xXx: The Return of Xander Cage has added Jet Li to its cast, and our interest in Vin Diesel’s latest project just became exponentially stronger. While not much is known about the martial arts legend’s character—is he the main villain, or what?—he will definitely get to “square off” against Diesel’s Cage.

According to Revolution Studios’ Scott Hemming, quoted in the Hollywood Reporter:

“We are extremely excited to have Jet Li join the cast of xXx 3: The Return of Xander Cage as Raif, who is pitted against Vin Diesel’s Xander Cage, and watch these two in action as they raise the bar with some of the most incredible stunts on film.”

Well, that sounds promising. Li—last seen being woefully underused in the Expendables movies—joins a cast that also includes Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries), Ruby Rose (Orange Is the New Black), and Samuel L. Jackson, who’s played the NSA agent/mentor character in all three xXx movies.

Advertisement

Aside from hinting at some kind of Diesel vs. Li battle royale (we hope, anyway), the report in THR has scant details on the story. However, it seems the third xXx movie (Diesel’s second, since Ice Cube took over the lead in part two ... hence the “return” of Xander Cage) will be modeled after a certain other long-running hit franchise:

Plot details are being kept redacted, but just as Diesel found renewed success when Fast & Furious was rejigged as an action ensemble, xXx, too, is being reconfigured to surround the action star with a team of toughs and wiseacres.

Director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) will begin filming xXx next month.

Jet Li attends the Clinton Global Initiative Asia Meeting in Hong Kong on Dec 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)