Samuel L. Jackson and UFC Champ join 'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage'

– by Joseph Medina

There was a time when Vin Diesel tried to venture away from the franchises that made him famous. First there was "The Fast and the Furious," then there was "xXX" (I would argue that his spirit never left the "Riddick" films). In that time, Diesel didn't really succeed in breaking out of the mold that he set for himself, but who's to say there's anything wrong with that? Since the early 2000s, we've had several "Fast and Furious" films, a new live-action "Riddick" film, and now we're finally getting a new "xXx" flick.

We've known for a while that a new film was in development, and in true Diesel fashion, we're getting updates via the actor/producer's Facebook and Instagram pages. First up, returning to the franchise is acting legend Samuel L. Jackson.

His post had the following photo with the caption: 

"Excited to work with Sam again... his portrayal of Gibbons was so good... timeless.
Welcome to the Xander Zone!"

Samuel L. Jackson returns to the franchise with the character Augustus Gibbons, who is the man responsible for turning Xander Cage into the agent he becomes in the first film. Of course, it's always great when you can get returning cast members for a sequel, and it's even better if that cast member just happens to be Samuel L. Jackson. As far as what his character has been up to since the second film, we'll just have to wait and see on that one. Regardless, Jackson coming back to "xXx" is a great thing for the series.

Jackson wasn't the only recent casting announcement. Diesel also took to his Instagram account to post a photo with him and UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor.

Of course, this wasn't Vin Diesel just taking a photo with a respected fighter. As indicated by the caption, Diesel is hoping to use this man in the next film. McGregor joins a growing list of MMA fighters-turned actors, and a film like "xXx" is probably the best kind of place to start. With its heavy emphasis on action, McGregor will be able to shine in the action scenes without too much pressure on the actual performance (though who knows, he could end up being great).

There's no word yet on how big or small his role will be in the film, but deep down inside, I get the feeling it'll skew to the smaller side of things: think Ronda Rousey's role in "Furious 7," and I think that's indication of what we'll be getting. Either way, I'm hoping for some fantastic fight scenes from this film.

Any thoughts on casting? Let us know in the comments down below!

SOURCES: Facebook, Instagram

News, Casting, Film xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson, Conor McGregor