F9 ending explained

F9 is finally out in theaters after lengthy delay, and director Justin Lin‘s latest Fast and Furious movie helps pave the way for the final two films in The Fast Saga. Let’s take a look at what happens as the new film comes to a close.

Spoilers lie ahead. And not the ones on cars.

We’ve already discussed what happens in the mid-credits scene, when Jason Statham‘s Deckard Shaw comes face to face with Sung Kang‘s Han after seemingly killing him on the streets of Tokyo. So let’s back up a little and talk about what happens at the end of the film proper, just before the credits roll.

F9 Ending Explained

While this entire franchise has explored themes of family over the years, F9 makes that idea literal by introducing Jakob Toretto (John Cena), the estranged brother of Dominic (Vin Diesel) and Mia (Jordana Brewster). But as has happened several times already, Jakob begins the film a villain but ends it as another member of Dom’s crew – it even ends with Dom referencing that someone once gave him a “ten second car” in the original movie, and here passes that favor on to Jakob to help him escape. That person, of course, is Brian O’Conner, the undercover cop character who was played by Paul Walker before his tragic death in 2013.

One of the sources of tension in this movie is how many of these characters ostensibly want to settle down and raise families, but keep getting lured back into participating in outrageous antics. In the world of these movies, Brian O’Conner and Mia have retired from taking part in these globe-trotting, death-defying adventures in order to raise their young son, which is a smart way to account for Walker’s death. Brian is mentioned or alluded to a number of times in F9, but while Mia is effectively pulled back into the action because of her blood ties to Jakob and Dom, it’s explained that Brian is off-screen, keeping a watchful and protective eye on their son, Jack, as well as Dom and Letty’s son, whose name is also Brian, during the peak of the action.

At the end of F9, after Dom and his crew foil the nefarious plot of Cipher (Charlize Theron) and the sniveling spoiled rich boy Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen), they head back to Los Angeles to the old Toretto family home, which was blown up by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in Furious 7 and is now being rebuilt. Young Brian is poised to say grace over a group barbecue, but when Dom notices an empty seat at the outdoor table, Mia smiles and says “He’s on his way.” We then see a blue Nissan Skyline pull up into the Toretto driveway, with the implication being that the elder Brian has arrived.

Thankfully, we never actually see the character appear on screen. Instead of some hideous computer generated version of Walker, or watching the back of an awkward body double as he gets out of the car, Brian O’Conner is represented solely by his vehicle here. That seems like a fitting tribute to not only the man himself (Walker loved cars in real life), but if you want to get weird with it, it also strikes me as a wonderful way to imagine the concept of reincarnation for the characters in this franchise: in a way, Brian is the car now, and there’s something kind of beautiful about that.

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