HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 12: Dwayne Johnson attends the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images )

Dwayne Johnson to direct new film ‘Fast & Furious’ despite publicly rejecting franchise

Just when Dwayne Johnson thought he was out of the family, they brought him back in.

The action superstar has finalized a deal to return to the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise in a new film from screenwriter Chris Morgan, IndieWire has confirmed. Unlike Johnson’s 2019 spin-off “Hobbs and Shaw,” the untitled film will take place within the franchise’s main storyline. However, it won’t be an officially numbered “Fast & Furious” movie. The project has been described as a story combining the events of ‘Fast X’ and the upcoming ‘Fast X: Part II’, which is expected to be the final film in the series.

The news marks an important turning point for Johnson, who had publicly rejected the idea of ​​returning to the franchise. After playing Luke Hobbs in five “Fast & Furious” films, starting with 2011’s “Fast Five” and ending with “Hobbs & Shaw,” Johnson famously left the franchise on bad terms with Diesel.

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The two actors clashed while working together on previous “Fast & Furious” films, with Johnson taking issue with Diesel’s work ethic. The feud between the two stars escalated in 2021 when Diesel used his personal social media channels to publicly ask Johnson to reconsider his decision to walk away.

“My little brother Dwayne… it’s about time,” Diesel posted on Instagram. “The world awaits the Fast 10 finale. As you know, my kids call you Uncle Dwayne in my house. There is no holiday that passes in which they and you do not wish each other… but the time has come. The legacy awaits.

Johnson made it clear he did not appreciate Diesel’s tactics and once again closed the door on a meeting in a subsequent interview.

“I told (Diesel) directly that I was not returning to the franchise. I was firm but cordial with my words and said that I would always support the cast and always root for the success of the franchise, but that there was no chance of me returning,” Johnson said. “The recent post Vin’s audience was an example of his manipulation. I didn’t like that he raised his children in the mail, as well as Paul Walker’s death. Leave them out. We talked about this months ago and have come to a clear understanding.”

But Johnson’s relationship with the franchise seemed to improve when he made an uncredited appearance as Hobbs in “Fast X,” leading many to speculate that a bigger return could be imminent.