'Walking Dead' Alum Michael Rooker Joins 'Fast and Furious 9'

With the success of Hobbs & Shaw, the ninth iteration of the Fast & Furious series is looking to raise the stakes to compete with its own spinoff. Filling Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's void will be WWE Superstar John Cena, standing alongside returning stars Charlize Theron and Jordana Brewster. Just don't think that means the film is finished adding stars.

Deadline reports that Guardians of the Galaxy and The Walking Dead star Michael Rooker will appear in the next film in the role of Buddy, a last-minute addition according to the outlet.

It's the latest major role for Rooker's slate, including Blumhouse's Fantasy Island, Amazon's mini-series adaptation of The Dark Tower, and the upcoming Monster Problems from Paramount.

There aren't many details being shared about the film just yet but it would seem that it will continue the series habit of turning former villains into the main heroes of the series. Charlize Theron's Cipher will return after her villainous introduction in The Fate of the Furious, either to continue as the main antagonist or join up the team in the same way Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw and Johnson's Luke Hobbs turned to heroes with the later films.

Rooker joins Cena as a new addition to the cast, with the WWE Superstar gushing over his chance to join the franchise.

"For nearly 20 years, the Fast franchise has entertained fans and created some of the biggest cinematic moments in history," Cena wrote on Twitter. "It’s an incredible honor to join this franchise and this family."

Cena had previously shared his desires to join the franchise, following in the footsteps of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Vin Diesel seemingly confirmed his addition before it was made official during a video on social media where the star appeared waving near the end.

Director Justin Lin will return to direct this installment, having directed four prior installments before handing the reins over to James Wan and F. Gary Gray for the seventh and eighth films.

This doesn't mean news has been all positive for the film. Apart from the drama that occurred behind-the-scenes in the last installment, including the added drama with Hobbs & Shaw, the ninth film has seen tragedy happen on set in the form of an injury to stuntman Joe Watts.

"He was meant to be left dangling below the balcony via the wire and then lowered slowly to the ground, but he plunged to the ground and landed on his head," an insider said to The Wrap."Vin Diesel was seen on set seconds after. He looked ashen, totally in shock and blinking back tears. He saw what happened."

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The accident left Watts in a coma, but latest reports indicate that he has been moved out of the ICU, according to Deadline.

While Joe remains in hospital and there is still a long road ahead, he has been moved out of the ICU and doctors are pleased with his progress,” reads a statement from Watts, his fiancée Tilly Powell and their families. “We’d especially like to send an enormous thank you to the air ambulance crew, all the fantastic doctors, nurses and staff at the Royal London Hospital who have provided amazing care to Joe.”

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