has gone from antagonist to a lead in just three full films.
While Deckard’s continued presence may not be justified in the Fast & Furious storyline just yet, it is a no-brainer as to why Morgan and the Fast brass would keep him in the series. Namely, the answer is so he can amp up the humorous aspects of the world, and in turn give the audience something new and exciting. Chris Morgan continued to discuss that part of the equation as follows:
What did we add on top of that? I’d say the humor, for sure. You know, we had David Leitch come in off Deadpool 2, naturally just a really funny guy. And then Dwayne [Johnson] and Jason [Statham]. You’ve interviewed them today, or at some point, I’m sure; and they’re just so fast. And when you pit their characters against each other, it’s a natural setup by the way. With Hobbs being kind of big, tough, and wants to bash through everything, and Shaw being more stealthy and sleek. Once you get those characters going back and forth, and you add on top of it the actors who are doing it, and they just love to kind of one-up each other, it was just a recipe for comedy in a Fast world.
That chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham is so instrumental to how Hobbs & Shaw works, it’s practically what got the film made. During our interview, when asked how this film came to be the first spin-off in the Fast & Furious series, Morgan admitted that the scene where Hobbs & Shaw bust each other’s chops in prison during The Fate of the Furious was causing everyone on set to break into laughter.
The chemistry was rich, and the timing was right, which meant that Hobbs & Shaw had to happen after that film showed both titans of action at work. Audience reaction to the pairing certainly helped, and so did hiring Deadpool 2 director David Leitch to flesh out this new path for the Fast & Furious universe to rack up some extra miles.
As we spoke with Leitch about his interpretation of what made Hobbs & Shaw both a stand out and an extension of its home universe, his remarks hewed closely to what Chris Morgan had said previously:
I think we wanted, obviously, to strike out on our own. We wanted to make sure we were true to the DNA of the Fast universe, with all the big set-pieces and sort of the tone of the theme of “Family”. But I think we wanted, again, to strike our own tone of fun, comedy, brotherhood, in sort of a different way. And really highlight the dynamic of these two great actors.
If there’s anything family is good for, it’s supporting the work that’s come before, while forging a path for the future ahead. In that respect, Hobbs & Shaw is definitely a successful, and loving, member of the Fast & Furious family; and it’s going to be exciting to see what happens further down this road the series has begun to travel down.