The Fast and the Furious franchise might boast physics-defying action sequences and unbelievable spectacle, but at its heart, the series is all about family. There’s a sincere warmth to these movies that give them more soul than your average bombastic blockbuster. The bond these characters share brings a smile to people’s faces. And while the upcoming spinoff Hobbs & Shaw hasn’t gone down well with some members of the franchise’s established players, the movie is taking the theme of strong family values to the next level.
Dwayne Johnson took to Instagram recently to share the news that WWE superstar Roman Reigns has joined the cast of David Leitch’s upcoming blockbuster. He’ll be playing one of Luke Hobbs’s (Johnson) brothers along with Cliff Curtis, Josh Mauga, and John Tui. Reigns is Johnson’s real-life cousin, so he’s a very fitting choice to play his movie sibling.
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The brothers’ roar. A lil’ HOBBS & SHAW exclusive. Good times droppin’ sweat and spillin’ blood with my family, @RomanReigns who’ll be playing my brother in our FAST & FURIOUS UNIVERSE. I’m very proud of his focus, effort and authentic performance in our movie for his very first time on film. I’m also very grateful to spend this quality time with my cousin here in the islands as he takes life one day at a time to recover from leukemia. His perseverance and humility battling this challenge has inspired our entire family as well as millions around the world in our beloved @WWE Universe. Can’t wait to see the “Big Dog” return back to the ring – his positive & focused mindset to return is straight up next level. Til’ then, this sacred Samoan 🇼🇸 ground you stand on is nourished with our ancestors blood. Today, we nourish it with yours. #WelcomeRomanReigns #Brothers #HobbsAndShaw THIS SUMMER 🔥💪🏾 @hhgarcia41 📸
Reigns has all the attributes to make a big impact in this movie. Like Johnson, he has a hulking physique and presents himself as a believable badass. In WWE, his character is silent, cool, and does most of his talking with his fists. But he’s also witty and very entertaining. If Reigns can incorporate these qualities into his acting adventures, he will go far as an action star.
That said, this particular casting decision goes way beyond an entertaining wrestler starring in a movie that will suit his sensibilities. This is bigger than movies. In 2018, Reigns was diagnosed with leukemia for the second time and has been off the radar ever since. Now that he’s back in the limelight and fighting such a serious condition, while continuing to live his life to the fullest and pursue exciting opportunities, is pretty damn inspirational.
Fans of Reigns have been anxiously waiting to see him return to the entertainment industry since his heartbreaking announcement all those months ago. That’s because he’s a force of positivity who uses his celebrity status to do some good in this world. For example, he frequently works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to bring some joy to kids who have experienced their own personal hardships. Throw in the fact that he’s also a happy family man and it’s impossible not to root for him. He’s going to be a successful movie star because he has talent, but he’ll resonate with audiences because he’ll use that success to inspire others. Believe that.
The significance of Reigns’s diagnosis shouldn’t be overlooked, but neither should the fact that he’s kicking leukemia’s ass. Survivor stories like this give people hope, and if Johnson’s Instagram post is anything to go by, Reigns is doing just that.
Hobbs and Shaw is going to be a big, dumb, loud action movie in many ways. But to see Reigns on the screen will serve as a reminder of how far he’s come despite the odds being so firmly stacked against him. It’s a story of triumph, and hopefully the start of a long career in Hollywood and a lifetime of healthiness going forward.
Johnson bringing Reigns into the franchise is also a testament to his own family values. Maybe he joined this saga later than some of the other main cast members, but he’s putting its core message into action and then some.
Hobbs and Shaw hits theaters on August 2, 2019.