Washington: Hollywood star Dwayne Johnson has publicly declined ‘Fast and Furious’ series star Vin Diesel’s request to rejoin the action franchise for its upcoming 10th instalment.
According to Variety, Diesel had extended an invitation to Johnson on Instagram in November. He implored Johnson to reprise his role as secret agent Lucas Hobbs for the next entry in the series.Diesel wrote, “The world awaits the finale of ‘Fast 10’. As you know, my children refer to you as Uncle Dwayne in my house. There is not a holiday that goes by that they and you don’t send well wishes… but the time has come. Legacy awaits. I told you years ago that I was going to fulfil my promise to Pablo. I swore that we would reach and manifest the best Fast in the finale that is 10!”
In a new interview with CNN, Johnson has responded to the request. He criticised Diesel for voicing an invite on social media after the two had already reached an agreement in private.
“I told [Diesel] directly that I would not be returning to the franchise. I was firm yet cordial with my words and said that I would always be supportive of the cast and always root for the franchise to be successful, but that there was no chance I would return,” Johnson explained.
He added, “Vin’s recent public post was an example of his manipulation. I didn’t like that he brought up his children in the post, as well as Paul Walker’s death. Leave them out of it. We had spoken months ago about this and came to a clear understanding.”
However, Johnson went on to express his good wishes for the ‘Fast and Furious’ family ahead of their next, and ostensibly penultimate, outing. He said, “My goal all along was to end my amazing journey with this incredible franchise with gratitude and grace. It’s unfortunate that this public dialogue has muddied the waters. Regardless, I’m confident in the ‘Fast’ universe and its ability to consistently deliver for the audience… I truly wish my former co-stars and crew members the best of luck and success in the next chapter.”
Johnson had commenced his ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise journey with 2011’s ‘Fast Five’. At first, his Agent Hobbs was an antagonist to Diesel’s Dominic Toretto, though Johnson’s character later joined his family of physics-defying heroes.
Johnson later bowed out of the mainline series following his appearance in 2017’s ‘The Fate of the Furious’, teaming up with Jason Statham to headline a spin-off, 2019’s ‘Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw’.
‘F9: The Fast Saga’ was one of the few success stories for theatrical releases during this past summer, grossing USD 173 million domestically and USD 721 million worldwide. ‘Fast and Furious 10’ is set to hit theatres on April 7, 2023.
Diesel will return to star, while regular series cast members Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez are also expected to buckle up for the film.
‘F9’ helmer and frequent series director Justin Lin will also return for the follow-up, as per Variety.