F9's Blu-ray Makes It Obvious John Cena Is The Rock's Replacement

When John Cena joined F9: The Fast Saga, he seemed like a clear replacement for The Rock, and some special features on the film’s Blu-ray release seem to have confirmed this theory. When asked in more recent times, neither Vin Diesel nor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson have given any indication that the latter will ever return to the core franchise films. From the way the cast and crew talk about Cena in their behind-the-scenes interviews, it seems pretty clear that he’s become The Rock’s Fast and Furious replacement.

In Fast Five, when Johnson first joined the franchise as Interpol operative Luke Hobbs, it seemed like a matched made in heaven. The film garnered the series’ best critical reception to date and delivered a phenomenal rivalry between The Rock’s Hobbs and Diesel’s Dom Toretto. Unfortunately, after three more successful movies together, on-set tension led to Johnson’s departure. He went on to star in the Fast and Furious spinoff film Hobbs & Shaw, but it’s unclear if he’ll be back for another.

Related: The Rock's Hobbs Doesn't Work With The Main Fast & Furious Movies Anymore

Cena fills the Rock-sized whole in the Fast franchise in several ways. He, too, is a former WWE star who can physically go up against Diesel in fight scenes, and his Jakob Toretto character has a built-in rivalry with Dom since they’re estranged brothers. In the bonus features on the F9: The Fast Saga Blu-ray, different cast and crew members seem to confirm his role as Johnson’s replacement. “We needed someone who we believed could really take Dom down – a similar physical build, intelligent, really brings their own persona to screen,” producer Samantha Vincent said when talking about casting Cena. In discussing the fight choreography for the film, second unit director JJ Perry said, “We have a professional wrestler, which offers up the best-case scenario for someone who will retain choreography.” Diesel himself was a bit more direct, saying that, “In John, I have a partner in wanting to make something significant.”

 

None of these quotes mention The Rock or Hobbs' Fast and Furious role, but he clearly exists in the negative space. The team behind F9 discusses all the benefits of working with someone with Cena’s skillset without once mentioning that the franchise used to have the exact same kind of costar in Johnson. Diesel’s comment can even be interpreted as a direct dig at The Rock, hinting that whoever was in Cena’s place before wasn’t as interested in collaboration and greatness.

It’s a shame that things became so sour between Diesel and The Rock, because the two were fantastic together -- at least on screen. Yet, with all the discussion of Cena actively ignoring Johnson’s time in the franchise, it seems even less likely that he’ll ever come back. In the same special features, Diesel talks about how he’s always looking for ways to bring back old characters to keep the mythology active. Because of Diesel's bad blood with The Rock, it seems like Cena will be his permanent Fast and Furious replacement.

Next: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson’s Franchises Ranked Worst To Best



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