xXx 2: Why Vin Diesel Turned The 2005 Sequel



Vin Diesel turned down the 2005 sequel xXx 2 after the studio rejected Rich Wilkes’ script and went ahead with Simon Kinberg’s version.

Despite the success of xXx Vin Diesel unexpectedly refused to return for the much-anticipated sequel, xXx: State of the Union – here’s why. The spy-fiction action flick xXx made waves when it was touted as a Bond-inspired franchise starring Diesel in the titular role of Xander ‘xXx’ Cage. This 2002 adventure portrayed Diesel as a badass stuntman and an extreme-sports athlete who was recruited by the NSA as a secret agent to infiltrate a Russian terrorist group.

Unsurprisingly, the movie was a box-office success and grossed over $270 million worldwide mainly due to the combined star power of Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson as his boss Agent Gibbons. Based on the popularity and commercial success of xXx, the studio soon commenced work on a sequel, only for Diesel to unceremoniously drop out of the project. This was the second successful franchise Diesel had walked away from after declining to appear in 2 Fast 2 Furious, despite The Fast And The Furious being his big break in 2001.

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Related: How xXx Parodied James Bond In Its Opening Scene

The initial reason given for Diesel declining the 2005 xXx sequel was his reluctance to work on another follow-up right after shooting The Chronicles of Riddick, the sequel to cult hit Pitch Black. While speculation about the actor disliking the script for xXx 2 was rife, he initially chose to hold out on giving any sort of detailed explanation. It turns out writers Rich Wilkes and Simon Kinberg penned completely different screenplays for xXx 2 for the studio. Wilkes had written the script for the original xXx and was on good creative terms with Diesel. When presented with the two scripts, Diesel connected much better with Wilkes’ version, but the studio wanted to go ahead with the Kinberg story. This proved to be a deal-breaker for Diesel. However, none of this was public news until later, when Vin Diesel revealed in a 2004 USA Today interview that he didn’t vibe with the script the studio had approved and had chosen to pass.

Vin Diesel as Xander Cage in xXx

In a similar move, despite the recognition Diesel received for the first Fast and Furious, he declined the second installment. However, he subsequently returned to that franchise in the 2006 movie, Tokyo Drift. His brief cameo proved so popular he returned for the next movie, and Diesel has now appeared in seven out of the eight main entries released so far – discounting spinoff Hobbs & Shaw. Diesel will return again for the upcoming F9 where he reprises his role as Dom Toretto, a former criminal, and professional street racer. This perhaps should have predicted his return to the xXx franchise years later too.

After Diesel declined xXx 2, the studio went on to replace him with a new agent played by Ice Cube, but this move backfired. Despite Cube being a big celebrity in his own right, he was unable to draw a crowd in the same way a Vin Diesel-led action flick does. The sequel failed at the box office and audiences were left disappointed. However, much like his return to Fast and Furious, Diesel decided to come back to the xXx series after a 15-year hiatus, in 2017’s Return of Xander Cage, and the movie made even more money than the original. With the success of Return of Xander Cage, Diesel is now set to feature in xXx 4, which is currently in development; hope he’ll like the script when he reads it.

More: The xXx Series Pulled The Same Fake Death Stunt With Samuel L. Jackson Twice

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