Vin Diesel says Paul Walker had a role in John Cena’s 'Fast & Furious 9' casting

Gregory Wakeman
Paul Walker in Furious 7

Vin Diesel says Paul Walker had a role in the casting of John Cena in Fast & Furious 9.

Diesel made this declaration to ET Online to mark the release of the first trailer for the latest entry to the franchise, recalling, "[Cena] came to meet me at my gym right before we were shipping out to make the movie, and I put a post on Instagram that said, 'Thank you Pablo.’ Because I felt like someone had brought me the right person to play Jakob."

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A quick look back at Diesel’s Instagram reveals that when the actor posted this video, he also went into detail about how he feels Walker has been guiding him and the franchise since his untimely death in a car crash at the age of 40 on November 30, 2013. 

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 31: (L-R) Sung Kang, Vin Diesel, John Cena and Maria Menounos speak onstage during Universal Pictures Presents The Road To F9 Concert and Trailer Drop on January 31, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

“I know this sounds crazy but every blue moon, I feel like Pablo up there sends me someone. Another soldier for the fight for truth. And today, someone came by the Toretto gym that speaks to what Pablo would have brought me. All love always.”

Walker was a key figure in the Fast & Furious franchise, playing Brian O’Conner in the 2001 original, a character he reprised six more times, including in 2015’s Furious 7, which was released posthumously.

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Diesel believes the continued success of the Fast franchise is the perfect way to honour Walker, telling ET Online that he and the star “would talk about the crazy notion of seeing a Fast 10 someday and we're that much closer to honoring that.”

Diesel has already teased that Fast & Furious 9 will be followed by a tenth film, which is set to be its finale. We’ll have a better idea what that might entail when Fast & Furious 9 finally arrives on May 22.