Paul Walker certainly is one of the pillars behind the popularity of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, as he played the lead in every movie in the series before his death in 2013.
But his longtime costar, Vin Diesel, is now crediting the late actor for John Cena’s appearance in the latest movie, “F9.”
In a press conference held following the release of the latest “F9” trailer on Wednesday, Diesel opened up about how he believes the spirit of Walker influenced the casting of Cena, who’s playing the brother of Diesel’s Dom Toretto character in the new sequel.
“I remember once we started getting closer to production, [director] Justin [Lin] and I would talk about how harrowing it would be to actually cast a new Toretto, the brother of Toretto,” Diesel said, according to ComicBook.com. “There are so many different directions you could go.”
“And I remember John Cena coming into this Dom Shrine that I had where I would kind of go-to meditate and train and start getting into that Dom state of mind,” he continued. “And I remember John coming in and… call this crazy, but I remember feeling as though Pablo, Paul Walker, had sent him in.”
“I remember talking to Justin that night and saying, ‘My gut and my heart feels like this was meant to be,'” he added.
Just tack this story on the already colorful history of the “Fast” franchise, which has been filled with behind-the-scenes beef and record-breaking box office numbers.
The latest chapter in the franchise stars Diesel and his fellow costars Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Ludacris as they go up against Cena’s Jakob Toretto, the brother of Dom, who has teamed up with Cipher (Charlize Theron) to try to take down Dom’s “family.”
“F9” opens in theaters on June 25, 2021.