What can he say except … no? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has zero plans to return to the Fast & Furious franchise, and isn’t happy about former co-star Vin Diesel‘s public plea in November for him to reprise the role of Luke Hobbs.
“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,” the actor, who made the Billboard Hot 100 with his tune “You’re Welcome” from 2016’s Moana — told CNN in an interview published Dec. 29. The star noted that he was “very surprised” by Diesel’s Instagram post on the matter, especially since he had been “firm yet cordial” during their discussion about his decision to not return to the blockbuster franchise.
“Vin’s recent public post was an example of his manipulation,” Johnson added. “I didn’t like that he brought up his children in the post, as well as Paul Walker’s death. Leave them out. We had spoken months ago about this and came to a clear understanding.”
Johnson noted that his goal was to wrap up his time with the Fast & Furious franchise gracefully and with gratitude. “It’s unfortunate that this public dialogue has muddied the waters,” he told CNN. “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 drew members the best of luck and success in the next chapter.”
The two men’s feud became public in 2016, when they reportedly clashed on the set of The Fate of the Furious. Johnson, in since-deleted Facebook and Instagram posts from August that year, blasted his male costars without naming names.
In Diesel’s November Instagram post, he appealed to The Rock, calling him “little brother” and urged him to return to the franchise. “The world awaits the finale of Fast 10. As you know, my children refer to you as Uncle Dwayne in my house,” he wrote in part. “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! 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.”
Back in June, Diesel — who made his way onto the Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart with 2020’s “Feel Like I Do” — teased that Cardi B, who appeared in F9 as Leysa, would be returning to the 10th film. “We are very much excited to evolve her character and to expand it to the finale,” said the action star at the time. “She made it just in time. She came in Fast 9 just in time.”
Besides leading and producing the Fast & Furious franchise, Diesel has also turned the films into a showcase for Latin music and artists. The star has handpicked musicians such as Ozuna, Don Omar, Romeo Santos and Tego Calderon for the films. Not only that, the movies’ soundtracks have featured numerous Latin urban music tracks.