Jay Chou has joined the cast of Vin Diesel’s xXx 4. The xXx franchise has had an interesting history so far. The original movie was the film Vin Diesel chose to make over 2 Fast 2 Furious, and it was meant to launch a major new franchise. The movie was pitched as a James Bond-style series for the 21st century, but while it did respectable business, Diesel ultimately opted out of a sequel. Instead, an attempt was meant to turn the franchise into an action anthology, with a new actor donning the mantle of xXx in each movie.
Ice Cube was chosen to lead xXx: State Of The Union, with Samuel L. Jackson returning as Augustus Gibbons. The sequel didn’t attract audiences, and when it bombed the series was pronounced dead. In the years between entries, Vin Diesel overcame his sequel allergy to return to The Fast & Furious franchise, which became huge box-office bonanzas. Diesel also returned to Riddick in 2013, so it was only natural he’d look into a xXx comeback too.
xXx: State Of The Union off-handedly mentions the death of Xander Cage, and a promotional short film released around that time showed the character – played by Diesel’s stunt double – being blown up. xXx: Return Of Xander Cage decided to ignore that and reveal Cage merely faked his death, and while the third film only did modest business in the States, it grossed $346 million worldwide. It didn’t take long for another entry to get greenlit, and in addition to director D.J. Caruso returning, Deadline has confirmed Green Hornet star Jay Chou has joined the cast.
While Green Hornet proved to be a disappointment back in 2011, with Seth Rogen later confirming the project didn’t really work, most critics agreed Chou did a great job as Kato, so he’s a welcome addition to the series. No plot details for xXx 4 have been announced, but the ending of the previous movie hinted Cage would be teaming up with other former xXx agents like Ice Cube’s Darius Stone for more missions.
Aside from xXx 4, Diesel’s other major action franchise is expected to end with Fast 9 & 10, with Justin Lin expected to return as director for both. The series has taken a small break as Dwayne Johnson shoots spinoff movie Hobbs & Shaw with Jason Statham. It’s currently unknown if Johnson will return to the main series, however, as he and Diesel had a well-publicized falling out during Fast & Furious 8, to the point where they didn’t actually film any scenes together.