WWE fans can’t see John Cena in the ring nowadays, but the wrestler turned actor has several confirmed movie and TV show projects coming up. For decades, Cena was the poster boy for WWE, and arguably his generation’s equivalent to wrestling stars like Hulk Hogan and The Rock. He would of course eventually go on to battle The Rock twice in a pair of true dream matches at back-to-back Wrestlemania events. Cena still appears for WWE on special occasions, but the time between them is getting longer and longer.
Somewhat ironically, Cena used to criticize The Rock publicly for almost completely abandoning wrestling in order to become a Hollywood actor, although how much of that was real and how much was just working the fans is anyone’s guess. In the last five years or so, Cena has seen his own Hollywood profile increase tremendously, much in the same way it took The Rock a few years of up and down roles before he suddenly burst into the A-list.
While wrestlers becoming actors used to be seen as jokes, thanks to the failed Hollywood runs of people like Hulk Hogan, the success stories of The Rock, Cena, and Dave Bautista seem to be turning the tide away from that line of thinking. With that in mind, here are the six movies and TV shows fans can look forward to seeing the massively muscular Cena pop up in next.
In films like Trainwreck and Blockers, John Cena proved he has an aptitude for comedy, and that’s a skill he’ll return to with Vacation Friends. Vacation Friends has actually been a long time coming, as it was originally planned to star Chris Pratt and Anna Faris back in 2014, then by 2015 they were out and Ice Cube was the lead, then he left too. Silicon Valley producer Clay Tarver directs this comedy about a mild-mannered couple who has fun times with a much wilder couple on vacation, only to be shocked when that couple follows them home. Meredith Hagner (Palm springs), Lil Rel Howery (Get out), and Yvonne Orji (Insecure) also star. Vacation Friends is set to release at the end of August 2021 on Hulu, Disney +, and Star +.
Project X-Traction / Snafu
Another movie without a definite release date, but is expected to arrive in late 2021 or early 2022 is Project X-Traction (also known as Snafu), an action thriller that teams up John Cena with legendary actor and martial artist Jackie Chan. It’s actually a bit curious that this one hasn’t come out already, as it was shot in 2018. Cena actually moved to China for the duration of filming, and being who he is, documented his time there via YouTube. Project X-Traction‘s story concerns a Chinese security contractor (Chan), who uncovers a plot to steal a fortune in oil after a refinery is blown up. To stop this, he teams up a former US marine, played by Cena. The project is mainly marketed towards the Chinese audience, so details about the movie’s release in the rest of the world are still scarce.
Both James Gunn and Warner Bros. were clearly quite satisfied with Cena’s performance as Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad, as he’s set to reprise the role in an eight-episode prequel series for HBO Max. Making the show a prequel was wise, as now fans don’t know if Peacemaker will survive The Suicide Squad or not. Peacemaker is a man so obsessed with peace that he paradoxically uses violence to enforce his idea of it, also getting progressively crazier with time. It’s a character unlike any Cena has played before, and should offer him an opportunity to show off both his action chops and comic timing. Peacemaker doesn’t have an exact release date either, but it’s currently planned to premiere on HBO Max in January 2022.
Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn is set to direct Argylle, an action thriller that follows a James Bond-like spy on a global adventure. Argylle features a star-studded cast, composed of Henry Cavill, Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Catherine O’Hara, Dua Lipa, and, of course, John Cena. The movie, which is expected to release in 2022, will be the first in a trilogy and will accompany the launch of Ellie Conway’s eponymous book. Details about John Cena’s role are still under wraps, but he may be an important piece of this franchise, at least at the beginning.
Heads of State
After their respective roles as Peacemaker and Bloodsport in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, John Cena and Idris Elba will collaborate again in Amazon’s Head of State. According to Deadline, the plot may resemble Air Force One and Hobbs and shaw, in the sense that the two stars might have a friendly rivalry amidst a high-stakes adventure that may involve the titular heads of state. Screenwriter Harrison Query and producers Peter Safran and John Rickard are attached to the project, which hasn’t received a release date yet.
The Janson Directive
It’s a bit unclear what the status of The Janson Directive is, as the last concrete update on the project came in 2018. It’s possible the film has fallen into development hell, but hopefully that’s not the case, as it sounds like an interesting prospect. The Janson Directive is based on a novel of the same name, written by Jason Bourne creator Robert Ludlum, and actually published following the author’s death. The Rock was originally set to star, but due to scheduling difficulties, fell back into the role of producer, and personally cast John Cena as his replacement. That certainly suggests that Rock and Cena are now on good terms outside the ring. The plot centers on Paul Janson, an ex-Navy Seal and government agent who’s sent on a high-profile rescue mission, only for things to go terribly wrong, and see Janson himself become the hunted.
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