The cast comes together to celebrate Michelle Rodriguez' birthday, as well as the importance of their franchise for today's world.
While Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham explore the fun of spinning out of the long-running franchise with "Hobbs & Shaw," John Cena is getting ready for his "Fast & Furious" debut in this first glimpse of the wrestler and actor with the cast of "Fast & Furious 9."
In a short clip and photograph, Cena is seen celebrating with the cast in honor of franchise star Michelle Rodriguez' 41st birthday. The film will mark Rodriguez' sixth turn in the franchise.
She and Cena are joined in the film, and the birthday celebration, by Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel and fellow franchise newcomer Anna Sawai. Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren also star.
It was a sweet on-set celebration, with Diesel serenading Rodriguez while carrying a cake for her and proving why he went into film instead of music. It's ... passionate?
The whole thing was adorably sweet, shared across the cast's various social media pages with various angles of the celebratory moment. There were hugs for Rodriguez from all of her old cast-mates and friends, and even one from one of the newest faces of the "Furious" franchise, John Cena.
As the new kid on the block, the WWE Superstar largely stayed in the background with a smile on his face, but his towering presence was hard to miss.
After being called for a speech, Rodriguez acquiesced, asking Diesel, "How many years we been at this? 18? I mean wow!"
She continued with a meaningful look at Diesel. "What does this mean? It means everything," she said. "I just never expected to be here around so many people that I love and I really care about and I'm super grateful for every opportunity to keep coming back and working with you guys."
She went on to emphasize, "I think what we do here is really special. A lot of people can look at commercial films and be like, 'Oh, what are you saying? The world is crazy right now, what is your participation with the planet?' We keep the morale up and we include everybody. And I think that that is a beautiful thing to be a part of.
"And that inclusion is very needed right now in the world where everybody is separating, everybody's looking at the other like an enemy. Tribes are gathering together and saying you're not included. It's good to have a franchise like this that says, 'F--k yeah you are. You're family.'"
Franchise director Justin Lin shared the cast photo to Instagram in honor of Rodriguez' birthday, writing, "Happy Birthday to the one and only Michelle Rodriguez - one of the most genuine and honest people I’ve known." Brewster simply captioned her share of the photo, "So much ❤️."
Check out Rodriguez' reaction to the celebration as well as more birthday messages from her "Furious" family in the posts below:
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We started by repping the derilycs, rebels, cats on the other side of the tracks. 18 years strong Fast & Furious saga continues its message of inclusion, with the guilty pleasure of action movie fun✨ Through all the years friendships, hardships, & loss. I see these young new faces & welcome a new generation to a platform sturdy, strong, & inclusive, ready to entertain a multicultural 🌍 with more action packed rides, incredulous stories, & popcorn fun, for the decades to come🌈Grateful✨
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