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Everything to Remember About F9 Before Seeing Fast X

Catch up with the core Fast Saga family where we last left them before Fast X arrives on May 19.

By Benjamin Bullard
Fast X Trailer

For an action franchise overcharged on gasoline, guns, and even the gravitational force of giant electromagnets, the Fast Saga packs an unmistakably sincere punch of genuine emotion. No amount of villainous firepower has ever overcome the ride-or-die code of loyalty that fuels the beating heart of Dominic Toretto’s street racing family — though the hugely anticipated Fast X, burning onto theater screens everywhere on May 19, is set to stretch that winning formula like never before.

Fast X comes in the wake of 2021’s F9 (streaming now at Peacock), to date the most insane and intrigue-laden movie — as well as the longest — in the 10-film Fast Saga. Over the course of its 2-hour, 23-minute runtime, F9 acknowledges just about every character who’s ever loomed large at some point or other in the entire two-decade franchise, all while introducing Dom’s brother Jakob (John Cena) — a huge new piece of the family puzzle whose prodigal-son storyline sheds a ton of fresh light on the tight-knit Toretto team’s past. 

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know Before Seeing Fast X in Theaters

You don’t necessarily have to know the whole F9 plot in order to dive headfirst into the action before Fast X lands, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to catch the key character developments and story threads that the movie either advances or, by the time of its out-of-this-world finale, leaves tantalizingly dangling for future Fast Saga installments to resolve. Here’s a track-day cheat sheet covering every major F9 character (and where we last left them) as the fam gets set to return in Fast X.

What are the Fast Saga characters up to at the end of F9?

Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker)

We might as well address the elephant in the room first: What does Fast X have planned for Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker)? Though Walker passed away in 2013 and hasn’t been directly featured in the series since Furious 7, his character is still alive and well in Fast Saga lore, staying close to the family’s hearts while living safely away from danger in offscreen retirement with his wife — aka Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) — and their kids, Jack and Olivia.

Referenced in flashbacks throughout F9, Brian (or at least some unseen person driving his car) shows up, in the movie’s closing moments, to the celebratory family cookout at Dom’s Los Angeles home. Mia’s already there awaiting his arrival, so there’s no real bait-and-switch suggestion that anyone but Brian is in the car ... but, of course, the movie ends before the audience really gets a chance to see. Will Fast X deploy some CGI facial magic to bring Brian into the story once again? We’ll just have to watch and wait — though Walker’s real-life daughter Meadow, at least, is already set to appear in a Fast X cameo aimed at honoring Walker’s iconic association with the franchise.

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel)

Screengrab of Vin Diesel in F9 (2021)

Dom hangs with the main gang through most of F9, though his movie-long antagonism with long-lost little brother Jakob Toretto (Cena) takes him through several significant detours that eventually, after tons of action and close calls, brings Jakob back into the family fold.

Beset by flashbacks throughout F9 that highlight the 1989 death of his father (played by J.D. Pardo) on a fateful day at the racetrack, Dom doubles down on his commitment to protecting everyone he loves — especially after he witnesses former flame Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky), the mother of his toddler son Brian Marcos, executed on Cipher’s orders in The Fate of the Furious.

Thanks to Fast X trailers that’ve abundantly teased the arrival of Dante, a new villain played by Jason Momoa, we know that Dom’s next nemesis will arrive not as a lingering loose end from F9, but rather as an angry avenger who hails from a time even farther back in Dom’s past. Dante’s the son of deceased Brazilian drug lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), whom Brian and Dom took down in spectacular fashion in 2011’s Fast Five.

Related: Where to Stream the Entire Fast & Furious Saga Before Fast X Arrives

Letty (Michelle Rodriguez)

Screengrab of Michelle Rodriguez in F9 (2021)

Letty’s been through a lot, having lost (and later partially recovered) her memory as the amnesiac sidekick of Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) in a two-movie arc that spanned Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7. Now back with Dom and totally on board with playing the stepmother role to young Brian Marcos (set to appear as a pre-teen played by Leo Abelo Perry in Fast X), Letty’s still struggling in F9 to piece together the missing bits of her shared past with her hunky husband, even as she’s come to patiently accepting terms with how slow a process it’s turning out to be.

The ending scenes of F9 show the couple happy and resolved to treat their reunited future as a clean-slate second act, with Dom telling Letty he never filled in a key piece of her amnesia with the informative tidbit that they were, in fact, married. Why? Because Dom knows love is a bridge that you just have to cross yourself: “You can’t tell someone they love you,” he says late in F9, with Letty recognizing that she’d fall for this fella in any Fast & Furious timeline.

Cipher (Charlize Theron)

Screengrab of Charlize Theron in F9 (2021)

Unlike past Fast Saga frenemies Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), there’s little chance for cyber-terrorist Cipher to join the family’s ranks through any kind of redemption arc in Fast X or beyond. She’s simply done too much damage, having ordered the murder of Elena Neves right in front of Dom in the 8th Fast Saga film and secretly conspiring with now-deceased F9 baddie Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) while posing as a closely-guarded captive through most of the same movie.

