Ericson Core to Direct XXX: The Return of Xander CageEricson Core is set to direct {0}, the third installment in the franchise for Columbia.

It wasn't clear why Diesel was off the project, but it was speculated that he might have left after director Rob Cohen left the project in June to direct Medieval.

This news hasn't been confirmed by the studio, so we'll be sure to keep you posted on any and all developments on XXX: The Return of Xander Cage as soon as we have more information.

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UPDATE: 10/16/09 2 PM PST) Vin Diesel's publicist reached out to MTV Movies Blog and revealed that the news of Diesel leaving XXX: The Return of Xander Cage is untrue.

The word comes from Diesel's publicist, who checked out the rumor and confirmed it to be false. As he said in his e-mail to MTV News, "I made a few calls on this and I can tell you that it is completely not true." So there you have it.