Long gone are the days when the Fast & Furious films were about stealing DVD players and racing along quarter-mile stretches of road for pink slips. The bad guys of the early Fast sequels were drug lords and organized crime leaders, but as of 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, the franchise now favors global-thinking villains, like Charlize Theron’s cyberterrorist, Cipher, who just wants to incite a nuclear war.
In Hobbs & Shaw, the ninth film in the franchise and the first spin-off, the Fast films have introduced a literal supervillain in Idris Elba’s Brixton, a former British soldier who’s more machine than man after receiving a host of impressive technological upgrades. Brixton spends most of Hobbs & Shaw in pursuit of Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), hoping to get his hands on the supervirus housed within her that could bring an end to all human life on earth.
But as we see in several scenes throughout Hobbs & Shaw, Brixton is not the architect of his own master plan. Someone behind the scenes is pulling his strings, appearing in the film in the form of bright-orange sound waves and a low, digitally modified voice. This disembodied voice gives Brixton — along with a facility full of other technicians and technologically enhanced henchmen dedicated to the same destructive cause — all of their orders and plans throughout the film, and appears to be the mastermind behind the entire operation. Further, the owner of the voice seems to have a personal connection to Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), mentioning their meeting several times.
While we never learn whose altered voice we’re hearing in Hobbs & Shaw, it seems like too big a mystery to leave up in the air, meaning we’ll probably get a definitive answer in Fast 9 or Fast 10. In the meantime, we’ve got a number of guesses as to who it could be, ranging from the highly probable to the really, really far-fetched. Let’s start at the bottom of our list of candidates and work our way to the top.
7. The Voice is Braga
Mexican drug lord Braga (John Ortiz) was the primary antagonist of 2009’s Fast & Furious, and a secondary antagonist in Fast & Furious 6, making him the only bad guy to appear in multiple Fast films as a villain (while other antagonists have returned, they tend to come back as heroes). We last saw him in prison, but who knows, he could be out now. However, while Braga was certainly sinister, he never quite seemed to be operating on the scale of the Voice, and certainly didn’t seem to have the resources we see Brixton employing in Hobbs & Shaw. Plus, Braga doesn’t have any ties to Hobbs (that we know of), making him an unlikely candidate.
6. The Voice is Monica Fuentes
Eva Mendes’s U.S. Customs Agent from 2 Fast 2 Furious hasn’t been seen since her brief appearance at the end of Fast Five (when she met with Hobbs, establishing their connection), and the franchise has never even hinted that she could be secretly villainous. But! Her apparent innocence would only make it that much more surprising when she’s revealed to have been an evil mastermind all along! No one will see it coming!
5. The Voice is Owen Shaw
In a film that heavily focused on two of the three Shaw siblings, the third was conspicuously absent from Hobbs & Shaw. Owen (Luke Evans) was the villain of Fast & Furious 6, but like his brother, Deckard, he found redemption in The Fate of the Furious, helping rescue Dom’s infant son from Cipher. However, just because he did a good thing doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a good guy. Perhaps the reason Shaw never spoke of his brother in Hobbs & Shaw was because something happened after the end of Fate to drive a wedge between them. And perhaps the reason that the Voice wanted Hobbs and Shaw turned, not killed, was because of their family bond.
4. The Voice is John Cena
We’ve known for a while that John Cena is joining the Fast family for Fast 9, and the franchise does have a tendency to bring in big-name actors as antagonists in their first outing. It was true for both Hobbs and Shaw (Jason Statham), who opposed Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the Fast crew in Fast Five and Furious 7, respectively. The downside to Cena being the Voice is, of course, that we haven’t met his character before, which could make his reveal feel less satisfying.
3. The Voice is Dark Han
This one’s weird, but hear me out. Yes, Han (Sung Kang) died (twice, ugh). But … what if he didn’t? Brixton’s origin story was that Shaw shot him in the head, killing him, but he was then brought back using advanced technology, making him into a sort of cyborg. He also told Shaw that he was no longer the person he was before, and that his soul was destroyed when he was given his new body. What if the same thing happened to Han after his car exploded? Perhaps he was pulled from the wreckage, barely clinging to life, and given some sparkly new mechanical upgrades. But he tragically lost himself in the process, and now our beloved Han is bent on revenge. The writer of Hobbs & Shaw has said that “justice for Han” is on its way, and this sure would be an interesting way for that justice to come about. I hate this idea, but I also love it.
2. The Voice is Mr. Nobody
Kurt Russell first appeared as the mysterious government agent Mr. Nobody in Furious 7, when he offered to help Dom find Deckard Shaw in exchange for Dom’s assistance locating a powerful hacking device known as the God’s Eye. Mr. Nobody has been shown to be extremely powerful, greasing the wheels of the law when needed and having practically unlimited resources. While he’s always been seen as an ally to Dom and his crew, he’s definitely in a position to pull together an operation like Brixton’s. Revealing him as the big bad of the franchise would definitely provide a shocking twist as the Fast films race toward their conclusion.
1. The Voice is Cipher
The obvious frontrunner for the Voice, Cipher has already been shown to have world-ending ambitions, was revealed to have been pulling the strings of other villains in the past, and is still at large after the events of Fate of the Furious. True, she never seemed to have much of a connection to Hobbs, but who knows, she may just remember him — as we all do — as the guy who threw a torpedo. She’s also got a wide network of henchmen, and is extremely well-organized. Plus, Theron has already been confirmed for Fast 9. While it wouldn’t be particularly surprising if Cipher turned out to be the Voice, it makes so much sense that it would be shocking if it’s not her.