Just in case somebody asks, the upcoming “Fast and Furious” movie subtitled “Hobbs & Shaw” is not the ninth film in Universal’s racing action franchise, but only a spinoff. There are still only eight mainline “Fast and Furious” installments since 2017’s “Fate of the Furious.” But an actual sequel is in development, with a surprise new cast member recently announced.

It should be recalled that the aesthetic theme of the “Fast and Furious” series changed in the fifth movie with the addition of wrestler-actor Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs. Universal seems keen on replicating that effect by getting another wrestler-actor, John Cena in the cast.

Casting dream becomes reality

Entertainment Weekly tells us that the production of “Fast and Furious 9” has officially cast John Cena in the film. While still a surprise, the decision to take on the pro wrestler who has been the franchise face of the WWE was not a new concept. EW itself broached the subject of the “Fast” franchise to Cena last 2018 following his comedy stint in Universal film “Blockers.” Word of that short interview may have reached the franchise’s lead actor and face, Vin Diesel. He later teased Cena’s potential casting on a video posted to Instagram.

In a follow-up interview, Cena credits EW with sparking the idea of him being on the next “Fast and Furious” film. He spoke of how the Universal action franchise has combined the theme of high-performance cars, of which he himself is a fan of, with the message of family and looking out for one another than has been present for the movie series’ run.

The wrestler-actor also gave a shout-out to Diesel, believing that while the “Fast” lead star’s Instagram may have been made in jest, it generated a lot of sincere interest in casting Cena for the ninth installment.

Cena a possible replacement for Johnson

While mostly positive, there also appears to be a level of production-level pragmatism in bringing John Cena into the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

Yahoo! Entertainment has it that due to the increasing friction between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, there is the chance that the latter may not return to the series after co-starring in the “Hobbs & Shaw” spinoff with Jason Statham. With that particular film premiering soon, and possible production for “Fast 9” estimated to begin later this June, it is only a matter of time before it becomes definite that Johnson will stay or move on from the Movies.

Prior to being cast in “Fast and Furious 9,” John Cena co-starred in the 2018 “Transformers” film spinoff/reboot “Bumblebee.” The “Hobbs and Shaw” spinoff will arrive in cinemas this coming August from Universal Pictures.