With Dwayne Johnson apparently happy taking over his quiet corner of the Fast & Furious universe with Jason Statham, and thus apparently not appearing in the upcoming Fast & Furious 9, the movie was going to need some new muscle. We thought maybe the film had found their answer in John Cena, but it's not done yet as it is now being reported that UFC's Francis "The Predator" Ngannou is also joining the cast.
Ngannou is currently the number two ranked fighter in the UFC's heavyweight division. In June he won his most recent fight via a 71-second TKO. The role will be his professional acting debut.
Deadline doesn't know what the role will be so whether Francis Ngannou will be hero or villain remains to be seen. If past his prologue, he'll likely be a henchmen working for Charlize Theron or whatever other big bad the movie has. Previously both Gina Carano and Ronda Rousey have made appearances in the Fast & Furious franchise and both have fought against the heroes.
Since Francis Ngannou has never acted before it's anybody's guess what we'll get. He may very well play a heavy who never has a line and is just there to get in a fist fight with Vin Diesel. Still, even if that's what happens, it probably will be one hell of a fist fight.
If Ngannou's Fast & Furious experience is a good one we could very well see him make the jump to at least part time acting in the future. Those other former UFC fighters who have been in the franchise are now either permanent or part-time actors and no matter how much time Ngannou wants to keep knocking people unconscious in the octagon, there comes a point where one needs to stop being kicked in the face and make a living doing something else.
We don't know much about the plan for the new Fast & Furious. Charlize Theron will be returning to reprise her role as Cipher from the last movie. Helen Mirren will also be back. John Cena will be joining the cast. Exactly how all this fits together is anybody's guess, but it's not like plot and story are major considerations for these movies. They make a billion dollars at the box office because fans around the world want to see the action and with this addition, that action begins to look that much better.
While there is clearly still some bad blood going on within the Fast & Furious franchise, the franchise itself is doing better than ever. Hobbs & Shaw is ruling the box office and is clearly looking to become a film series of its own. There will be at least one more proper F&F movie after this one and it's unlikely that will be the end of things. Another spinoff focusing on the women of the series is also in development.
Fast and Furious 9, which is still waiting on an official title, is slated to lit theaters in May of 2020.