XXX: The Return of Xander Cage is heating up, with production expected to start soon. Today, returning star Vin Diesel has made a few exciting announcements about the movie. First and foremost, original co-star Samuel L. Jackson will be resuming his role as Gibbons. Another new cast member added to the mix is current UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor. Along with this announcement, Vin Diesel also showed off some concept art for the sequel which is all very much blink and you'll miss it. Here's what he had to say about the latest casting for xXx 3.

"Timing and precision...The casting of the new XXX gets more exciting everyday. Excited to work with Sam again... his portrayal of Gibbons was so good... timeless. Welcome to the Xander Zone!"

Vin Diesel made the announcements on 'Toretto Tuesday', the day of the week he usually pays homage to his most iconic character Dominic Toretto from the Fast & Furious franchise. But there was a quick change of plans, as he was just about to step into his conceptual meeting for XXX: The Return of Xander Cage. The quick glimpses of conceptual art that he shows off promise some big stunt scenes and a lot of action for this long awaited sequel.

We get to see a flying bus, along with Xander jumping out of a military plane. It looks like a meteorite or a missile is heading towards earth. We also see Cage on a skateboard in front of a bus, hinting that these two forces will collide on a winding road. The best image is of Xander on a motorcycle that has been outfitted with waterskis as he attempts to make his way through a tidal wave. Yes, now that is extreme sports. Here's what the actor/producer had to say.

"Sharing some concept art before heading to my meeting. 
So excited to start filming xXx, it's been a while since we've entered the Xander Zone..."

Just as the month was kicking off, it was rumored that Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone had joined XXX: The Return of Xander Cage as it's leading lady. That news has not officially been confirmed by the production. Vin Diesel reportedly wanted the actress to co-star in Furious 7, which would have marked her American debut. The actress had to turn the role down due to prior commitments that couldn't be worked out.

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage is the third film in this action series. The first film was released in 2002 and was a box office success. Though, it did not receive very many good reviews across the board. Diesel didn't return in 2005's XXX: State of the Union, which saw Ice Cube taking over the lead role. Samuel L. Jackson did reprise his role in the sequel, so this latest installment will be his third time playing Gibbons, who has a very Nick Fury like way about himself.

Related: xXx 3 Clip Has Vin Diesel Doing an Insane Ski Jump in the Jungle

A short film released on DVD actually showed Xander Cage dying. But he will be resurrected for the latest sequel. A revival of the series has been in the planning stages since Fast & Furious debuted in 2009. The fourth installment in the long running series was an unexpected blockbuster hit, and helped refuel that franchise. Sony hoped the same would be true for xXx. But it's been six years and counting, and the film still isn't officially shooting yet.

Last January, Vin Diesel announced that principle photography on XXX: The Return of Xander Cage would being this month. We haven't heard whether or not that is still the plan, with the production set to take place in the Philippines. D.J. Caruso is directing the sequel. You can take a look at Vin Diesel's latest social media updates here.

Vin Diesel XXX 3 Facebook

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B. Alan Orange