xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, the latest installment in the xXx franchise, is starting to shape-up nicely. Vin Diesel is making his return to the action-film franchise that he helped to bring to life. If the Fast and the Furious franchise has taught us anything, there is a market for Diesel-fueled franchises, especially when the actor is finding his way back to them after opting out of their second installments.

The recent announcement that Samuel L. Jackson will reprise his role as NSA handler Augustus Gibbons is certainly more welcome news that should help to bring some much-needed continuity to the film. But Diesel and Jackson won’t be the only thing the film will rely on, as the latest casting rumors place two martial arts film sensations, Jet Li and Tony Jaa, as possible additions to the cast. Could moviegoers finally be treated to an epic showdown between Li and Jaa on the big screen, or will they be joining forces to throw a wrench into extreme spy Xander Cage’s plans?

Li, a legendary martial arts film star, famous for his early films, like the Once Upon a Time in China and The Legend, has most recently been seen as Yin Yang in all three installments of The Expendables films. His inclusion here would mark yet another late entry in an action franchise that the actor has inserted himself into. The trend began back in 1998, when he appeared as villain Wah Sing Ku in Lethal Weapon 4. He would later be the antagonist in the third installment in The Mummy franchise, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Tony Jaa in Ong Bak1 Rumor Patrol: Jet Li and Tony Jaa Joining the Cast of xXx 3

Martial arts action superstar Tony Jaa is best known internationally for his Ong-bak film franchise, of which there have been three installments. If his casting proves true, Jaa’s involvement in xXx 3 should come as no surprise, as the actor recently appeared alongside Diesel as Kiet in Furious 7.

The inclusion of these two martial arts superstars, along with the recent casting of MMA champion Connor McGregor, should give xXx: The Return of Xander Cage the injection of legitimacy and high-octane action that it needs to win over old fans and attract new ones. McGregor recently became the first Irish UFC Champion and set a record when he won his championship against Jose Aldo in a mere 13 seconds!

The 2005 sequel, xXx: State of the Union, was far cry from the tone and quality of the first film, having lost Diesel in the starring role and instead focusing on Darius Stone (Ice Cube). The film wasn’t well received and as such this third installment/reinvigoration is likely facing an uphill battle. However, the return of Vin Diesel as Xander Cage is no doubt turning some heads with the hope that with the star’s return, the franchise can get back on track.

At the moment, there’s no word whether Asia Argento will return to reprise her role as Yelena.  If xXx 3 takes any nods from the James Bond film franchise, then she may only return in the form of an offhanded remark or casual mention of her name.

Screen Rant will provide more details on xXx: The Return of Xander Cage as they are made available.

Source: TwitchFilms

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