New Fast 8 poster ahead of tonight's trailer premiere.

Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw Spinoff Set for July 26, 2019

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If you think the Fast and Furious franchise is running on empty, just remember Universal promises to deliver two more installments, a spinoff, and a cash grabbing live-action arena show. So why are we not excited?

Unfortunately, the Fast and Furious saga continues to dominate headlines perhaps more appropriately suited for your typical supermarket tabloid. Or if SEO is your thing, just Google "Fast and Furious 9" and check out the first page search results....

Legit or shall I say boring news first - Just this week, Universal pushed back the release date for "Fast and Furious 9" originally slated for April 19, 2019 to April 10, 2020. As many speculated including myself, the move rested squarely on Universal's decision to release Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's "Luke Hobbs" and Jason Statham's "Deckard Shaw"Untitled Fast and Furious spin-off now scheduled for July 26, 2019.

Bold decision considering the spinoff will go toe-to-toe with James Cameron's "Terminator 2" Sequel, and will trail The Lion King (July 19) by one week and Tom Cruise's Top Gun: Maverick (July 12) two weeks earlier. The Fast and Furious spinoff will feature Johnson and Statham reprising their roles as special agent Hobbs and reluctant #family ally and criminal [Han killer] Deckard Shaw, who team up on an undisclosed mission. Why and for whom? One can only hope it's under the command of Kurt Russell's Mr. Nobody. Though a director has not been attached, I am pleased to see none other than Shane Black pop up on the list of possible candidates!

But if you're puzzled by Universal's decision to elevate the "Hobbs/Shaw spinoff" for July 2019, let's look at the numbers; Universal's decision might have less to do with Dom's hashtag #Family brand and more to do with Dwayne Johnson's box office draw. It's no secret The Rock injected some much needed life into the series with Hobbs' introduction in 2011's Fast Five - arguably the franchise's pinnacle film. With Johnson starring in four of the eight films, the numbers don't lie - those four films co-starring Johnson account for a little over $4.1 billion of the franchise's $5.1 billion TOTAL gross.

Is it the brand, The Rock? Or both?

Those were the days ... Hard work forever pays ... Now I see you in a better place

Time for 'Fast and Furious After Dark' talk....

Clearly Universal is hedging their bet on both but don't tell that to Tyrese Gibson. Gibson was first introduced to the series as "Roman Pierce" in 2003's 2 Fast 2 Furious. It wasn't until after the recently settled Diesel/Johnson feud that Gibson took to social media taking issue over Johnson's decision to move ahead with the Hobbs/Shaw spinoff. And now that Universal has set a firm date, they have essentially prioritized what's next for series writer, Chris Morgan. But if there's an ounce of good news here, it's that Universal has removed The Bride of Frankenstein altogether from its 2019 release schedule, freeing up Morgan for both the spinoff and the 9th installment. Bad news if you were invested in seeing Universal's dark universe take off.

Meanwhile, Gibson's social media has gone full-tilt, calling The Rock a "clown" and accusing him of taking over #family brand. Perhaps more noteworthy is news that both he and series co-star "Tej" Chris Ludacris Bridges were offered their own spin-off, which they ultimately turned down in favor of #family.

If you are one of the few reading this, it's probable you'll want to check out Gibson's posts below. At the very least, you'll be entertained. The now deleted posts come courtesy of theshaderoom.

Are you team #Family? #TheRock? Or #DGAF?

IG - September 10: “If you move forward with that #Hobbs Movie you will have purposely ignored the heart to heart moment we had in my sprinter,” Gibson wrote. “I don’t wanna hear from you until you remember what we talked about. I’m on your timeline cause you’re not responding to my text messages – #FastFamily is just that a family…….. We don’t fly solo.”

Anger meter: pointing towards low-med levels.

IG - September 12: “I have never and will never have a problem with this major movie star he’s my brother,” wrote Gibson, who didn’t help his case by admitting he didn’t like Baywatch. “I’m simply trying to reach him cause he won’t call me back about this solo #HobbsMovie I want you to shoot it just not right now cause the #Fast9 release date has already been announced and we can’t let our loyal fans #FastFamily or our loyal fast and furious FANS down on any level from pushing the date…….. Didn’t you see how HUGE #Fast8 was? It’s because we announced and KEPT our release date bro.”“Once you hit me back I will delete every post,” which might mean that he has finally received a response from Johnson. But yet to be deleted from Gibson’s Instagram feed is a picture of him and Johnson with the caption, “I don’t do email bruh. You got my cell same San Diego # hit me.”

Anger meter: Baywatch mention indicates med-high levels

IG - October 4: #PSA Congratulations to@TheRock and your brother in law aka 7 bucks producing partner@hhgarcia41 for making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU – And like you, DJ even if they call I will not be deleting this post – Gn folks see you in 2020 April #FastFamily right? Nah….. it’s about #TeamDewayne #3yrs will it be worth the wait? #NoShaw just Hobbs will this be another #BayWatch? Guys guys just relax I’m just a passionate film critic

Anger meter: seems like he's on the cusp of dialing back to low

IG - October 5: Diversity, love, multi ethnic worldwide multi generational, United Nations, One Race, Fast Family...... Until Dewayne showed up I guess this whole time he had a problem cause he wasn't the ONLY ONE on the movie poster........... I guess dreams do come true congratulations to@hhgarcia41 and@therock you guys are just amazing you really broke up the #FastFamily I tried to warn you guys... You thought I was hating...... I was simply fighting to keep the family together what makes us great is when you see us all TOGETHER we don't fly solo..... #MyLastPost today..... I got 3 years of venting on this clown - They offered but YOU didn't have to agree with a solo #HobbsMovie #OriginalFastFamily we salute you and stand on your shoulders #VinDiesel #PaulWalker #RobCohen #RomanTej were offered a spin off we TURNED IT DOWN!!!

Anger meter: Full-tilt angry - HIGH

IG - October 5: tyrese#Repost #SwipeLeft -@VinDiesel - Never confuse determination with desperation..... What's understood don't have to be explained...... 44 million just got the memo.... Although it appears to be.... I've never been in this alone........ #PerceptionVsReality #FastFamily like I said we don't fly solo. President Obama's integrity teachings is of a man who makes everyone feel like they MATTER.....

Greg Harmon | Managing Editor | Follow me @sweetharmony for Film & TV discussion | Ko-fi http://ko-fi.com/sweetharmony