Well this sequel is really shaping up to be better than expected. While still in the development stages, XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage has begun the casting process at full force. Besides previously announced Samuel L. Jackson and of course Vin Diesel himself, XXX: The Return of Xander Cage has just signed on another heavy hitter, literally.

It has just been announced that actor and martial arts Jet Li will be joining the cast of XXX: The Return of Xander Cage. This seems like the perfect choice for the XXX franchise, as there was a common thread of extreme athleticism in the previous two incarnations.

On a similar note, and apparently highlighting a focus on impressive fight sequences, martial artist Tony Jaa will be joining the cast as well, as reported by Twitchfilm. Jaa was previously seen in the highly successful Furious 7. Clearly, Vin Diesel enjoyed working alongside him and has since offered him a role in Return of Xander Cage.

The third and final new cast member announced is Indian movie star Deepika Padukone. While Padukone will be a newcomer to American audiences, she is one of the most popular and highest paid stars in the Indian film world. She’ll be making her Hollywood debut in the new XXX.

The original XXX was released in 2002 and was a box office success. The film starred Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, an extreme athlete and stuntman with a poor attitude. He is recruited by a National Security Agent, played by Samuel L. Jackson to assist the NRA and become a spy. While this might seem like a semi-ridiculous concept, the movie drew impressive numbers during its 2002 run.

A sequel was eventually produced, although Vin Diesel’s schedule when filming The Pacifier made him unable to star as the title character, making it seem like an entirely different film altogether. Starring Ice Cube as the new lead character, XXX: State Of The Union was a box office failure as well as being panned by critics. So, news of a new installment in the series is a bit of a surprise.

The new title, Return Of Xander Cage, seems like an appropriate one after the debacle that the first sequel was. However, with Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson returning to their 2002 roles, there is some hope. Vin Diesel has been doing rather well as a producer, and has announced his plans for expanding the universe of the Riddick franchise. With Riddick having an upcoming movie and television show, Diesel is sure to have quite the busy year.

We’re in a film climate where reboots and nostalgia are ruling the day. After the massive success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and with Netflix granting new life to previously finished series like Full House and Gilmore Girls, it makes sense that Vin Diesel would try to cash in on this trend.

Only time will tell if XXX: Return Of Xander Cage is any good. We’ll continue to update you as production moves forward.

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