If Fast fans were hoping that Vin Diesel’s public plea for Dwayne Johnson to return to the Fast & Furious franchise would work, they are in for a rude awakening. Much like Diesel’s very public Instagram post inviting Johnson to return to the franchise, the Red Notice actor is very publicly turning it down.
Back in November, Diesel extended a very awkwardly public invitation to Johnson on Instagram for him to return as secret agent Lucas Hobbs for the next and final entry of the franchise. The caption read, “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 fulfill my promise to Pablo. I swore that we would reach and manifest the best Fast in the finale that is 10!”
During a new interview with CNN, Johnson responded to the request and while he wishes the Fast cast and crew well, he declined the offer and even criticized Diesel for voicing an invite on social media after the two 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. 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.”
I will say that I shared some of Johnson’s sentiments when I first read the Instagram post. I thought it was strange that he did it on a public forum and I found it in poor taste that he brought up his kids and Paul Walker in a bid to engage Johnson’s sympathy. I also felt that, if Johnson still declined, it would make him look bad because Diesel used his kids and the late Paul Walker to almost make it seem like Johnson would be the bad guy for turning him down because he wouldn’t be doing what “Pablo wanted.” It was something that did smell of a manipulation a bit and that’s something that Johnson points out. That being said, Johnson still wishes the crew nothing but success even if he won’t be involved with the project:
“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 joined the Fast franchise in 2011’s Fast Five which many believe to be the best installment of the lucrative film series. At first, his Agent Hobbs was an antagonist to Diesel’s Dominic Toretto but he eventually joins the family. Johnson appeared again in the sixth, seventh, and eighth installment but by his last outing, a very public rift between him and Diesel began to play out and that’s how we ended up where we are today. After 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, Johnson bowed out and teamed up with Jason Statham to headline 2019’s spin-off, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
The Fast Saga has soldiered on without Johnson with this year’s Fast 9 braving the global pandemic to solid success with a gross of $173 million domestically and $721 million worldwide. Fast & Furious 10 is set to hit theaters on April 7, 2023.
What are YOUR thoughts on Dwayne Johnson declining Vin Diesel’s invitation to return to the Fast franchise?