Cipher’s string of betrayals, in fact, is a key ingredient in the secret bad-guy sauce that finally brings Dom’s brother Jakob to his senses in F9, resolving him to make amends with Dom and set aside their fraught family past. In the Fast X teasers, Cipher and Letty are shown trading blows in a fight scene that appears to unfold inside an Antarctic lab. Whether she’s part of the larger plot that puts Dante hot on Dom’s trail, though, we’ll just have to find out when Fast X is finally in theaters.

Jakob Toretto (John Cena)

Screengrab of John Cena in F9 (2021)

First appearing in F9 as the capable criminal lieutenant of tainted German diplomatic scion Otto, Jakob Toretto spends most of F9 way over the line in bad-guy territory, until Otto and Cipher reveal they’ve been using him as a disposable pawn all along. F9’s quieter moments mostly revolve around tension-thick flashbacks that feature late-1980s versions of Dom (played by Vinnie Bennett) and Jakob (played by Finn Cole) in conflict after Dom does prison time for assaulting the sabotage-minded driver whose track-day tricks led to their father’s death.

Plagued with the world’s worst case of little-brother syndrome, Jakob spends the intervening years honing his craft as an assassin and off-the-books spy, even working alongside the enigmatic Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) to carry out black ops missions, with Dom and the family none the wiser. Jakob will be fighting alongside the good guys in Fast X, though beyond being a family target for Dante’s vengeance, his specific place in the story remains up in the air... for now.

Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)

Still filled to the brim with combative sass, the elder brother of Fast & Furious 6 villain Owen Shaw is now part of the extended Fast Saga family — especially after teaming up with Hobbs in the 2019 spinoff, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, while showing up at just the right moments to get the gang out of jams in F9. The former British MI6 agent and reformed criminal even brings along his actual fam to help the cause of truth and justice: His mother Queenie (Helen Mirren) makes a crucial Fate of the Furious move, when seconds count, to help Dom dodge Cipher’s surveillance and arrange for his eventual extraction from Cipher’s useful-hostage scheme.

In a head-turning credits scene from F9, Shaw is shown using a hapless bad guy as a literal punching bag when none other than Han Lue (Sung Kang) knocks at the door, back from the dead after going off the grid thanks to a car-crashing scheme Shaw took part in all the way back — though only fully explained three films later — in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Fast X teasers hint that Shaw and Han, in fact, likely have a ton of catching up to do.

Han Lue (Sung Kang)


Justice for Han? Who knows?! Deckard Shaw definitely looked like he’d seen a ghost from his own wicked past when Han showed up in F9’s lore-stirring credits scene, though it’s tough to envision the mostly-peaceful Han exacting any sort of direct revenge on Shaw for trying to kill him way back in the third franchise installment. Mr. Nobody’s arrival in Fast & Furious 6 showed fans, in a revised flashback, how Han had actually survived Deckard’s intentional car crash in Tokyo — though in Fast Saga lore, Shaw himself had no idea Han was still alive until Han knocked at his door at the end of F9.

F9’s end credits encounter is definitely meant to set up some kind of payback arc for Han, who would later go on to suffer his own painful loss when lover Gisele (Gal Gadot) perished on the plane tarmac at the end of Fast & Furious 6 — a death indirectly brought about by Shaw’s epic Russian airplane heist. Shaw was still the bad guy back in those days, but now he’s part of the family ... so where does that leave Han? “Let’s dig some graves,” Shaw invites as he and Han appear to at least momentarily set the past aside to take on baddies in a current Fast X teaser. But time can only tell if the two longtime antagonists can finally close ranks for good.

Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridge) & Roman (Tyrese Gibson)

F9 | Fast & Furious

As Roman somberly reflects in one of F9’s funnier moments, crazy good luck seems to follow these guys everywhere — so don’t overload your brain trying to square how Tej transformed from a street mechanic into a Q-level tech hacker seemingly overnight, just enjoy the comic relief (and nick-of-time skills) he and Roman bring to the table in some of the later Fast Saga films’ most over-the-top set pieces.

Fast X teasers have shown Tej and Roman right in the middle of the go-fast action where they ought to be, but we’re just hoping the movie keeps leaning into their well-earned camaraderie as opposite oil-and-water sides of the same smooth-talking coin. After all, they might’ve failed to impress Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) back when all they had was braggadocio and street game... but that was before they blasted off into space in a ramshackle F9 rocket car to take down a hijacked satellite.

Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster)

F9 | Fast & Furious

Leaving husband Brian on offscreen babysitting patrol in F9 (he’s holding down the home front with Brian Marcos and the kids), Mia can’t stay away from the action as brothers Dom and Jakob chase each other across a globe-trotting field of battle. Harkening back to the franchise’s earliest films, in fact, she’s right in the thick of the movie’s biggest action, clambering across the tops of moving vehicles alongside Han in F9’s late-stage London street chase that eventually brings Dom and Jakob back together.

Fast X teasers have shown Mia scrambling to protect the kids from an invasion — likely the work of Dante’s goons — back at home, though the same teasers, operating by a hidden clock of their own, also have shown her safely away from danger in another location. What’s certain is that she’s happy together with her family as F9 draws to a close in Dom’s backyard... and that keeping her safe from Dante’s revenge scheme will be a driving force of Dom’s bigger Fast X story arc. 

Catch up on more Fast Saga history at Peacock, where you can stream both Furious 7 and F9 before Fast X races onto movie screens everywhere beginning May 19. Get tickets now!