Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham play alpha males who prefer working on their own in "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw."
But they received help with startling surprise cameos – major A-list appearances that Johnson, a producer, promises will lead to returning characters in future "Hobbs & Shaw" projects.
"This movie has some great surprises," says Johnson. "And with the next one, you’re already looking at the team."
Adds director David Leitch: "We lay out the menu for this world moving forward with this great cast. It’s a universe now, just add water."
Spoiler alert: if you haven't seen "Hobbs & Shaw" yet, stop reading! Key plot lines and appearances will be revealed.
Seriously, don't read any further.
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Ryan Reynolds can kill as Locke
Reynolds working his motormouth against the 6-foot-5 Johnson is the verbal screen match-up the world desperately needed.
It finally happened with Reynolds playing CIA agent Locke, who puts Hobbs on assignment and desperately wants to be his BFF.
Leitch was key in getting Reynolds involved after working with Reynolds on "Deadpool 2." Reynolds jumped at the opportunity to breathe comedy into the pivotal character who reveals key plot details and riffed with Johnson, as Hobbs gets his marching orders. "Ryan is just right there," says Johnson.
Reynolds returned to shoot the extended post-credit scenes, which involve Locke causing mayhem breaking into a heavily fortified facility. "Ryan is a big fan of these post-credit scenes," says Leitch. "He and Dwayne just had a great time."
Locke shows lethal skills, surprising himself by stabbing a guy with a brick before phoning Hobbs for extraction help. Yet, in the midst of it all, Locke still manages to find time to complain about May's "Game of Thrones" finale, in a signature Reynolds off-color rant.
"Yes, he ruined it," Johnson laughs of the "GOT" ending spoiler. But people should have seen the finale by now.
Kevin Hart talked roughly as Air Marshal Dinkley
Hart's surprise appearance as Air Marshal Dinkley was an early shock, defusing what appeared to be a brewing coach-class airline battle between Hobbs and Shaw.
Dinkley wants to be part of their team and later calls from his office, an airport bathroom stall, offering valuable contacts while giving himself a ridiculous special forces title.
Johnson called his "Jumanji" and "Central Intelligence" co-star to pitch the role. Hart loved it, stepping off a Houston concert stage straight onto a plane to London to join the shoot.
The comedian had ribbed Johnson on the "Jumanji" set about the tough, low voices the "Fast & Furious" actors seem to incorporate when cameras roll.
"Kevin used to say to me 'Why do you guys in 'Fast & Furious' always talk like that?'" Johnson says, replaying Hart's mock growling 'Furious' voice. "I was laughing so hard. So we’re shooting this scene, and I’m like, 'Kevin do the 'Fast and Furious' voice." The voice stuck for Dinkley.
More importantly, both Hart and Reynolds' key characters are in play for future movies. "We have set up Kevin and we set up Ryan. That’s the goal," says Johnson.
Who's the villain on the phone?
Hobbs and Shaw are just celebrating defeating Idris Elba's Brixton when they get a call from a mysterious, threatening voice from Hobbs' past who vows to make his malevolent presence known.
The internet has already speculated the synthesized voice could belong to: Keanu Reeves who starred with Leitch in "John Wick."
Leitch won't say (but coyly didn't dismiss the concept). Whomever this future villain is, expect a major name. And Johnson points out that "Hobbs & Shaw" ends with Elba's Brixton remotely shut down by this mysterious corporate controller, not killed. So would Elba be back?
"That’s the goal," says Johnson. "That guy came in and crushed it."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Hobbs and Shaw': Why those killer cameos are so important (spoilers!)