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What to remember about the Fast and Furious movies before watching Fast X

The references never stop in this movie, so here’s a quick primer on the important plot points from the Fast past

Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Han (Sung Kang) stand and listen to yet another plan from their Fast family in Fast X Photo: Peter Mountain/Universal Pictures
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

The latest movie in the Fast and Furious franchise, Fast X, periodically stops for quick recaps and overviews of the past nine movies. There are so many callbacks and follow-ups in this movie that it sometimes gets dizzying: Fans are meant to be quoting the MCU’s Captain America every three minutes with a jaunty “I understood that reference!” But if you haven’t revisited every Fast movie recently, you missed a few of them along the way, or you’re reserving all your brain cells to keep track of everything that’s happened in the MCU instead, you may want a primer going in so you can follow the action. Here’s a non-spoilery rundown of things to be aware of from past Fast movies before watching Fast X.

Who is Hernan Reyes again?

Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) wears a tailored suit and sits in an upholstered leather chair behind a very shiny desk in Fast Five Photo: Universal Pictures

Fast X opens with a flashback to some action in Fast Five, where Dom Toretto and crew stole a vault from Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). Why do they hate Reyes? Because he’s a notorious drug kingpin in the Fast and Furious universe, someone the Fast family ran afoul of in Brazil. After Dom and company unwittingly steal one of Reyes’ cars, which happens to have a chip with information on all Reyes’ financial crimes on it, Reyes captures and interrogates them.

That leads to Dom and friends deciding that Reyes might not be a great guy, and they decide to steal some of his money in order to make a new life for themselves. They burn the first bit of money they steal to send a message, which leads to Reyes consolidating the rest of his money inside a police station vault, which the team steals in a big, showy action sequence.

Who’s Mr. Nobody?

Mr. Nobody is the head of the shadowy government organization known only as The Agency. Mr. Nobody, played by Kurt Russell, first showed up in Furious 7. His second-in-command, codenamed Little Nobody (and played by Scott Eastwood), is the current Agency handler for Dom’s crew. He was last seen in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious.

Who does the family work for these days?

The Agency seems to be a sort of behind-the-scenes shadow op for the entire world, and a responsibility that big means they need a crew as incredible as Dom’s to get stuff done, which means sending them on missions to find and secure valuable tech, shooting their cars into space, and having them stop a nuclear submarine. Since Mr. Nobody isn’t around for Fast X, Little Nobody is in charge, but Mr. Nobody’s daughter Tess (Brie Larson) also steps in for the first time, along with acting Agency head Aimes (Alan Ritchson, who plays Jack Reacher on Amazon’s Jack Reacher series).

Who’s Cipher, and where did we leave her?

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) looks at a phone while Cipher (Charlize Theron) watches in F8: The Fate of the Furious Photo: Universal Pictures

Cipher (Charlize Theron) is a brilliant programmer and hacker, and a committed criminal. She first appeared on the Fast family’s radar in Fate of the Furious, where she kidnapped Dom’s son and his former girlfriend, Elena (Elsa Pataky), all in the process of using him to help her hijack a nuclear submarine. After that, she reappeared in F9, this time trying to kill Dom. But by the end of that movie, she formulated a clever escape.

How did Elena die?

Elena and Dom had a brief relationship while he lived in Rio, shortly after the apparent death of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). They eventually stopped seeing each other, but she’d already become pregnant with Dom’s child. Cipher killed Elena in front of Dom in Fate of the Furious.

What’s the bad blood between Deckard Shaw and Han?

The reasons for their feud are extra-complicated at the moment. On the one hand, Han (Sung Kang) helped Dom and the rest of the crew thwart Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), Deckard’s little brother. That eventually led to Owen’s incapacitation. For that, Deckard (Jason Statham) decides to take revenge on Dom and the crew, starting by supposedly murdering Han. Except (in the Fast and Furious movies’ most infamous retcon) Han didn’t actually die. So Han’s mad that Shaw tried to kill him, and Shaw’s mad that Han still (kind of? maybe?) killed his brother.

What’s up with Dom’s brother Jakob?

Jakob (John Cena, in a whoooole lot of surprisingly orange bronzer that he doesn’t wear in the last film) sits broodingly in a car in F9 Photo: Universal Pictures

Jakob (John Cena) was the villain of F9, but at this point, he’s Fast Family. Some small dialogue choices make more sense, though, if you remember his history. After a dispute that led to Dom thinking that his brother, Jakob, killed their father, he challenges Jakob to a race that more or less exiles Jakob from his life. That gives Jakob about 30 years of downtime before he reenters his brother’s life in F9, looking for revenge.

What’s the God’s Eye?

God’s Eye is a device created by Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) that first appears in Furious 7. It weaponizes every camera and microphone on the planet by using them all at once to locate someone, no matter where they are. It can pick them up using their face or voice. Given the franchise’s globe-hopping setting, God’s Eye comes in handy to conveniently let the team know the location of any good guy or bad guy they may need to find.

What’s up with that crucifix necklace?

Dom (Vin Diesel) and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) support each other with their arms around each other’s waists in Fast Five. Dom’s crucifix, not currently handed off to a member of his family for safekeeping, hangs prominently around his neck. Photo: Universal Pictures

Dom’s cross necklace has been handed back and forth a lot in the Fast and Furious movies, usually to symbolize Dom’s commitment to his family. It’s a heavily featured element of his character, and he frequently hands it to Letty or others before a significant parting, implying that it’s both a totem of symbolic protection, and a promise that he’ll see them again, to retrieve it before the next handoff.

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