To paraphrase a great fictional character, movies like Hobbs & Shaw move pretty fast, and if you don’t stop to look around your film’s universe, you might miss something. To that effect, we here at CinemaBlend caught something that we’re wondering if you, the audience, may have picked up on as well.
More specifically, there’s a couple references to Jason Statham’s previous tenure as a member of The Italian Job remake’s criminal gang that pop up in the Hobbs & Shaw universe. They’re quick, but they’re memorable enough that fans with eagle eyes and keen ears would be able to pick up on.
While Statham’s Deckard Shaw takes his sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to an underground garage/lair he happens to own, we see a Mini Cooper among the cars that Deckard happens to have in his possession. Add in a quick line about not needing an idiot like Hobbs during a gold heist in Italy, and you’ve got the makings of a potential bridge between the universe of director F. Gary Gray’s 2003 remake and the Fast & Furious universe.
It’s a connection that Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch clarified a little better when he recently spoke with CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg. His feelings on the matter are as follows:
We were just having fun in sort of a meta way with Jason. That had been in and out in different versions cause it was kind of an Improv on the day. In hindsight maybe we should've had The Transporter car there too. But I don't mind if people want to think that Shaw was undercover in The Italian Job. That's great. Let's make Italian Job 2 and combine the worlds! It's all good. I think it's fun to explore all these crazy avenues in these movies and as long as the audience is having fun and going along for the ride, then then why not?
Most interesting about Leitch’s remarks are how they play into the current history of the Fast & Furious/Hobbs & Shaw universe, both in reality and in the world of the films. As the story supposedly goes, the script to the actual Italian Job sequel, The Brazillian Job, was allegedly acquired by Universal and retooled to become the smash hit that is Fast Five.
A theory that has a little more relevance after knowing that the Fast & Furious franchise tried to hire Jason Statham as early as when that particular film was nearing completion. However, the logistics in the universe are a little dicey, especially when trying to reconcile Deckard Shaw’s life with that of The Italian Job’s Handsome Rob.
The greatest problem with trying to match the two universes into one cohesive whole is, of course, the fact that fellow Italian Job co-star Charlize Theron is the villainous Cipher in the Fast & Furious side of the house. So if Handsome Rob exists in this world, so would Theron’s character, Stella Bridger; which means that Cipher either is Stella or looks really close to her in appearance. Kind of like how Tess Ocean looks exactly like Julia Roberts in Ocean’s Twelve.
Obviously, in a franchise that cites every Dwayne Johnson meme in the reality of Luke Hobbs, and throws the rules of physics out the window of a tumbling automobile, this fun reference in Hobbs & Shaw isn’t going to make any bit of difference to the world of the film. That being said, all that needs to happen is for Mark Wahlberg to appear as the still hidden evil director of the terrorist organization Eteon, and we’d have a pretty sweet Italian Job reunion on our hands. Maybe in that instance, there’d be a hell of a story to tie the two worlds together, but until then, we’ll just have our own chuckle at what could have been.
Hobbs & Shaw is in theaters now, whether or not it truly ties into The Italian Job’s unique universe.