Not every movie ending needs explaining, but judging from the theater-wide “Whaaaaa?” noises and subsequent buzz of baffled conversation that greeted the end of Fast X in the screening where I saw it, Vin Diesel’s latest Fast and Furious sequel might demand a little more investigation than the average explosive action movie.
Buckle in and we’ll try to figure it out together, starting with the post-credits scene, then backing up to the movie’s final mystifying shot.
[Ed. note: End spoilers for Fast X ahead, obviously.]
What happens in Fast X’s post-credit scene?
Remember the big, loud public feud between Fast and Furious franchise star Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, where Johnson said he was never coming back to the series, and Diesel kinda tried to publicly guilt him into returning, and Johnson said that was a jerk move, and that there was “no chance” he’d come back? Welp, he came back. His Fast and Furious character Luke Hobbs shows up in a post-credits cameo that makes it clear he’s on the hook for Fast XI, or Fast X: Part Two, or whatever the next movie in the series is ultimately called. (I’m hoping for Fast XX, so the rumored third part of this finale arc can be Fast XXX, which will both cheekily link the Fast and Furious franchise to Vin Diesel’s short-lived XXX movie series, and seriously mess with the Google rankings of pornographers who thought they’d have a field day with Fast X.)
The clip actually comes mid-credits — there’s no very-end-of-the-credits clip, so after Hobbs shows up, you can head home. The Hobbs scene has that “shot much later than everything else in the movie, on an unrelated set thrown together at the last minute” vibe that’s familiar from retrofitted-after-the-fact movies like Snakes on a Plane and Joss Whedon’s Justice League. In the scene, Hobbs follows some sort of law-enforcement lead to an abandoned warehouse-ish space.
There, Fast X villain Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa) has set up a bunch of monitors to show Hobbs some clips from past Fast and Furious movies. While Dante has spent the entire movie up until that point torturing Dom Toretto (Diesel) by targeting his Fast family for killing Dante’s dad, Hernan Reyes, in Fast Five, his video clips are a reminder that while Dom and co. took Reyes down, Hobbs actually fired the bullet that killed him.
Why is a State Department agent of the Diplomatic Security Service casually murdering criminals in public in broad daylight? Because in Fast Five, Reyes had Hobbs’ men killed. When Hobbs shoots Reyes (without even looking at him, which is even colder than a cool guy not looking back at an explosion behind him), he snarls, “That’s for my team, you sonovabitch.” That’s why, Dante says, Hobbs is up next on the “torment, then kill” revenge list. “Well, I ain’t hard to find, you sumbitch,” Hobbs growls in response. Expect him to be even less hard to find in Fast XX, or whatever it is.
So are Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel friends now?
Unclear, given all the tension between them in the media for the past several years — but since half of Fast X’s cast spends the movie scattered across the globe, there’s no reason Hobbs needs to actually meet up with Dom in Fast X: Part Two: The X-Ening, at least not until the series-ending faaaamily barbecue.
How does Fast X end?
So after the Vatican almost explodes during one of Fast X’s biggest action sequences, Dom’s wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is blamed, captured by the Italian police, and sent to Super Duper Extra Fantasy Jail. (Seriously, the Agency appears to have designed this place out of giant interlocking onyx boulders that move around on independant gimbels. The floating superhero containment system in the Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn’t this space-age and stylized.)
When Letty tries to escape, after violently refusing the help of previous Fast and Furious villain Cipher (Charlize Theron), she pops out of a hatch and finds out she’s in the frozen wastelands of Antarctica, with no sign of civilization on the snowy horizon. It becomes clear that while she really wanted to beat Cipher bloody and leave her alone in Antarctica, she’s going to have to accept her help and cooperate with her.
Which is a good thing, because Cipher sent for help. Lo and behold, what should suddenly appear but a submarine, breaking through the ice! And who’s popping out of that submarine to say hi? Wait, isn’t she dead? Does anybody ever die permanently in the Fast and Furious movies?
Who’s in the submarine at the end of Fast X?
Fast fans may remember that Gisele (Gal Gadot), an Agency operator who worked for Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell, who doesn’t appear in Fast X, but is teased enough that he seems likely to resurface in Fast Xer), died back in 2013. She fell dramatically to her death in order to save the life of her love interest Han (Sung Kang) in the big action climax of Fast & Furious 6. Except clearly she didn’t die after all, because she’s back again, and now… working with Cipher, apparently?
In retrospect, going back and looking at that Fast & Furious 6 scene, this isn’t the worst Fast & Furious death retcon — Gisele voluntarily lets herself drop off a moving car during a high-speed chase, but she falls into uncertain darkness. And while it sure seems like she’d splatter on the tarmac of the airport where the scene’s taking place, we also don’t see anything to indicate she didn’t just land on a conveniently placed pillow. Also, as of Fast X, we know the Agency has some really ridiculously high-tech laser-robot-spider healing devices that might have patched her up if that pillow wasn’t there for her.
The “working with a previous Fast and Furious villain” thing isn’t so improbable either, since it’s one of the hallmarks of the Fast series. As acting Agency head Aimes (Alan Ritchson) complains in Fast X, Dom’s faaaamily is kind of a cult, and they just keep converting old villains into new family members, at least when they don’t kill those villains. (Does this mean Dante will eventually be bringing his pastel fingernail polish, open-chest silk shirts, and shiny vinyl pants to a Fast family barbecue, once he gets absorbed into the cult? We can only hope so, just to see what Dom’s Abuelita (Rita Moreno) has to say about it.)
As for the obvious questions: How exactly did Gisele survive her apparent death in Fast & Furious 6? Who’s she actually working for now? Is that somehow the same stolen nuclear submarine that the Fast family saved in The Fate of the Furious, back in 2017, even though that submarine blew the hell up at the end of the movie? Is this a universe where even a submarine can’t die permanently? Those are all questions that will have to wait for Fast X2: X-Men United, coming eventually to a theater near you.