It’s official: Dwayne Johnson says there is “no way” he’ll return in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, placing former co-star Vin Diesel between the Rock and a quick spot.
In a November Instagram post, after years of tension, Diesel implored his former co-star to reprise the role of Luke Hobbs in the 10th installment of the popular film series – with references to their children, citing the legacy of late star Paul Walker. and imploring Johnson to “realize your destiny”.
Turns out, the “Hobbs & Shaw” spin-off star had already made up her mind and was surprised by Diesel’s opening.
“Last June, when Vin and I didn’t connect through social media, I told him directly – and in private – that I wasn’t coming back to the franchise,” Johnson said recently in a sprawling interview with CNN.
“I was firm but cordial with my words and said that I will always support the cast and always support the success of the franchise, but that there was no way I would return.”
In Diesel’s November plea on Instagram, he wrote: “My little brother Dwayne … the time is right. The world is waiting for the Fast 10 finale. As you know my kids call you Uncle Dwayne in my house. There isn’t a holiday that goes by without them and you sending good wishes … but the time has come.
“I say this for love… but you have to introduce yourself, don’t leave the franchise idle, you have a very important role to play,” Diesel added. “Hobbs cannot be played by anyone else. I hope you rise to the occasion and fulfill your destiny.”
Johnson made his franchise debut in 2011 at the “Fast Five” box office and appeared in three other sequels. In 2016, he said he clashed with anonymous male co-stars while filming “Fate of the Furious” in 2017, sending fans dizzying to his future with the global phenomenon.
Johnson told CNN he spoke privately to his Universal Pictures partners about his decision and that they “were very supportive because they understood the issue.” He was therefore disappointed to see the speech return to social media.
“Vin’s recent public message was an example of his manipulation,” Johnson continued. “I didn’t like him raising his children in the post, as well as the death of Paul Walker. Leave them out. We had talked about it months ago and we hit it off.
“My goal from the start was to end my incredible journey with this incredible ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise with gratitude and grace. It is unfortunate that this public dialogue has muddied the waters.”
The star and former wrestler of “Red Notice” and “Jungle Cruise” said he has confidence in the universe of “Fast” and “its ability to always meet the expectations of the public.” Johnson also wished his former co-stars and crew “the best of luck and success in the next chapter.”
Meanwhile, Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions is developing a “Hobbs & Shaw” sequel. And the 10th “Fast & Furious” is set for release in May 2023 and will be directed by Justin Lin, who directed the second through sixth films and 2021 pandemic hit, “F9: The Fast Saga”. Diesel and “Fast” veterans Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Sung Kang and Nathalie Emmanuel are currently expected to return.
Representatives for Diesel did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment on Thursday.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.