In November, Diesel extended an invitation to Johnson on Instagram, imploring Johnson to reprise his role as secret agent Lucas Hobbs for the next entry in the series.
“The world awaits the finale of ‘Fast 10,’” Diesel wrote. “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!”
In a new interview with CNN, Johnson responded to the request, criticizing 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. “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 well wishes for the “Fast & Furious” family ahead of their next, and ostensibly penultimate, outing.
“My goal all along was to end my amazing journey with this incredible franchise with gratitude and grace,” Johnson said. “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 & Furious” franchise with 2011’s “Fast Five.” At first, his Agent Hobbs is an antagonist to Diesel’s Dominic Toretto, though Johnson’s character later joins his family of physics-defying heroes. Johnson 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 & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.”
“F9: The Fast Saga” was one of the few success stories for theatrical releases during this past summer, grossing $173 million domestically and $721 million worldwide. “Fast & Furious 10” is set to hit theaters 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 expected to buckle up for the film. “F9” helmer and frequent series director Justin Lin will also return for the follow-up.