The Ending of ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Explained

The ‘Fast & Furious’ spinoff leaves us with a lot of questions. We’ve got answers.
Hobbs And Shaw
Universal Pictures
By  · Published on August 3rd, 2019

Ending Explained is a recurring series in which we explore the finales, secrets, and themes of interesting movies and shows, both new and old. In this entry, we break down the ending of Hobbs & Shaw.

When the lights come up at the end of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, after 135 minutes including three mid- and post-credits sequences, we’re left with a lot of unanswered questions. That’s to be expected with a spinoff installment of an 18-year-old movie franchise — specifically the ninth part, or 11th if we’re including short films — that continues to grow and evolve with seemingly limitless possibilities. Of course, it’s going to be left open-ended, so as to tease and hype further productions, and of course, it’s going to mess with mythology and have us wondering about connections to past storylines and characters.

Who is The Director? What is going on in those post-credits scenes? Can you really stab someone with a brick? Did Ryan Reynolds really just spoil the Game of Thrones ending for everyone not caught up with the show? And most importantly, where is the rest of the Fast & Furious family during all of this? Okay, that last question always has to be asked when a  movie franchise spins off a “solo” superhero installment, which Hobbs & Shaw definitely is. Never mind where Dom, Letty, Roman, and Tej are. If anything, we need to know where Owen Shaw is and whether he’s alive or has been killed by Deckard off screen. And speaking of Deckard’s kills, the real most important question is: where’s justice for Han?

Let’s begin with where the ending of the movie puts us. Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) have finally learned to fight as a team and together defeated “black superman” Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) in the “Battle of Samoa.” The bionically enhanced villain’s organization, Eteon, realizes they need to put eyes in the back of their super soldiers’ heads and flip a kill switch on the guy who otherwise seems like a good enough asset to keep around (plus he does a pretty mean plot song rap on the soundtrack). The bigger boss, known only as The Director, speaks in their disguised voice to our three heroes — let’s not forget the most deservingly titular Shaw of the title, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) — telling them this isn’t the first time they’ve been beaten by these guys, and in perfect Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget fashion all but shouts, “I’ll get you next time, Hobbs and Shaws! Next tiiiiiiiime!”

Oh, right, then we see Deckard and Hattie slip a special cake to Mama Shaw, Magdalene (Helen Mirren), as they appear to begin helping her break out of prison (so Hattie is fully ex-government, then? Or, after saving the world do the Shaws get to free their mother anyway but this is the more fun way of releasing her?). And in two of the credits scenes, we get more of Ryan Reynolds as new character CIA agent Locke covered in blood and teasing the next-level mission for Hobbs (no, I’m not going to discuss the second credits scene with the extra homophobic joke). He’s securely put away the Snowflake virus, which Hattie was able to extract from her body just… in… time, but now there’s an even worse virus out there that melts your skin off your body. Sounds like another job for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.

The Director is probably involved with that virus, too. So who is he? Or she? Watching the movie, I was waiting for the moment when Charlize Theron would appear on-screen revealed to be the face behind the computer voice. She was last seen in this franchise as the Fate of the Furious villain Cipher and got away at the end of that film. She’s supposedly returning for the next installment of the main series. But was she also involved in this spinoff? Theron has worked with director David Leitch before, starring in his under-seen action flick Atomic Blonde, so she certainly seemed an obvious fit for one of the Hobbs & Shaw cameos. Cipher also fits the line about having gone up against these heroes before, not just in The Fate of the Furious but, as stated in that movie, working behind the scenes for a while.

Another guess for The Director from me is Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). He also took off to the unknown at the end of The Fate of the Furious. And it’s odd that he’s the only Shaw sibling we don’t see in Hobbs & Shaw. But he is also never mentioned at all. Not even by Magdalene, who is only interested in the son and daughter who are 20 years apart in age yet were somehow little kids at the same time. There’s a point in Hobbs & Shaw when Deckard says something about how Brixton forced him to kill his own brother, which made me question where I’d missed Owen’s dying at the hands of his big bro in the previous movie. But most fans seem to be in agreement that the line was referring to Deckard being forced to shoot Brixton, his “brother,” in the head. Maybe it’s unlikely that Owen would go against Deckard in this franchise, but considering The Director wants to recruit Hobbs and Shaw, maybe it’s partly to re-team with his own brother.

Other speculation out there includes the possibility of The Director being an as-yet-unseen character who is to be played by Leitch pal Keanu Reeves. But that’s based on an old debunked rumor that Reeves was to have a part in Hobbs & Shaw. Another theory is that The Director is none other than Locke. Maybe the people he was fighting during the post-credits scenes were fellow CIA agents he faced while stealing that new deadly virus himself. Maybe he’s having more fun with his supposed BFF Hobbs than meets the eye. Also, Reynolds actually provided the voice of The Director, under the alias “Champ Nightengale.” Of course, that vocal performance could just have been as a placeholder for whoever really steps into the role. And I believe that whoever may not have even been decided yet.

Could they really just not know themselves? Surely franchise screenwriter Chris Morgan has an idea, but maybe nothing has been set in stone yet. Leitch says in interviews that they thought about revealing The Director’s identity but then decided to keep the mystery going and tease it out further. Maybe they won’t even show us in the next one (hopefully titled 2 Hobbs 2 Shaw, which would work because they’d bring back Cliff Curtis as Jonah Hobbs as well as Kirby as Hattie?). Maybe the point of not revealing the face this time was to avoid bringing in a star for a single shot leading into a sequel that might never happen (a la Alita: Battle AngelGreen LanternThe Amazing Spider-Man 2, et al.). In fact, this builds greater interest for a sequel. But maybe they’re just keeping their options open and will really decide later. It’s not like they need continuity to work perfectly with whatever they choose. It’s the Fast & Furious franchise, after all.

Speaking of which, remember how Deckard Shaw was once a villain? Yeah, bad guys do the heel-face turn all the time in movies (look up Godzilla, Terry Benedict, Diego the saber-tooth tiger, and Police Academy‘s Zed), but rarely are they a villain who’d murdered a fan-favorite character from the franchise in cold blood. The funny thing is that Deckard is given a redemption plot in Hobbs & Shaw where he’s said to have killed his own team back when he was in MI6 (this also goes against his previous back story of having been a lone, unstable yet essential operative eventually marked for death by British Intelligence) but that was just fake news put out by Eteon. With that reveal of him being not as evil as his reputation had put it, he also says he’s indeed done other things he’s not proud of. Like killing Han? Oh, do we forgive him now?

Not quite. And fans can be assured that justice for Han (Sung Kang) is on the way. Hobbs & Shaw co-writer Drew Pearce told Mike Ryan of Uproxx that “there were a couple of ways that we nearly addressed it and then chose not to” in the current movie. Morgan has also addressed the issue, confirming to Entertainment Weekly that Deckard’s line about not being proud of some things is about Han. “I would say that the super-arc for Deckard Shaw is going to be one of the most interesting, cool, rewarding character arcs in the franchise. Justice for Han is owed,” he promises. “It’s something we have discussed for a very long time and want to give the right due to. I think the audience will be satisfied and should know it’s coming.”

Hey, here’s a theory: Han is The Director! That’s right, he never died. Or he’s a literal ghost, because now that we have super-powered characters like Brixton in the franchise, what’s stopping them from giving us paranormal activity. And aliens. And dragons. Maybe not dragons. But that reminds me of our last order of business. Yes, Locke gave away the ending of Game of Thrones. Jon Snow slept with his aunt then killed her. Where’s the justice for Daenerys campaign? Oh, right here.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.