“F9,” the ninth mainline “Fast and Furious” film, was released in theaters across the United States on June 25, marking the end of what had become a lengthy delay. Originally “F9” was scheduled to be released on May 22, 2020. Of course, pandemic precautions pushed that planned release date back, first to April 2021 and then, finally, to the date of its June premiere. The four years between it and its predecessor, “The Fate of the Furious,” now make up the largest gap between mainline “Fast and Furious” films in franchise history thus far. That said, “Fast” fans were not left entirely in the cold, but rather had “Hobbs & Shaw,” released in 2019, to tide them over.
“Hobbs & Shaw,” instead of featuring the sizable cast of characters necessary for a proper “Fast and Furious” film, focused solely on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw. The film was thus the first bona fide “Fast” series spin-off. As a result, it not only broke up the gap between the franchise’s eighth and ninth proper entries, but allowed director David Leitch, whose involvement was new to the series, to experiment with genre in ways that might have felt out of place in a mainline “Fast” film.