In November, Diesel issued an online plea to Johnson on Instagram, begging Johnson to reprise his role as secret agent Lucas Hobbs for the next entry in the series, even going as far as evoking the name of Paul Walker.
“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 an interview with CNN, Johnson responded to the request, criticizing Diesel for posting an invite on social media after the two had already reached an agreement to part ways in private.
“I was very surprised by Vin’s recent post,” Johnson said. “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. 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.”
He continued to say that Diesel’s move was “an example of his manipulation” and that it was wrong for Diesel to bring up Diesel’s kids and Paul Walker’s death in his public attempt to bring him back as Luke Hobbs once again.
“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.”
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.
Fast & Furious 10 is slated for an April 7, 2023, release and Johnson will be seen in Black Adam in 2022.