Alongside Brie Larson, Daniela Melchior, and Jason Momoa — who arguably plays the best “Fast” baddie yet — “Fast X” added yet another new name to its capacious roster of stars. Alan Ritchson brought his Jack Reacher muscle to the role of Aimes, the new head of mysterious government department The Agency, seemingly filling the extensive void left by departing star Dwayne Johnson. But while the “by the book” agent begins the film appearing to be an obvious replacement for Johnson’s Hobbs, it’s eventually revealed that he’s been on the side of Momoa’s Dante the entire time.

Ritchson makes a lot of sense within the world of the “Fast” movies. His “Reacher” series on Amazon Prime Video is shot like a premium action-thriller, but is basically an excuse for a large man to punch people in stylish ways across eight episodes. That paradigm maps on nicely to “Fast X,” where Ritchson’s 6-foot 3-inch frame and hulking physique fits neatly into the cacophony of outrageous action sequences. But despite the actor seemingly being perfect for the role of Aimes, he wasn’t the first choice.

According to Ritchson, who spoke to Entertainment Weekly about “Fast X,” his casting was “just a little stroke of luck and good timing.” He continued:

“I was working on a movie with Hilary Swank up in Winnipeg in the freezing cold, and I got a call that things had shifted in the plans with Keanu Reeves, which is I think who was originally intended to play my part. Tough act to follow.”

Yes, it looks as though Universal tried to shoehorn Reeves into their premier action franchise once again. And once again, things didn’t work out. But it’s surely only a matter of time…