Vin Diesel Says Paul Walker Helped Make This ‘F9’ Casting Decision

Paul Walker died in 2013. The Fast & Furious franchise had to send off his character, Brian O’Conner, because of that. But Vin Diesel said Walker helped him make a casting decision for the latest movie. That decision is likely to set the franchise off into a new path for the sequels.

Vin Diesel says Paul Walker helped make this ‘F9’ casting decision

Paul Walker and Vin Diesel are wearing suits on a red carpet
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

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The franchise is already full of characters who appear in multiple movies. But it’s still bringing in new faces to switch things up. John Cena is the newest addition playing Jakob Toretto, Dom’s brother. Diesel said Walker influenced his decision to cast Cena in a very spiritual way. 

“Once we started getting closer to production, Justin (Lin, director) would talk about how harrowing it would be, to actually have to cast a new Toretto, the brother of Toretto – there’s so many different directions you can go,” the star explained, according to Yahoo! 

“And I remember John Cena coming into this Dom shrine that I had, where I would kind of go meditate and train and start getting into that Dom state of mind,” he continued.

“I remember John coming in, and, call this crazy, but I remember feeling as though Pablo, Paul Walker, had sent him in,” he revealed. “And I remember talking to Justin [Lin] that night and saying ‘My gut and my heart feels like this was meant to be.’”

Cena said he felt there was a great “responsibility” to coming in so late in the franchise and getting the Toretto name. The trailer dropped, showing the brother’s feud.

The ‘F9’ trailer shows the brothers battling

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The trailer starts with Dom and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) being a family with their son. But they leave him behind for a new mission and meet up with their group.

Cipher (Charlize Theron) is still at large and is going after them with the help of Jakob. It’ll be a tough fight, given Jakob is a thief and assassin. He’s dangerous, but also family.

John Cena said Vin Diesel brings people together

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It can be an intimidating endeavor to join a franchise so late in the game. But Cena said Diesel was great at bringing him in.

“There was a little bit of sizing up,” Cena told Access. “But I leave it to Vin after his ability to get us together. It all made it easier.”

Diesel feeling like Walker was part of this decision is probably important since Bryan was like a brother to Dom. There is a chance Cena will stick around after this movie if you look back at the history of the franchise. The movie is expected to be Fast and Furious 11, so there can be much more story to tell about this new Toretto.