After Vin Diesel took to social media in November to plead with Dwayne Johnson to return to the “Fast & Furious” franchise for the 10th and final film, Johnson is now making clear that there is “no chance” he’ll be back.
“I was very surprised by Vin’s recent post,” Johnson told CNN. “This past June, when Vin and I actually connected not over social media, I told him directly – and privately – 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. I privately spoke with my partners at Universal as well, all of whom were very supportive as they understand the problem.”
Johnson further took issue with Diesel propping up his children and speaking about the late Paul Walker as further enticement to get Johnson to return to the series as Luke Hobbs, with Diesel saying in November, ““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 fulfill my promise to Pablo [Paul Walker].”
The ”Red Notice” actor and producer bluntly called Diesel’s post manipulative. “Vin’s recent public post was an example of his manipulation,” Johnson told CNN. “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. My goal all along was to end my amazing journey with this incredible ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise with gratitude and grace. It’s unfortunate that this public dialogue has muddied the waters.”
Johnson, who led his own “Fast & Furious” spinoff in the form of 2019’s “Hobbs & Shaw,” still sent his best and well-wishes to the rest of the “Fast & Furious” crew as they prepare to make the final installment in the main franchise. “Regardless, I’m confident in the ‘Fast’ universe and its ability to consistently deliver for the audience, and I truly wish my former co-stars and crew members the best of luck and success in the next chapter.”
Johnson made his “Fast” debut in 2011’s “Fast Five,” the film that took the Universal Pictures franchise to global phenomenon status. But by the time 2017’s “Fate of the Furious” rolled around, Johnson and Diesel were butting heads. During filming of the eighth film, Johnson took to social media in a since-deleted post to let off some steam with regards to his frustrations with unnamed male co-stars on the film.
“Some conduct themselves as stand-up men and true professionals, while others don’t,” Johnson wrote on Instagram. “The ones that don’t are too chicken s— to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I’m not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling — you’re right.”
It was then that Johnson seemingly bowed out of the main franchise, as he added, “I wish them well on ‘Fast 9.’ And I wish them the best of luck on Fast 10 and Fast 11 and the rest of the ‘Fast & Furious’ movies they do that will be without me.”
Johnson, Universal and his Seven Bucks Productions team have been developing a follow-up to “Hobbs and Shaw,” which producer Hiram Garcia recently described to TheWrap as having “a very ambitious vision” – one that will differentiate “Hobbs & Shaw 2” from the finale of the “Fast & Furious” franchise. “We are writing the story with complete freedom in terms of making the craziest version of a Hobbs movie we can,” Garcia said in November.
“Fast 10,” meanwhile, sees Justin Lin returning to direct after helming installments 2-6 of the franchise and coming back for 2021’s “F9.” Additional casting for the film — which is set for release on May 19, 2023 — has not been announced, but we can now firmly count out even a cameo from Dwayne Johnson.