Dwayne Johnson says there’s “no chance” of him rejoining the Fast & Furious family, shutting down all talk of his return to the franchise despite recent overtures from co-star Vin Diesel for the pair to bury their well-publicized feud and collaborate on Fast 10.
In an interview with CNN published Wednesday, the Red Notice star was asked directly about Diesel’s public offer of an olive branch and gave a forthright and unambiguous answer. “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.
He continued: “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 also addressed Diesel’s public attempts at a rapprochement between the action stars. Back in November, Diesel made a very public, and bizarre, plea to Johnson to return to the Fast fold in an Instagram post. “My little brother Dwayne… the time has come,” Diesel wrote in his Instagram post, adding, “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 was very surprised by Vin’s recent post,” Johnson said, later adding, “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.”
He added, “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.”
A true Hollywood clash of the titans, Johnson and Diesel fell out spectacularly, or rather their feud became public, in 2016 when they butted heads on the set of The Fate of the Furious. They have been trading barbs in the media ever since Johnson’s 2016 Instagram post in which he questioned Diesel’s professionalism.
The feud was renewed in June when Diesel told Men’s Health that his conflicts with Johnson were due to his “tough love” approach on set.
“It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character,” Diesel said. “My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be. As a producer to say, Okay, we’re going to take Dwayne Johnson, who’s associated with wrestling, and we’re going to force this cinematic world, audience members, to regard his character as someone that they don’t know — Hobbs hits you like a ton of bricks. That’s something that I’m proud of, that aesthetic. That took a lot of work. We had to get there and sometimes, at that time, I could give a lot of tough love. Not Felliniesque, but I would do anything I’d have to do in order to get performances in anything I’m producing.”
Johnson, of course, responded.
“I laughed and I laughed hard,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think everyone had a laugh at that. And I’ll leave it at that. And that I’ve wished them well. I wish them well on Fast 9. And I wish them the best of luck on Fast 10 and Fast 11 and the rest of the Fast & Furious movies they do that will be without me.”
Following their falling out, Johnson has gone on to star in the spinoff The Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, opposite Jason Statham. That film went on to gross $759 million globally in 2019. Diesel’s latest Fast installment, Fast 9, was released earlier this year and grossed $721 million globally, making it the top-grossing Hollywood film of the pandemic.
Diesel is attached for Fast 10 and Fast 11, from filmmaker Justin Lin. Fast 10 is set for May 19, 2023 release date from Universal. Lin has described Fast 9, 10 and 11 as being chapters in a trilogy that will close out the main Fast franchise.