Every entry to the Fast and Furious franchise loops in more and more huge personalities, and Hobbs & Shaw, out Aug. 2, is no exception to that. In addition to fleshing out more of the rival dynamic between Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the film introduces Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), Deckard's sister and the driving force behind Hobbs & Shaw's central plot. But who is Hattie, and what's she got to do with Hobbs's blood feud with Shaw?
Hattie, who Johnson described in an Instagram post as a "bad ass MI6 agent," is tasked with tracking down rogue MI6 agent Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), who just so happens to be outfitted with technology that makes him, in his words, "the Black Superman." She's on his tail because he's in search of a virus that can eradicate humanity as we know it. Of course, these might sound like some wild stakes, but for fans, it's very much in the ballpark of the outlandish stuff that can happen in this sometimes quasi-futuristic franchise.
The titular pair are made to team up again by the CIA after Hattie goes missing after a mission. But as Hobbs and Shaw arrive on the scene, it's made clear that she's no damsel in distress. Hattie features pretty heavily in the film's final trailer, in which Hobbs himself calls her "one of the toughest, baddest, most capable women" he's ever encountered.
Hobbs has taken a shine to Hattie, which totally irritates Deckard. Johnson's aforementioned Instagram post references that too, saying that Hobbs (and, by extension, he himself) relishes in Deckard's irritation. "It tortures [Deckard] that his sister Hattie is kicking it with Hobbs," Johnson wrote. "His pain makes me very happy."
It'll be interesting to see how that growing familiarity plays out in the film, as well as the brother-sister relationship between Hattie and Deckard. The franchise is, after all, predicated upon the concept of family, both given and found. The trio here form the best of both worlds, featuring a blood relation in Hattie and Deckard and a found family in Hattie and Hobbs.
Going further, Hobbs & Shaw takes that concept and seems to weave it into every aspect of the story. In a chat with Fab TV, Kirby spoke a bit about these themes. She said, "It's about returning home to your family and forgiveness and reconnecting with people who maybe you've lost touch with, particularly those close to you." She also went on to say, "Hobbs & Shaw is a family story about these two guys who just can't get on and sort of find each other. I think it's a love story between those two, really."
As Hattie's a brand new character who isn't referenced in the past films, her relationship to Deckard gives us some helpful background to assist with understanding who she is. It's fitting, too, as the Shaw family has taken a more prominent role over the last three films, having introduced Magdalene Shaw (Helen Mirren) and Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), Deckard's mother and brother, respectively.
Hattie could have been framed as just an assist to Hobbs and Shaw — since their names make up the title of the movie and all — but she is a hero in her own right, and what's more, Kirby is definitely the kind of actor who can hold her own against two other big stars. In a movie — and a franchise — that just teems with larger than life characters, Hattie Shaw seems to fit right in and really own her spot amongst the familial pantheon.