Vin Diesel has seen something of a career resurgence in recent years. His most recent outing as Richard B. Riddick dramatically improved the Riddick universe over its predecessor, and the Fast & Furious franchise has never been stronger. Diesel’s next character revival will see him bring extreme athlete Xander Cage back in xXx 3, and now it appears he will be joined by a familiar (albeit scarred) face.

After holding Ice Cube’s hand through the lackluster xXx 2: State of the Union, Samuel L. Jackson will return to the franchise as NSA handler Augustus Gibbons. On Monday afternoon Diesel posted an announcement to his Facebook stating his excitement to work with Jackson once again in the third entry of the action franchise.

It seems only fitting that Jackson join Diesel in the upcoming extreme-espionage adventure. In the original xXx, it was Jackson’s Gibbons who “convinced” Xander to work for the United States government, allowing him to become the fully realized hero he was always destined to be.

Excited to work with Sam again... his portrayal of Gibbons was so good... timeless.Welcome to the Xander Zone!

Posted by Vin Diesel on Monday, December 14, 2015

Bringing Jackson back into the fray should help quite a bit when it comes to strengthening confidence in the film. After all, the actor’s first two times playing the character essentially served as a practice run for his later role as the equally scrappy and scheming Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Considering Diesel disappeared after the first movie, Jackson has become the actor who effectively grounds the xXx universe — if there is such a thing.

However, bringing back so many elements of the original xXx, makes one wonder how the threequel will fare with modern audiences. Even Diesel’s main cash cow — the Fast & Furious franchise — has generally moved away from its protagonists being members of an extreme sport counterculture in favor of re-branding them as international thieves and mercenaries. Then again, part of the appeal of xXx was its spoofing of the James Bond franchise, which audiences seemed to take a shine to with this year’s Kingsman: The Secret Service — which also co-starred Jackson.

Perhaps this iteration of the franchise will see Xander focus more on being an international man of intrigue than an extreme athlete. As for Jackson, only time will tell if bringing back this kind of star power will help rebuild the franchise, or if it will crash and burn despite his presence.

Screen Rant will bring you more information on xXx 3/xXx: The Return of Xander Cage as it is made available.

Source: Vin Diesel