Photo Credit: Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures
A female-centred Fast and Furious spin-off is moving forward with Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy), Lindsey Beer (Sierra Burgess Is a Loser), and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider) attached as screenwriters, franchise star and producer Vin Diesel announced via Instagram on Thursday. It's unclear whom the film will focus on, though Michelle Rodriguez's Letty Ortiz — who has been the on-and-off love interest to Diesel's character, Dominic Toretto — will undoubtedly be involved. Fast and Furious fans will hope to see Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto as well, though it's much likelier that Game of Thrones' Nathalie Emmanuel, who joined as the hacker Ramsey in Furious 7, will play a part.
In his Instagram post on Thursday, Diesel talked about the Fast and Furious female spin-off in a matter-of-fact manner, as if it's been confirmed long ago, even though Universal Pictures has yet to make an official announcement.
“As you know, there are three new spin-offs that we have promised Universal,” he wrote. “Well this week we heard a pitch for the Fast female protagonist driven spin-off I created in 2017, and you can tell by the smile on Samantha's [Vincent, a producer] face it was [emphasis his] VERY exciting. Shout out to Nicole Perlman, Lindsey Beer, Geneva Robertson-Dworet. Welcome to the Fast FAMILY...”
Hobbs and Shaw, centred on the respective characters of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, and starring Idris Elba as the villain, is currently the only confirmed Fast and Furious spin-off, slated to release August 2, 2019. Only Diesel knows what the third spin-off is supposed to be. And he would know, given he's been a producer on Fast and Furious since 2009. Universal is likely waiting to see the commercial reception for Hobbs and Shaw before it greenlights other spin-offs.
In addition to writing the original draft of 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, Perlman contributed to the story of the upcoming Captain Marvel. Beer is the sole writer of last year's Netflix film Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, starring Stranger Things alum Shannon Purser and Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I've Loved Before). Beer is one of six credited screenwriters on Doug Liman's in-the-works sci-fi film Chaos Walking, which has Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), and Mads Mikkelsen attached to star. Robertson-Dworet was a co-writer on the Alicia Vikander-starrer Tomb Raider reboot and is also credited on the upcoming Captain Marvel alongside three others.
Fast and Furious has a notorious, long troubled history with its on-screen representation, portrayal, and treatment of women. Female characters have always been used as little more than sex objects to titillate its young largely-male target audience, with little importance to the plot at large. Hiring three female screenwriters to script the spin-off suggests the franchise is accepting those criticisms, though it could simply be termed as tokenisation. The latest chapter, The Fate of the Furious, ended up using the much-criticised ‘fridging' trope as well, killing off the mother of Dominic's child, the ex-cop Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) to propel the hero's story.
That most likely rules out Elena from being part of the female-centric Fast and Furious spin-off, though that hasn't stopped earlier entries from playing with the timeline. Han (Sung Kang) was introduced and killed off in the third chapter in 2006, The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, but the writers worked to bring him back for three more entries: 2009's Fast & Furious, 2011's Fast Five, and 2013's Fast & Furious 6. Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, who played Han's love interest Gisele, was killed off in Kang's final franchise appearance as well, though fans will admittedly love if she was brought back. Her return will be a tough ask given Gadot is a much bigger star now than she was then.