It looks like Vin Diesel and Paul Walker will have another familiar face riding shotgun with them when Fast Five cruises into theaters next summer. Tyrese Gibson is slated to reprise the role of Roman Pearce, an ex-con and childhood friend of Walker’s character.

Roman was originally created to fill the void left by Diesel when the actor opted not to return for 2 Fast 2 Furious. Gibson was previously approached to make a cameo in the fourth film, Fast & Furious, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from appearing.

Gibson revealed his involvement in Fast Five by way of his Twitter page – where he enthusiastically declared:

“I’m back!! Roman is back!!”

There’s speculation that had Gibson been available, Roman would have appeared in the final scene of Fast & Furious – driving one of the cars racing to free Dominic Toretto from the prison transport. Fast Five will pick up where the previous film left off, and involves the main characters (now fugitives) as they are pursued by an unyielding U.S. Marshal (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson).

Fast Five will be directed by Justin Lin (who helmed the previous two installments) from a script by Chris Morgan. Shooting will take place in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

Despite being a blatant Point Break rip-off, the first film is harmless and forgettable entertainment. The second film has the honor of being one of only a handful of movies that had me falling asleep in the theater.

Needless to say, my memory of 2 Fast 2 Furious is a little hazy. I seem to recall a lot of poorly rendered CGI cars, Eva Mendes in a bikini, and not much else.

I’ve never seen the third film and I know I watched the fourth one but I can’t for the life of me recall anything but the opening scene with the oil tanker and the climactic chase. I only know that the last scene involved Dom going to prison because I later read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia.

Hopefully, Fast Five will leave a bit more of an impression.

That said, I think The Rock’s involvement will certainly improve Fast Five’s chances at box office glory. He’s extremely watchable (even in terrible movies) and, coupled with Gibson’s return, the film should provide some great sequences for fans. Despite the fact that I’m not a hardcore supporter of The Fast & The Furious, I have to commend the filmmakers for at least trying to steer the franchise in different directions with each entry… even if it didn’t exactly work for me personally.

"I'll teach this bug to fly onto MY windshield..."

Oh, and if you were expecting Fast Five to mark the conclusion of the franchise, don’t get your hopes up –  plans are already underway for a sixth film. Perhaps they’ll follow 5nal Destination‘s example and go with something like The Fast & The Furi6?

Let’s be honest, it’s no worse than the titles of the other sequels. I really think the guys at Universal have a running bet going to see who can come up with something even worse than 2 Fast 2 Furious.

Are you excited for Roman’s return in Fast Five? Is the franchise running on fumes or are you still along for the ride?

Fast Five hits theaters June 11th, 2011.

Source: Twitter via IGN.