Cast member Vin Diesel attends the premiere of the film Fast & Furious in Los Angeles March 12, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Cinematographer-turned-director Ericson Core has signed to direct XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, the third installment in the action franchise.

Vin Diesel is reprising the role of the extreme sports athlete-turned-government operative, which he originated in the 2002 movie directed by Rob Cohen. Diesel and Cohen skipped the 2005 sequel, XXX: State of the Union, which starred Ice Cube and was helmed by Lee Tamahori.

Last year, Diesel and Cohen agreed to reteam for the new installment in the Columbia franchise, but in June, Cohen segued to helm another project, Medieval.

Terminator Salvation screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris wrote the script for Xander Cage. It involves Cage's return to the National Security Agency after an eight-year absence. Richard Wilkes, who wrote the original movie, did a recent polish on the screenplay.

Core made his directorial debut with the 2006 football drama Invincible.