Idris Elba refused to deliver one joke in the upcoming Fast & Furious spinoff, Hobbs & Shaw, because it was "too close" to reality.

Star Dwayne Johnson told Variety that a joke in which Elba's character says: "I'm black superman" was initially intended to say "black James Bond" - but that Elba rejected the joke because it was "too close to what everybody's talking about."

Elba's concerns refer to the cultural conversation surrounding who would replace Daniel Craig as the next James Bond star. Many campaigned for Luther star Elba to take over, which would mark him as the first black actor to take on the role.

Dwayne Johnson at the premiere of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Photo / AP
Dwayne Johnson at the premiere of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Photo / AP

While Elba was a favourite pick for many, with Sony co-chair Amy Pascal one of the first to suggest his casting, the idea was inevitably met with controversy by conservative fans who believed Bond should stay white.

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Elba has kept his distance from the casting conversation, but told Variety earlier this year he believed it was time to "do something different" with the character.

Idris Elba in Luther. Photo / AP
Idris Elba in Luther. Photo / AP

"Are we interested in having a Bond character other than being a male?" Elba asked. "Could be a woman, could be a black woman, could be a white woman, but I think, that character, everybody would like to see it have — do something different with it, why not?"

Craig's successor has not yet been announced, but black British actor Lashana Lynch has been announced as the new 007 in the upcoming 25th Bond film. Bond is still Bond, but when he comes out of retirement, he discovers he has been replaced by Lynch's character.