Fast & Furious 9 Adds Guardians of the Galaxy Star Michael Rooker

While most movie audiences might not have been able to recognize him by name, actor Michael Rooker has scored dozens of intense performances over the years, including films like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Cliffhanger, and Mallrats. Following his collaboration with director James Gunn on Slither, the actor was tapped to star in two Guardians of the Galaxy films, with his Yondu being a fan-favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rooker is about to join another beloved franchise, as he has been announced as joining the upcoming Fast & Furious 9, reuniting him with Groot actor Vin Diesel, per Deadline.

Rooker will reportedly play "Buddy," though it's unclear what role the character will play in the new adventure. In addition to Diesel, the actor joins the previously announced Charlize Theron, John Cena, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, and Helen Mirren. The film will be directed by Justin Lin with a screenplay from Dan Casey.

Two franchise regulars that we aren't expecting to see in the upcoming sequel are Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham, who can currently be seen in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. While many fans assume this is due to the public tension between Johnson and Diesel, the former claims that the plan was always to expand the franchise.

"The plan has always been for the Fast & Furious universe to grow and expand," Johnson previously explained. "As of now, we're not in Fast 9 because they're getting ready to start shooting. But who knows with Fast 10 and down the road, you never know. Because look, at the end of the day, the truth is, there's unfinished business between Hobbs and Dom. It's unfinished."

At the premiere of the spinoff, however, producer Hiram Garcia reminded fans that this is one, unified world where almost anything is possible.

"This isn't about a separate world, this is a world that feeds into the Fast & Furious," Garcia pointed out. "We just did it out of order. Whereas the Avengers and Marvel universe, they started with their spinoffs and they got to Avengers, we started with our Avengers in Fast & Furious and now we're starting to spin it off. But it's to help support the Fast & Furious universe because obviously we have plans for 9 and 10, but who doesn't want an 11, 12, and 13, so forth?"

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Fast & Furious 9 is set to land in theaters on May 22, 2020. Hobbs & Shaw is in theaters now.

Are you excited to see Rooker join the series? Let us know in the comments below!