When Fast and Furious brought back Brian O’Conner, played by the late Paul Walker, who sadly passed away in 2013, people had very mixed opinions. Some believed that trying to revive him through CGI and body doubles was just plain disrespectful. It may have looked like they were playing with his memory for their own selfish gain. However, many saw it as a heartfelt tribute, an attempt to honor Walker’s legacy by allowing fans one last glimpse of the beloved character.
Fast-forward to 2023 – The Fast and Furious Franchise, oh boy, where do I even start? This series has become an utter mess with its apparent “hobby” to revive beloved characters. They’re misusing their abilities, if you can even call it that, and it’s clear they’re desperate for ideas.
I mean, seriously, what were they thinking?
- Died: Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift (June 16, 2006)
- Respawned: F9 (June 25, 2021)
Remember Han, that cool and charming dude who met a tragic end in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”? Well, they just had to bring him back from the dead. How? Who knows! They didn’t even bother to explain it properly. They just threw logic out the window and expected us to go along with it. Mr. Nobody!
- Never Existed
- Spawned: F9
Dom’s long-lost brother, Jakob. Seriously? A secret brother out of nowhere? In a previous Fast and Furious movie, Mia had clearly stated that Dom is her only brother. It’s like they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for plot twists. It’s lazy storytelling at its finest.
- Looked dead: The Fate of the Furious (April 14, 2017)
- Not dead: The Fate of the Furious (April 14, 2017)
Shaw was initially portrayed as a villain in “Furious 7” (2015). Despite being seemingly killed in “The Fate of the Furious” (2017), he returns in the same movie to save… Dom’s son, never mind!
- Died: Fast and Furious (March 12, 2009)
- Respawned: Fast Five (April 29, 2011)
Letty was believed to have been killed in “Fast & Furious” (2009) but later revealed to be alive with amnesia in “Fast Five” (2011). She becomes an integral part of the team in subsequent films.
And now, Gisele
- Died: Fast & Furious 6 (May 14, 2013)
- Respawned: Fast X (May 19, 2023)
We’re still unsure whether Cipher and Letty were in Antarctica, or blissful realm, when they saw Gisele.
When did they lose the track?
The point at which the franchise arguably went “out of track” in terms of reviving characters was probably the return of Letty Ortiz in “Fast Five” (2011).
Letty’s resurrection faced mixed reactions from fans and critics alike. Now, her return did add an unexpected twist, and provided an emotional reunion for the characters. But on the other hand, it strained believability and undermined the impact of her apparent death in the 2009’s installment. The subsequent explanation of her survival, with amnesia as a plot device, felt contrived and convenient.
This revival established a pattern of bringing back characters thought to be dead or presumed dead. Surely, the concept of “retconning” is definitely not uncommon in long-running film series. The manner in which it has been utilized in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, though, has been increasingly stretching the boundaries of plausibility ever since Letty’s reincarnation.
The whole point of saying goodbye to a character is to honor their legacy and let them rest in peace. But the Fast and Furious team clearly doesn’t understand that concept. They’re more interested in milking every last drop of nostalgia from the audience, even if it means sacrificing the integrity of the story.