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xXx Set For New Instalment In 2010

Sequel gets a release date

A third xXx film was already in the works, but it's just come a little closer. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage will re-team original star Diesel with director Rob Cohen for a summer 2010 release.

Plot details haven't been released yet, but this marks a return to the franchise for both director and star after 2005s xXx: State of the Union, which was directed by Lee Tamahori (Die Another Day) and starred Ice Cube as a new version of the titular secret agent.

The film is set to enter production in the spring, although there is no word as yet whether Samuel L. Jackson will be reprising his role as scar-faced mentor Agent Gibbons.

The original xXx, in 2002, was seen as a bit of a mis-step for rising-star Diesel, who turned his back on his breakthrough franchise, The Fast and the Furious, to make the film. Although it was a sizeable hit, making $47million in its opening weekend and $141million at the box office total, Diesel quickly ruled out a return to the role. The sequel was an unmitigated flop, making back just $25million of it’s $87million budget at the US box office.

Execs obviously believe that the Diesel factor coupled with summer-fare regular Cohen, who had a worldwide hit with The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor this summer, will prove lucrative. We at Empire remain to be convinced by the math used to justify this green light, and hope the same execs don’t apply such a formula to The Pacifier. Still, we look forward to hearing how they explain the second film's throwaway line about Xander Cage having been killed already.

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