Did Vin Diesel veto a Fast & Furious 8 scene setting up a Rock/Jason Statham spin-off movie?

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
Did ‘Fast & Furious 8’ originally set up a Luke Hobbs/Deckard Shaw spin-off movie? (Credit: Universal)

Vin Diesel may have recently attempted to downplay the heavily-reported feud with his ‘Fast & Furious’ series co-star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – but, if this latest report is to be believed, things might not be cooling off.

It has been alleged that Diesel – a producer on the ‘Fast & Furious’ movies, as well as the longest-serving actor in the series – demanded the removal of a scene in the newly released ‘Fast & Furious 8’ which might have served to set up a spin-off movie centred on Johnson and Jason Statham.

Although their few scenes together in ‘Fast & Furious 7’ mostly saw them trying to kill each other, ‘Fast 8’ sees Johnson’s super-soldier Luke Hobbs and Statham’s criminal mastermind Deckard Shaw forced into an uneasy alliance by Kurt Russell’s shady government agent Mr Nobody.

Naturally, it turns out the two ultra-manly men make quite a team, and it seems this led to discussion of the duo reuniting in a movie of their own – which, it is alleged, Diesel was not best pleased about.

Vin Diesel as Dominic Torretto in ‘Fast & Furious 8’ (credit: Universal)

An unnamed ‘insider’ tells The Wrap, “They had early screenings where Johnson and Statham popped so much on-screen together that they were looking at doing a spinoff.”

The source claims that a ‘tag’ scene was shot (allegedly by producer Neal Moritz, without Diesel’s knowledge) featuring Johnson’s Hobbs and Statham’s Shaw sharing a bit of banter, potentially setting the stage for a movie centred on the characters; plausible enough, given the popularity of both actors, and the fact that a Hobbs solo movie has been mentioned as a possibility in the past.

Happier times: Johnson & Diesel at a ‘Fast 5’ premiere in 2011. (Photo: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

However, it is claimed that Diesel was ‘enraged’ on learning of the scene, and ‘called the film’s studio, NBC Universal, to explosively air his grievances’ – and as a result of this, ‘the studio had all the theatrical prints recalled and cut the scene.’

While it is by no means confirmed that this was how things played out, it certainly appears that the sequence in question was indeed shot and jettisoned; another unnamed source tells The Wrap things played out less dramatically, claiming it was decided “the sequence would make for a better opportunity somewhere else,” and suggesting it had only ever been intended as bonus content on the film’s future DVD/Blu-ray release.

There has been no comment on the matter by Diesel, Johnson, Statham or Moritz at this point. If you’re having difficulty keeping up with this whole ‘F&F’ feud, here’s a handy timeline.

‘Fast & Furious 8’ is in cinemas now.

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