Why The Rock Is Not in 'Fast and Furious 9' As Luke Hobbs

Fast & Furious 9 has a bigger cast than perhaps any other film from the franchise (spoilers ahead), with regulars like Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson joined by familiar faces from previous films like Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and some of the cast of Tokyo Drift.

One fan favorite character, however, is missing from the proceedings. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson does not appear in The Fast Saga as Luke Hobbs, making it the first movie he has missed in the franchise since being introduced in Fast Five.

Why The Rock is not in Fast & Furious 9

WARNING: The following contains plot spoilers for the ending of Fast & Furious 9

The official reason given by The Rock himself is that filming of the movie clashed with the promotional trail of his spinoff movie with Jason Statham, Hobbs & Shaw. In a joint interview with MTV News featuring Johnson and Statham, the former said: "As of now, we're not in Fast 9 because they're getting ready to start shooting. But who knows with Fast 10 and down the road, you never know."

Despite this, Statham actually does appear in the new movie. As well as appearing in a flashback to the events of Han's (Sung Kang) near death in Tokyo Drift, Statham appears in the post-credit sequence of the movie, in a scene that sets up the future of the franchise.

There were a number of other scheduling problems, however, that are likely to have prevented the actor from appearing in The Fast Saga. Filming on F9 began around May 2019, when The Rock was supposed to start shooting Red Notice, his film for Netflix in which he stars alongside fellow Fast and Furious alum Gal Gadot.

Production on this film was delayed until fall, but as a producer, Johnson would have been involved heavily in getting filming back on track amid the pandemic (the film resumed shooting in fall 2020). While Red Notice was on hiatus, Johnson was also working on his NBC biopic series, Young Rock.

The Rock's absence from Fast and Furious 9 comes after he famously criticized his co-stars on his Facebook page. In 2017, in a now deleted post, he wrote: "my female co-stars are always amazing and I love 'em. My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't. The ones that don't are too chicken s*** to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I'm not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling—you're right."

the rock fast and furious 9
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson does not appear in "Fast and Furious 9." Universal Pictures

This was seen by many as a dig at Diesel, amid reports of a feud between them. Diesel has since said that if there was a feud between them, it is over. In a recent Men's Health interview, Diesel stated that his tactics with Johnson were to bring the right performance out of him. He said: "It was a tough character to embody, the Hobbs character. My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting that performance where it needed to be...That took a lot of work.

"We had to get there and sometimes, at that time, I could give a lot of tough love... but I would do anything I'd have to do in order to get performances in anything I'm producing."

Johnson also seemed ready to bury the hatchet after the success of Hobbs & Shaw. In a post expressing thanks for the movies' $750 million-plus box office, he ended by saying, "also lastly, but not least, want to thank brother Vin for your support of Hobbs & Shaw."

In a recent CinemaBlend interview, long-time franchise director Justin Lin said of The Rock returning for Fast and Furious 10, "so many of the conversations I have is about characters that are not even in there, but are still, obviously, they are living and breathing in this universe. On this one, when I came back, I was thinking a lot about Hobbs and Shaw, and all of the other characters. I never think of them as being gone, for sure."

Fast and Furious 9 is in theaters in the U.S. on Friday, June 25.