When news of Anthony Johnson’s death broke, Ice Cube took to Twitter to commemorate his “Friday” co-star. “Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away,” He wrote. “Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn’t bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday.” According to Johnson’s IMDb, he was rumored to reprise his role as Ezal in an upcoming installment in the series, which would have been the character’s first return since the original “Friday” in 1995.
After the massive success of the first film, Johnson had a meeting with Ice Cube about returning as Ezal for the sequel, “Next Friday,” and according to Johnson, the two came to an agreement on what he would be paid. “Two-three weeks later, I get a phone call … ‘You know they shooting ‘Next Friday?'” Johnson told VladTV in 2018. “I try to go on the set to talk to Cube, but he done already had me barred off the set,” the comedian said. Johnson stated that producers hired Fredro starr, a rapper and actor, as a cost-saving measure. “He done hired the dude from ‘Onyx’ to play my part … for way less than what he was gonna give me,” Johnson spoke to VladTV.
Ice Cube tweeted that Johnson was still loved by the franchise, and that he would be in the film.