The news came down from Universal yesterday, but the studio is staying tight-lipped on the role that Cena will play. The only word is that he will be playing a “badass” but we’d expect nothing else from Diesel and co.

The arrival of Cena potentially heralds the exit of another muscleman – Dwayne Johnson – from the next in the action series. But with his FF spin-off with Jason Statham, Hobbs & Shaw, due to hit cinemas at the start of August, the Rock has plenty to keep him busy.

Diesel’s 55 million Instagram followers first got wind of the new casting when the actor posted a video name-checking Paul Walker, who he affectionately refers to as “Pablo”.

“Guys as you know I’m always thinking fast and the responsibility of making something iconic and deserving of your loyalty. I know this sounds crazy, but every blue moon I feel like Pablo up there sends me another soldier in the fight for truth –and today someone who came by the Toretto gym that speaks to what Pablo would have brought. All love. All words.”

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The short video then pans across to reveal Cena wearing a suit not unlike the one he dressed in for Paramount’s CinemaCon at the start of April.

But the news may reignite old comparisons between Cena and Johnson. Both have come from the wrestling world before crossing over into movies. The Bumblebee star has spoken about his admiration of the Baywatch actor in the past.

Back in 2016, he said “He has broken the mold. He has captivated a planet. He inspires everybody that he comes into contact with. He’s in a league of his own… I’m just happy to be doing what I’m doing. But he’s in his own universe.”

Production should start on Fast & Furious 9 next month.

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