F9 sees the Fast & Furious franchise introduce John Cena as Jakob Toretto, the long lost brother of Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto. The family feud will be a high-octane battle if the new trailer from Wednesday morning is any indication. As the franchise to continues to expand and take on new worlds distant from those of its street racing original roots (it's literally going to space this time), Vin Diesel still finds creative decisions are being made with the love and instincts of the Fast family. In a press conference this week, he revealed that bringing Cena into the franchise was a decision he believes was spoken to him from his late dear friend Paul Walker.
"I remember once we started getting closer to production, Justin (Lin) and I would talk about how harrowing it would be to actually cast a new Toretto, the brother of Toretto," Diesel said. "There’s 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. 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.’"
Walker's presence as Brian remains a core piece of the Fast family since Walker's passing. The new trailer sees Dom looking at footage of his Brian, his Dom's best friend who retired from the dangerous lifestyle in favor of time with his family. The story was written into the seventh Fast & Furious movie as a means to provide Walker's character with an exit following the actor's unexpected passing.
Cena, in joining the franchise, feels and accepts the weight of expanding the Toretto family. "I certainly didn't overlook the responsibility of the opportunity as well," Cena said. "I get to reap the rewards of this family who has poured the foundation and built the structure of global delivering blockbuster. And I get invited into the ninth installment to share the last name Toretto. To be Dom's greatest adversary of all time, that is not loss. And I think it has to start there. It has to start with respect. It's it goes back to what Justin says about earning your next chapter. I believe that's a nice metaphor for life as well. Everything we get should be earned."
F9 releases exclusively in movie theaters on June 25.