After Vin Diesel refused to return for xXx 2, the producers mistakenly thought they could just insert a new hero into the xXx mix and the fans wouldn’t care.
After Vin Diesel refused to return for xXx 2 , the producers mistakenly thought they could just insert a new hero into the xXx mix and fans wouldn’t mind.
The baritone-voiced Diesel sometimes has his acting style ridiculed by detractors, but clearly, he’s doing something right. Diesel first came to notice playing the deadly anti-hero Richard Riddick in 2000s Pitch Black ,
and though that franchise ended up being a mixed bag, Diesel would soon after enter the ground floor of one of Hollywood’s most successful action series. : The fast and the furious .
Outside of the huge return on investment made by the first Fast and Furious in 2001, 2002 saw Diesel debut his next big character in xXx Xander Cage. A stuntman, extreme sports athlete and tough guy, Cage finds himself recruited to become an unlikely secret agent by the NSA, in the form of Samuel L. Jackson’s Augustus Gibbons.
xXx It clearly seemed designed to start a franchise, and it was, but Diesel didn’t like the sequel’s script. xXx: State of the Union , which is why he left the project.
Not wanting to give up what they thought was a new hot brand at this point, Sony went ahead and hired Ice Cube to play a new lead character. To put things mildly, it was a miscalculation.
Why xXx can’t be successful without Vin Diesel
In deciding to make xXx: State of the Union without Vin Diesel, Sony really fell victim to one of the classic mistakes. The studio grossly underestimated how much xXx success was due to Diesel’s star power, and vastly overestimated the appeal of the xXx name and universe to audiences.
This is not to suggest that Ice Cube is not a celebrity, as he has starred in several blockbuster movies in his own right, but Diesel was, and is, one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. There are definitely people who go to movies because they are Vin Diesel movies, and that includes xXx .
Without Diesel’s Xander Cage in the lead, the public had a rough time State of the Union, which bombed so badly that it didn’t even return its budget to theaters.
More evidence to support the lack of diesel as the main reason xXx 2 failed can be seen in 2017 ‘s xXx: The Return of Xander Cage , which saw Diesel return to the fold. The Return of Xander Cage made even bigger profits than the original xXx , and that’s despite a 15-year gap since Diesel last played Cage.
In fact, it turned out to be such a hit that Diesel is returning for an xXx 4 , which is currently in the works. For better or worse, hopefully Sony now realizes that the xXx franchise runs on diesel power alone.