Actor and producer Vin Diesel has already started off 2013 strong, with Fast and Furious 6 topping $780 million at the worldwide box office and pleasing both crowds and critics alike. Aside from being one of the most successful action stars around, Diesel is also very much worth following on social media, if only for the inspirational messages that he shares.

The big Diesel news this week has been the strong rumors suggesting that he will be the voice of Groot in James Gunn’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie for Marvel. Neither Groot nor Rocket Raccoon have had their voice actors officially announced yet, but Diesel has heavily implied that he’s decided to take on the role. Diesel has his fingers in many pies, however, and in addition to his upcoming threequel Riddick, it seems that he’s already looking ahead to yet another sci-fi project.

According to THR, Diesel now has his sights set on Soldiers of the Sun, a spec script from screenwriter Arash Amel that Diesel intends to both produce and star in. Soldiers of the Sun is set in the ever-popular locale of post-apocalyptic Earth, and centers around a squad of soldiers who are on a tour of duty in Mexico (apparently the apocalypse didn’t manage to wipe out our military infrastructure) in an attempt to liberate the country from an invading alien race called the Orcs. The soldiers hear about a fabled city of gold, and decide to seek it out for themselves.

Amel is currently best known for writing last year’s action thriller The Expatriate, which starred Aaron Eckhart in the lead, and he’s also been tapped to write the script for I Am Legend 2, though progress on that sequel seems to be moving sluggishly. This year will see the release of a Grace Kelly biopic that was written by Amel: Grace of Monaco, in which Nicole Kidman will star as the Hollywood actress and royal.

Nicole Kidman in ‘Grace of Monaco’

If Soldiers of the Sun does make it as a successful franchise, it will be a poetic counterpoint to the franchise that originally launched Diesel’s career, Chronicles of Riddick. That series began with Pitch Black, in which Richard B. Riddick and the crew and passengers of the Hunter-Gratzner are stranded on a planet scorched by eternal sunlight, only to find themselves fighting off monsters during a month-long eclipse.

Rather than being a property focused around a central character, it’s believed that Soldiers of the Sun will be an ensemble-type franchise along the same lines as the Fast and Furious series, which also helped to cement Diesel’s place as a major action star. The actor will produce the film with Fast and Furious executive producer Samantha Vincent under their One Race Films banner, with the help of veteran producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (RED).

Do you like the sound of Diesel’s new pet project? Tell us what you think of his plans for Soldiers of the Sun in the comments.

Soldiers of the Sun is still in early development and doesn’t yet have a release date, but we’ll keep you updated on its progress.

Source: THR