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Diesel seems to really be in a sci-fi mindset as of late. Not only does the actor have Riddick coming out in the next couple months, just yesterday he confirmed that he will be voicing Groot in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy and today he has picked up yet another project in the genre. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Diesel is teaming up with writer Arash Amel to create a new sci-fi franchise called Soldiers of the Sun.
The story is set in an apocalyptic future where the world has been invaded by a race of aliens called Orcs. It centers on a team of soldiers down in Mexico fighting off alien forces that go off on a side mission to search for "a fabled city of gold." Universal Pictures, which has worked with Diesel on both Riddick as well as the Fast & Furious franchise, is backing the project, and the star is also set to to produce the movie along with his One Race Films partner Samantha Vincent as well as Lorenzo di Bonaventura. The trade says that the studio is hoping that the movie can be a big ensemble-type franchise that will put a lot of other stars around Diesel in the cast.
Amel is relatively new to the Hollywood world, his only previous credit being the Aaron Eckhart thriller Erased from 2012, but he has some big projects coming up. Later this year we will see the release of Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman - which is based on a script by Amel that made the annual Black List - and he also was hired last year to write the screenplay for I Am Legend 2 (though we haven't heard much about that project since).
Hopefully Diesel's attempt at launching his very own original sci-fi franchise will go better than Will Smith's attempt did earlier this year. While it did end up making a good chunk of money overseas, After Earth was a complete box office disaster when it came out in May, and to date it has only managed to make $60 million in the United States. Certainly one good idea for Diesel's project would be to not hire M. Night Shyamalan.
Diesel is currently one of the busiest action stars in the industry, and it appears that he is only getting busier. In addition to getting ready for Riddick's release on September 6th - the trailer for which you can see below- he will also soon be beginning production on James Wan's Fast & Furious 7, which will be out next year. His gig over at Marvel Studios shouldn't take too much time, as it will mostly consist of him sitting in a recording booth and saying "I am Groot" with a thousand different intonations, but he is also attached to star in the family-friendly action comedy The Machine, which will have him playing an advanced robot that helps protect a family.