Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wants to “elevate” the Fast & Furious series with the forthcoming spin-off centered around his character Hobbs. Despite the fact Hobbs wasn’t introduced until the fifth entry, it’s hard to imagine the Fast & Furious series without him. Hobbs is an Interpol agent whose relentless pursuit of Dom (Vin Diesel) and his clan in Fast Five provided most of the drama, but over course of the installments released since then he’s become part of their “family.”

Johnson showed particularly strong chemistry with Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw in The Fate of the Furious, with the two building a nice buddy cop relationship. A post-credit teaser was shot for the movie that indicated the two would team up for a spin-off, but it was removed from the final cut. It’s since been confirmed that the Hobbs solo movie is happening though, and that Shaw will be part of it.

The ever-busy Johnson mentioned the movie in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, and how he feels it’s important for the series to continue evolving by spinning off characters:

It’s been a challenging process because I feel like my intention from day one, when I first joined the cast, was to hopefully come in, have fun, and create a character that people will hopefully like and try to elevate the franchise. But in the process of elevating the franchise, I have always thought that in order for this to have real longevity and legs, we should spin out and create characters that can live on their own.

By now it’s well-known Johnson has had issues with some of his Fast & Furious co-stars during production of Fate of the Furious. He called out Vin Diesel’s behavior on Instagram during the making of the film, and Tyrese Gibson later took to his own social media to label Johnson “selfish” for taking on a solo movie. Johnson, for his part, wants to stay focused on the work:

At the end of the day, the only thing I want to do is make a great movie for the fans. I never ever get wrapped up in the sludge of the bulls*** that can be connected at times to a franchise. So I never get dragged into it. I never respond to any of that.

The main Fast & Furious series is due to wrap up with the tenth movie, but given the massive success of the franchise, the studio will likely be looking for a way to keep it alive. The Hobbs spin-off will likely be a testing of the water to see if audiences are interested in seeing other solo adventures; given that Hobbs is probably the most popular character, the movie should do reasonably well.

Johnson isn’t exactly hurting for work either, and his upcoming movies including Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, Rampage, Skyscraper and Jungle Cruise. He’s also rumored to be making his DC Extended Universe debut as Black Adam in Suicide Squad 2 in the foreseeable future.

The Hobbs spin-off hits theaters July 26, 2019.