Dwayne Johnson has responded to his former Fast & Furious co-star Vin Diesel’s suggestion last month that Johnson return for the finale of the high-octane film franchise.
Johnson, who played Luke Hobbs in four installments of the Fast franchise as well as the 2019 spinoff Hobbs & Shaw with Jason Statham, told CNN in an interview Wednesday that he was “very surprised” by Diesel’s November Instagram post calling on Johnson to return for Fast 10.
“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,” Johnson said. “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 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. 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. 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.”
Diesel revealed over then summer that the bad blood between the pair was due to Diesel using “tough love” while producing Johnson in 2016 for The Fate of the Furious. He told Men’s Health magazine he used the approach “to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be.”
In his Instagram post last month, Diesel wrote: “My little brother Dwayne… the time has come. 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.”
He continued, “I told you years ago that I was going to fulfill my promise to Pablo [Paul Walker]. I swore that we would reach and manifest the best Fast in the finale that is 10! I say this out of love… but you must show up, do not leave the franchise idle you have a very important role to play. Hobbs can’t be played by no other. I hope that you rise to the occasion and fulfill your destiny.”
Universal said earlier this month that it will now release the 10th chapter in its Fast & Furious movie franchise on May 19, 2023. The pic had originally been scheduled for a wide release on April 7, 2023. Justin Lin returns to direct what will be the first of two movies that will write the final chapters of the franchise.
There are still plans for other movie spinoffs and TV shows.