31 Dec – A month after Vin Diesel extended a public invitation for him to return for the final two instalments of the "Fast & Furious" franchise, Dwayne Johnson recently decided to decline it - also publicly.
In a new interview with CNN, Johnson stated that he had already told Diesel in private that he would never return to the franchise, but that he would always be supportive of the cast.
"Vin's recent public post was an example of his manipulation. I didn't like that he brought up his children in the post, as well as Paul Walker's death. Leave them out of it. We had spoken months ago about this and came to a clear understanding," he said.
The actor stated that he had wanted to end his journey with the franchise with "gratitude and grace", but that the public dialogue has "muddied the waters".
"Regardless, I'm confident in the 'Fast' universe and its ability to consistently deliver for the audience... I truly wish my former co-stars and crew members the best of luck and success in the next chapter," he added.
Johnson joined the said franchise in its fifth instalment back in 2011, playing the role of Agent Luke Hobbs. His last "Fast" film was "The Fate of the Furious", which was released in 2017, and he then went on to star in the spinoff "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" alongside Jason Statham.
Back in November, Diesel decided to go on social media to invite Johnson to return to the finale of the franchise, writing, "The world awaits the finale of 'Fast 10. As you know, my children refer to you as Uncle Dwayne in my house. There is not a holiday that goes by that they and you don't send well wishes... but the time has come. Legacy awaits. I told you years ago that I was going to fulfill my promise to Pablo. I swore that we would reach and manifest the best Fast in the finale that is 10!"
It is noted that the relationship between Johnson and Diesel were not the best during their collaboration, with Diesel admitting that he used "tough love" on Johnson, while the latter stated that the two are just "philosophically two different people".