Why Dwayne Johnson Isn’t In Fast & Furious 9

Hobbs and Shaw Dwayne Johnson

The first trailer for Fast & Furious 9 dropped on Friday and noticeably absent from it was Dwayne Johnson. After all, the action star joined the franchise in Fast Five and has been a key figure ever since.

He’s been so key, in fact, that Universal even gave him a spinoff movie for his character, Luke Hobbs, in last summer’s blockbuster Hobbs & Shaw. It’s because of scheduling conflicts with the film that Johnson was unable to appear in the ninth installment, but while speaking with MTV News last month, he hinted at the possibility of rejoining the family for Fast 10.

“Who knows, with Fast 10 and down the road, you never know,” Johnson said. “Because look, at the end of the day, the truth is there’s unfinished business between Hobbs and Dom. It’s unfinished.”

John Cena, who’s all but acting as a replacement for Johnson in F9, even hinted at a possible showdown between him and the Rock in the tenth movie. And while the actor’s absence from F9 may have lead fans to speculate that he was gone due to his notorious feud with Vin Diesel on the set of The Fate of the Furious, if you watch the movie closely, the two don’t really even share any screen time.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Johnson also spoke about the riff and how it was mainly over collaboration and work ethic rather than any personal problems. He said that he and Diesel had a “fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating,” adding he was “grateful for that clarity” after a face-to-face with Diesel. The Rock then clarified that he had “no ill will” towards his four time co-star.

And the two have apparently mended fences as well. In fact, Diesel even supported Hobbs & Shaw and Johnson thanked him for that on social media, saying:

“As you know, and what a wild ride this is, and what a wild ride this has been, ten years ago when you and I spoke and you invited me into the Fast & Furious family,” Johnson said in a selfie video published on Instagram. “I’m grateful for that invite, and as you know, my goal was always — all these years — to come into the Fast & Furious world and help elevate the franchise in any way that I possibly could. If I could do that, then I’ve done my job. And now here we are ten years later, this massively successful build-out and expansion. We did it the right way, we did it the smart way, and again brother, I appreciate your support.”

As fans will know, Fast Five is when everything came together for the franchise. Johnson’s involvement plus director Justin Lin elevated the material to a whole new level. What was once nothing more than a Point Break remake with street racing turned into an international action extravaganza. And just when you think they’ve topped themselves, they introduce plane magnets, a previously un-mentioned brother to Dom and the return of Han.

Women have soap operas and men have the Fast & Furious franchise, and we can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with for the ninth installment.