"XXX" has new life. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, commercial director Ericson Core has been chosen to kick start Vin Diesel's return to the franchise with the upcoming "XXX: The Return of Xander Cage." 

Diesel will return to the role of the extreme sports star turned secret agent he created in 2002's $142 million hit "XXX."  That action flick was directed by Rob Cohen who was expected to helm "The Return of Xander Cage," but decided a few months ago to switch to another action picture, "Medieval," instead.  Neither Cohen or Diesel were involved in the first sequel, "XXX: State of the Union," which was a major box office disappointment.

Core made his directorial debut in the Mark Wahlberg football drama "Invincible." He has a history with Diesel as the cinematographer on "The Fast and the Furious."  Core's other director of photography credits include "Daredevil" and "Payback."

The character of Xander Cage was said to have been killed offscreen in "State of the Union," so it's unclear how his return will be explained.  We'll assume screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris have come up with something to suspend audiences' belief. 

With Diesel's star on the rise again after "Fast and Furious" grossed $343 million worldwide, Sony Pictures hopes to begin production on the third "XXX" early next year.