The idea of a "Fast & Furious" spin-off featuring Hobbs and Shaw first emerged during filming of "The Fate of the Furious," after producers and studios execs took note of the comedic chemistry between the two throughout their scenes together. Plans to actually develop the spin-off were informally green-lit towards the end of filming, and they were later revealed to be the reason behind the much-discussed animosity that emerged between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson in the final week of production - which resulted in Diesel reportedly canceling some of Johnson's scenes (which was within his purview as one of the movie's executive producers) and not showing up for filming at all on at least one day of production, leaving hundreds of cast and crew sitting idle. After news of the spin-off became public, co-stars Michelle Rodriguez (Letty) and Tyrese Gibson (Roman) publicly criticized it for damaging the F&F "family" as well as pushing back the release of the series' ninth installment by at least a year. As of February 2019, Johnson has stated he will "probably not" return for "Fast & Furious 9" but would consider it for the 10th in the series.
WWE superstar Roman Reigns (Joe Anoa'i) plays Luke Hobbs' (Dwayne Johnson's) brother in the film, but in reality they are cousins. Both Roman and Dwayne annouced this on their respective Instagam pages.
Idris Elba refused to say a scripted line for his character, calling himself "the black James Bond". He instead used the phrase "black Superman". Elba has been rumoured to be in consideration for the role of James Bond, and would be the first black actor to portray Bond.
David Leitch has stated that the film will feel different from the "Fast and Furious" franchise. Although it will be filled with action sequences, cars and elements that constructed "Fast and Furious", it'll feel different from the series.
The movie's first trailer dropped shortly before Super Bowl LIII aired in the U.S., and a clip from it aired during the game. Its main villain, Brixton, received criticism from some fans for having superhuman strength reminiscent of the Doc Ock character from the Spider-Man comics (also seen onscreen in "Spider-Man 2," played by Alfred Molina). Both Brixton and Doc Ock derive their abilities from cybernetic manipulation of their spinal cords and central nervous system.
Dwayne Johnson was very supportive of exploring the idea of Hobbs's family, allowing for many Polynesians to be cast as his relatives. This was a definite nod to Vin Diesel's constant references to "family" in the previous Fast & Furious movies.
The film's trailer indicates that Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is a former MI6 agent. This is a significant alteration from his original depiction in the "Fast & Furious" franchise (in "Furious 7") as a villain who originally served in the British special forces before his abilities as an asset became a liability. Retconning him as an MI6 operative puts him on a footing more akin to a James Bond-style spy. As most field operatives come from a special forces background and his status as a mi6 operative would not have been made common knowledge
When Shaw repeatedly smashes the guy's face into the facial recognition scanner, the face is covered up to the nose, except for one cut back from Hobbs point of view, and then is shown covered again. (Trailer version).