Ah, it turns out that you always return to your family in some capacity down the road.
In January 2022, yours indeed wrote an article (linked here) that Dwayne Johnson not returning for the last slate of main Fast and Furious films would be a missed opportunity for Universal and the chance for a higher box office total had Diesel and Johnson mended their differences and moved on from their feud. Life moved on for each actor, as Vin Diesel had wrapped up his lines (and farewell) with the central Guardians team in Vol. 3, while Johnson attempted to cajole audiences that Black Adam would “change the hierarchy in the DC Universe.” Well, one of those bombed and forced Warner Brothers to reboot the DC Universe again by hiring James Gunn and Peter Safran to become the new guys in charge.
Diesel acquired Jason Momoa and Brie Larson to join the next ride and even got approval for a China release with Fast X. Even without Johnson, the series would’ve progressed onward and still made its fair share of money back. Reportedly, Universal was pleased with the latest installment that they requested one more film to be tacked on while Diesel and Co. wrap up the series. Before releasing the tenth installment this weekend, The Wrap reported that Johnson would return as Luke Hobbs in the post-credits scene. A note that caught folks off-guard, it refuted Johnson’s original statements of never returning to the series again following issues with Diesel and other cast members.
So, why the title of this document? Well, Johnson was on a hot streak of sorts in 2019 with Hobbs & Shaw and Jumanji: The Next Level. But after the pandemic, he cooled down much with the disappointing-earning Jungle Cruise and derivative, convoluted Red Notice in 2021. Then, Black Adam, which was hyped to the core by Johnson himself, shattered the wrong expectations and became a box-office bomb. Business can’t get much worse on that end of the stick. What even hurts more is Johnson refused involvement in Shazam 2, kneecapping its potential, and Zachary Levi voiced his frustrations online (which weren’t enough as the film also bombed).
Johnson needed to make amends at some point, but his recent cooled-down streak had to end somewhere with the noteworthy surprise of him returning to the franchise he first stepped into in 2011. We could be stretching this too far by imploring it’s a marketing stunt designed to get people to look out for the next film after this one in 2025. But in practicality, Johnson needed to square things away and return to a franchise he made a mark on globally (one with a combined gross of over $6 billion). Who knows, perhaps this will turn the tides back toward his direction as he fires up the following arsenal of projects from Red One to Red Notice sequels. Or, this may give him some enlightenment to return to the professional wrestling industry again.
We’ll await more details once we witness the bonkers action in Fast X, and hopefully, Johnson will give his remarks on why he returned. In the meantime, it’s essential to recognize this as the termination of a long nightmare (aka a win).