“The world ain’t saving itself.”
That line, a call to arms, is attributed to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation character. And Johnson knows a thing or two about “saving.” After attempting to launch his own action franchises with movies like The Rundown and Doom, D.J. discovered a new calling in the film industry: he’s the elixir brought in to “heal” franchises that have lost their way. Plug The Rock into Journey to the Center of the Earth or Fast & Furious sequels, and all of a sudden, the series are much improved. Johnson works his magic on G.I. Joe this weekend, resuscitating the franchise after the corny Rise of Cobra and setting the series on an ass-kicking track.
Hoping to capitalize on The Rock’s newfound healing powers, we cooked up five film franchises in need of an energy boost that would be well served by adding Johnson for a subsequent sequel. Picture the action star in these five universes, then add your own suggestions in the comments section below. Photoshop work by Kristy Puchko
And I’m not saying cast Dwayne Johnson as a different version of John Connor (as Terminator: Salvation did with Christian Bale), or ask The Rock to play Schwarzenegger’s T-800. Just write it as a sequel that somehow touches on a plot where future freedom fighters have to contend with another breed of Terminator machines, and Johnson plays a completely different character unassociated with the existing stories who must rise up and defeat the mechanical threat. The later Terminator movies were too beholden to Connor’s mythology. There are hundreds of stories that could be told in the Terminator universe, and one of them should find room for The Rock.
2. Jurassic Park
It’s simple math. Dwayne Johnson + Dinosaurs = Box Office Gold. The actor has proven he can hold down big-budget, effects-driven sequels (see Fast Five or Retaliation for examples). He danced with dinosaurs in the family-friendly Journey 2, but probably wants to upgrade to the more sophisticated models director Colin Trevorrow will be bringing to Jurassic Park 4. One way Universal could secure an instant interest in a fourth Park movie would be to add Johnson’s name to the movie’s poster … then have him fight a T-Rex in the movie’s stunning finale!
3. Star Wars
This one’s a bit of a trick, as Rock recently admitted that he wants a crack at a Star Wars sequel, especially now that J.J. Abrams is at the helm. When I interviewed Retaliation director Jon M. Chu at the G.I. Joe press day, he started the ball rolling on a “Rock for Boba Fett” campaign. Adding Johnson to the Star Wars universe sounds like a no-brainer … if only because adding him to ANY franchise is a no-brainer at this point. Whether it’s in Episode VII or as part of standalone movie is unclear, but Disney could make a bold step in the right direction by casting Johnson as a Jedi hero – or even a Sith warlord.
4. Pirates of the Caribbean
One aspect of Johnson’s personality that’s often overlooked is his humor. I get it. The man’s built like a small mountain. You want to see him butting heads with Vin Diesel or fighting alongside Bruce Willis. But The Rock’s genuinely funny, and a collaboration with Johnny Depp could showcase that side of the performer. We know a fifth Pirates movie is in the pipeline. Wouldn’t you like to see Capt. Jack Sparrow locking rum-soaked horns with a pirate legend played by The Rock?
5. Die Hard
I hear you. A Good Day to Die Hard snuffed out any interest you had in seeing the future adventures of John McClane on screen. But what if Willis were able to recruit his G.I. Joe co-star for a future installment. And what if Johnson agreed to play the villain … a charismatic psychopath with a personal vendetta against McClane who brought fear and pain back into the beleaguered cop’s life. Willis hasn’t had a worthy adversary since Simon had him jumping through hoops in With a Vengeance. The Rock could bring personality and physicality to a sixth Die Hard movie. Hey, it couldn’t be worse than A Good Day, and if they decided to give it a shot, I think most of us would be on board.