It's time for one last ride (again) in the upcoming Fast X. The unstoppable Fast & Furious franchise shows no signs of slowing down as it hoves into pole position as one of 2023's premier summer blockbusters. However, there are a few wrinkles up its sleeve.
This time, things are especially personal for Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto, the one-time street racer turned expert carjacker/spy/stunt-man/all-purpose hero. With regular director Justin Lin out of the picture (he departed owing to disagreements with Diesel), Transporter veteran Louis Letterier is here to steer the next instalment of soapy family melodrama and ludicrous, physics-defying action sequences.
The first trailer for Fast X has now been revealed and these are the key points we uncovered.
1. This may actually be the end of the road for Dom and his crew
Yes, we've heard that one several times throughout the franchise. But the minute they throw in a grandmother character? That shows they're upping the main ensemble's stakes and vulnerability.
Said granny is Dom's and is played by West Side Story icon Rita Moreno. She's hosting a barbeque for all the main players including Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Tej (Ludacris) Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sung Kang), Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel). There's also the presence of Dom's no-longer-an-infant son, first introduced in Fast and Furious 8 – little wonder the carjacker confesses to being "afraid of losing someone I love".
It's a straightforward way of fleshing out Dom, allowing us to invest more in his family history and backstory before things go kaboom in a potentially tragic manner. Let's not forget, it's all about [adopts gravelly voice] FAMILY.
2. Jason Momoa's villain is a retcon of Fast Five
Just to be clear, 'retcon' means a retrospective reworking of an earlier movie. In the Fast X trailer, we're taken back to the events of Fast Five's (2011) pivotal Rio de Janeiro bank heist, which Dom and his former partner Brian O'Conner (the late Paul Walker) spearheaded.
They and the rest of the team were compelled to lift an entire safe and drag it through the bustling Brazilian streets, no doubt killing countless scores of civilians and cops along the way. It was the catalyst for the uneasy truce between Dom and then franchise newcomer Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) who realised that Dom was being coerced by the villains, as opposed to being the villain himself.
So, where does Jason Momoa's brawny Dante step in? We see him standing amidst the wreckage of the bank vault, glaring at Dom and Brian as they speed away. Was he planning his own heist, only for them to get there first? No – according to at least one report, Dante is "the son of [Fast Five villain] drug kingpin Hernan Reyes who is seeking revenge against Dom and his crew".
Reyes was played by veteran Mexican actor Joaquim de Almeida. He was executed by Hobbs as a retaliatory move for the death of his own men. Ordinarily, we'd expect to see his son Dante gunning for Johnson's character but given the latter has awkwardly side-stepping the Fast & Furious legacy movies (owing to a dispute with Vin Diesel during the making of Fast & Furious 8), they've clearly transposed the revenge plot onto Dom.
3. Momoa describes his character as a "peacock"
Albeit one with more than simply impressive feathers in his arsenal. The vengeful Dante has enough resources to set off a huge explosion in the middle of Rome (one of several eye-catching set-pieces in Fast X), and he's clearly signalling to Dom that he means business.
Momoa describes his character as "very sadistic and androgynous… He's got a lot of issues, this guy. He's definitely got some daddy issues". It's currently unclear how Momoa connects the franchise's other other big bad, the incarcerated cyber-terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) who first emerged in Fast & Furious 8 holding Dom's child hostage. Cipher appears at the end of the Fast X trailer, battling Lettie hand to hand and allowing Theron to tap into those Atomic Blonde fighting skills once again.
Either way, Dante's purely explosive rage appears to have the effect of drawing Dom's former enemies over to his side. This includes the latter's brother Jakob (John Cena), who made his franchise debut in Furious 9 (2021), Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), last seen in Fast & Furious 8, and Deckard's mother Queenie (Helen Mirren).
In fact, Deckard's appearance in the trailer is particularly noteworthy, given he's seen talking to Han, the man he apparently killed in Fast & Furious 6. Han was later restored to life via Hollywood magic in Furious 7, so we can't wait to see the frosty chemistry on-screen between these two characters.
Will the combined forces of these ex-villains and Dom's team be enough to stop Dante and Cipher?
4. Brie Larson is one of the goodies (we think?)
The Captain Marvel star is bossing the franchise landscape at the moment, vacillating between Marvel Studios and Universal's meal-ticket Fast & Furious series. (The same could be said of Jason Momoa as he hops between this and DC's Aquaman series.) According to a recent report from Digital Spy, Larson is playing Tess, an accomplice of Kurt Russell's Mr. Nobody who was last seen in Furious 9.
Given that Mr. Nobody was on Dom's side (albeit reluctantly, having coerced Dom into world-saving in Furious 7), we'd imagine that Tess is also aligned with Vin Diesel's character. Certainly, she seems to understand the gravity of Dante's threat and is on course to warn Dom about what he's confronting.
5. It all comes full circle back to the street-racing
The past is clearly an active, breathing entity in Furious X. Not content with resurrecting the events of Fast Five, director Louis Leterrier and screenwriters Justin Lin and Dan Mazeau drop additional extra nostalgia fuel into the tank.
This occurs when Dom and Dante go head to head, not in a fight or aboard an exploding helicopter, but in the kind of street race that helped kick this franchise off back in 2001. The street-racing stylistics defined not only The Fast and The Furious but also 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), bizarrely a favourite of Christopher Nolan, and the movie that introduced Han.
The reintroduction of racing is perhaps the most explicit way of showing Dom reckoning with his past. Poignantly, he won't have Brian O'Conner by his side (will they digitally alter Paul Walker for certain shots in the flashback sequences), but Dom has now got more drive and determination to win than ever. After all, it's more than just pride awaiting him at the chequered flag. It's about the survival of his entire [gravelly voice again] FAMILY.
Fast X is unleashed at Cineworld on May 19th. Check out the trailer again and tweet us what you spotted @Cineworld.