Anyone who’s seen even one of the ten (ten!) Fast & Furious movies can tell you that these supercharged blockbusters aren’t about cars going vroom. They’re about family, as well as the Family, the latter referring to the sprawling cast of characters that orbits around Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto. Members drift in and out on the whim of actor availability (and, occasionally, story) but the upcoming Fast 9 — which features the return of the presumed-dead fan favorite Han (Sung Kang) — is a reminder that Family is Forever.
That said, at this point the Family is so sprawling it’s easy to forget that famously memorable leading man Scott Eastwood is technically a member. Even the most fervent of Fast Fans could probably use a refresher now that we’re ten movies deep. Going into Fast 9, there are a handful of key characters whom fans should be up to date on (we’re going to leave Dom out because it feels reasonable to assume anyone buying a ticket to the ninth F&F movie knows who Vin Diesel is playing). Below, you can find some brief background on how they became a part of the Family, the role they play in it, and where they stand as the franchise’s ninth installment revs its engine.
Played by: Jordana Brewster
Relation to the Family: Biological — she’s Dom’s younger sister. She’s also the wife of Brian O’Connor, played by Paul Walker through the first seven films in the series.
Has she ever been presumed dead?: Nope, but she’s sat a couple of installments out — we haven’t seen Mia since Furious 7, in which her role was relatively minor.
Wait, if she’s in F9, who’s with her kids?: I dunno — Brian, probably? With the trailer for F9 promising the emergence of a third (!!!) Toretto sibling played by John Cena (!!!!!), it feels safe to say she needed to get back in the driver’s seat for this one.
Played by: Michelle Rodriguez
Relation to the Family: She’s an OG member, first appearing in the original The Fast & the Furious as Dom’s ride-or-die. These days the two are married and she serves as a surrogate mother to his son, Brian, introduced in F8.
Has she ever been presumed dead?: Yup. Letty dies off-screen in F4, her murder eventually being revealed as the result of an undercover op she was pulling with Brian (in exchange for Dom’s legal record being purged). She returned in F6 with amnesia, serving as part of a lethal hijacking unit the Family found themselves pitted up against. Eventually her memory began to return and she rejoined the good guys.
Played By: Tyrese Gibson
Relation to the Family: Roman’s ties go way back — he’s a childhood friend of Brian’s, first introduced in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Roman sat out for the increasingly-less-standalone Tokyo Drift (more on that later) and F4 but returned as a crucial member of the heist crew in F5. He’s stuck around — mostly talking a big game and then getting relentlessly clowned on by everyone else — ever since.
Has he ever been presumed dead?: Not yet.
Is he still the problematic friend you just barely put up with?: Yes.
Played by: Ludacris
Relation to the Family: Like Roman, Tej is an old friend of Brian’s who first appeared in 2 Fast and later joined up for Fast Five. He’s a wiz mechanic who generally serves as the crew’s tech guy and has a great love-hate dynamic with Roman.
Has he ever been presumed dead?: Nope.
This is the guy who hacks into government databases in some of these movies, right?: Yeah.
I thought he was just a mechanic?: I mean, he’s a mechanic.
Who hacks into government databases?: Yeah.
… Alright: Cool.
Does he finally smooch Roman in F9?: One can only hope.
Played by: Nathalie Emmanuel
Relation to the Family: The Fam crosses paths with Ramsey in F7. She’s the genius hacker who developed the MacGuffin of that film: the God’s Eye, a program that allows the user to hack into any camera in the world, effectively the key to creating a surveillance state.
Has she ever been presumed dead?: No.
How’s that love triangle with her, Tej, and Roman going?: It’s the strongest argument in favor of polyamory you will ever see.
Played by: Sung Kang
Relation to the Family: We first see Han as a member of the Family in F4, where he’s a member of Dom’s crew in the Dominican Republic. He’s integrated into the larger Family in F5 during the Brazil job.
Has he ever been presumed dead?: *sigh* We doing this? Okay. Yes, Han is presumed dead in both Tokyo Drift (the first Fast film in which he appears) and F6, which technically depict the same event due to the series’s slightly wonky chronology. Long story short: Tokyo Drift was originally mostly standalone in the franchise, with the only ties to the larger F&F world being a Dom cameo at the end. Han was an instant fan favorite and something of a pet project for director Justin Lin, with a version of the character having appeared in the director’s second film, Better Luck Tomorrow. Han dies in a car wreck in Tokyo Drift, hence the Dom cameo — he’s in Tokyo to pay respects to an old friend. When Lin came back to direct F4 (and 5 and 6) he brought Han with him, immediately setting up a new chronology for the franchise. It’s nowhere near as complicated as some make it out to be — it simply became clear that any F&F movie featuring Han from here on out took place before Tokyo Drift. The timelines finally converged at the end of F6, albeit with a slight retcon: new big bad Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is revealed to be the driver of the car that killed Han, an act of revenge against the Family for their defeat of his younger brother, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), in the film. F7 and everything that follows takes place post–Tokyo Drift (albeit with Dom’s trip to Tokyo being briefly depicted in the film).
Okay, gotcha: You sure?
Yeah, I’m sure. But wait, he’s back from the dead in F9?: Yeah, it’s a whole thing.
Sounds complicated: Very much so.
Can we do a new character now?: Yeah, calm down.
Played by: Lucas Black
Relation to the Family: Sean is the protagonist of Tokyo Drift. He briefly meets Dom at the end of that film, an encounter we see play out slightly more at length in F7, which is really funny because Lucas Black is ten entire years older in that scene despite it ostensibly taking place moments after Tokyo Drift.
Has he ever been presumed dead?: Nope.
If he’s back in F9 does that mean his Tokyo Drift co-star Bow Wow is also back?: Yeah, both are entire grown-ass adults now, which only further muddles the chronology of these movies.
Played by: Dame Helen Mirren
Dame Helen Mirren?!: DAME HELEN MIRREN
Relation to the Family: It’s hard to say for sure if Queenie constitutes as a Family Member as she’s yet to be invited to a cookout, but her now-consistent presence in these movies as an ally of Dom’s seems to qualify her. Queenie is the mother of Owen and Deckard Shaw, who have since made good on their villainous pasts and now serve as sometimes-reluctant allies to the Family (they have attended a cookout, which does empirically qualify them as Family). We first meet her in F8 and she returns (albeit behind bars) in Hobbs & Shaw.
Has she ever been presumed dead?: No, long live Queenie.
Do they finally let her drive in F9?: No spoilers.