John Cena has been officially cast in the as-yet-untitled Fast & Furious 9. Although his casting was already revealed back in April in a posting on Vin Diesel’s Instagram, now official confirmation has come down that Cena will be a part of the action franchise, with the newest installment set to start filming later this month.
The Fast and the Furious franchise began back in 2001, with its first entry of the same name featuring undercover police officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) infiltrating a group of street racers led by Dominic Toretto (Diesel) who are suspected of being behind a number of transport truck hijackings. The film received only average reviews and was frequently commented to be little more than a riff on Point Break, swapping surfboards for street racing, but a large box office return on a modest budget secured its continuation. It initially moved forwards without Diesel when he opted to make The Chronicles of Riddick, but he returned for a cameo in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift and fully in part four, Fast & Furious. As the series progressed, each subsequent installment began to feature increasingly greater physics-defying stunts, growing into the over-the-top explosive action for which it is known today.
The news of John Cena officially joining Fast & Furious 9 has been confirmed by Universal (via Deadline). Exactly who he will be playing, as well as whether his character will be a hero or villain (or, like many of the series’ characters, something in between) is currently still under wraps. The only official description of his character is that he is “a badass,” which is not much of a revelation as this describes about 90% of the entire franchise.
John Cena initially made his name as a wrestler performing in WWE, joining its main roster in 2002, first as a white rapper characterand then a military man during the promotion of his first starring role in The Marine. His notoriety and popularity grew, leading to his becoming World Champion in 2005, going on the gain championship titles a record 16 times.
Unsurprisingly, his initial acting roles were in action movies in line with the tough persona most professional wrestlers portray by default, but in the last few years he has displayed a great deal of comedic talent with supporting roles in the likes of Trainwreck and Sisters, and as one of the main leads in Blockers, while his performance as the main human antagonist in Transformers spinoff Bumblebee showcased a little more range. Although he has largely left wrestling behind, he does make the occasional surprise return.
Even though it was already all but a known fact that Cena would be featured in Fast & Furious 9, Diesel’s video didn’t explicitly state it, so the official confirmation of his appearance removes any lingering doubt. The addition of “franchise Viagra” Dwayne Johnson proved a masterstroke in increasing the saga’s popularity, so it stands to reason that the inclusion of another charismatic former wrestler should have a similar effect, especially since Johnson won’t be appearing in Fast & Furious 9, instead joint headlining Hobbs & Shaw, the first of what will likely be several spinoff films. Given the increasing evidence of Cena’s versatility, it will be surprising if his presence has anything other than a positive effect on the film.
Source: Universal (via Deadline)
- Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Fast & Furious 9 (2020) release date: May 22, 2020