In a new interview with CNN, published Wednesday, Dec. 29, the Young Rock actor explicitly stated that he has no interest in reprising his role as Luke Hobbs, even after Vin Diesel issued a public plea in November.
For those who haven't been following the saga, Diesel wrote on Instagram last month, "My little brother Dwayne... the time has come. 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."
Diesel continued by referring to their co-star, the late Paul Walker, by his nickname, Pablo. "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!" he added. "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."
Though Diesel's Instagram post was met with excitement from fans of the franchise, Dwayne said he was "very surprised" to see it shared in the first place.
"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 explained. "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 added that he also informed Universal Pictures about his decision and "all of whom were very supportive as they understand the problem."
And though Diesel seemingly had good intentions, Johnson called his post an "example of his manipulation," saying, "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."
Johnson said that after his earlier conversation with Diesel, he thought they had a "clear understanding" and hoped to leave the franchise with "gratitude and grace." However, he feels the "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 concluded.
The Red Notice star first hinted that there was drama between him and Diesel in a since-deleted 2016 Instagram post in which he wrote in part, "My female co-stars are always amazing and I love ‘em. My male co-workers however are a different story."
In 2021, he told Vanity Fair that he regrets airing his frustrations publicly but his sentiments remain the same.
(E! and Universal Pictures are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)
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