Dwayne Johnson’s absence from Fast & Furious 10 seems to be a done deal, but Jason Statham could still serve the movie well. With Fast 10 and 11 confirmed to conclude the saga that started in 2001, there is not much time left for Fast & Furious to tie up loose ends. After F9 finally brought justice to Han, Fast 10 has the chance to expand on the previous movie’s plotline and close the controversial story between Sung Kang’s character and Deckard Shaw once and for all.
Both Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Shaw did not maintain their antagonist status for long, although the former’s redemption was much quicker — and less controversial — than the latter’s. Five years after the duo’s last appearance in a Fast & Furious film, the characters that once breathed new life into an evolving franchise are no longer a guaranteed presence in the series. Hobbs’ absence, however, seems to be far more irreversible due to The Rock’s feud with Vin Diesel.
Even without taking into consideration The Rock’s refusal to come back for Fast 10, Hobbs’ return to the main saga would not make much sense, given that the character’s history with the rest of Dominic Toretto’s family seemingly ended in The Fate of the Furious. Although Hobbs has come out of retirement thanks to the events of Hobbs & Shaw, the character does not seem to be up for any other major team operations as he did before. Jason Statham’ Shaw, on the other hand, still has a strong connection to a main Fast & Furious character as Han has finally returned to the series. By bringing the character back after so much speculation, F9 not only fulfilled the wish of many fans, but also made sure that Deckard Shaw can still have a future within Toretto’s team.
Before F9 retconned The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’s crash scene yet another time, audiences were demanding justice for Han in response to Shaw being way too easily forgiven by everyone and even attending Dom’s barbecue. While saving Toretto’s son and having his backstory given a new context in Hobs & Shaw helped Jason Statham’s character transition from a scary villain to a friendly good guy, Deckard Shaw’s redemption could have never been complete if it was not for the confirmation that Han was alive. Even so, Shaw’s previous actions, which could have actually led to Han’s death had it not been for Mr. Nobody’s plan, can still be brought to light in Fast & Furious 10 through a possible encounter between Han and Shaw.
While The Rock does not seem interested in returning to Fast & Furious, nothing prevents Jason Statham’s Shaw from being part of the franchise’s conclusion. Much more than Dwayne Johnson’s character, Deckard Shaw is still intrinsically tied to the most recent events of the main series and would make a great addition to the next film. Fast & Furious 10 has the chance not only to show an interaction between Han and Shaw, but also to finally validate the latter’s redemption.