Here’s how to experience the entire Universal Pictures franchise, one quarter mile at a time.
With the release of Hobbs & Shaw, the world of Universal Pictures’ Fast & the Furious franchise is expanding like never before. The team-up spinoff feature unites Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s unstoppable lawman Luke Hobbs with Jason Statham’s unscrupulous mercenary Deckard Shaw for an adventure that promises high octane thrills in exotic locales. Don’t fret, though, if you haven’t seen all eight previous big screen installments. Although there is certainly continuity between each chapter, it’s a franchise that is very welcoming to newcomers, even if the continuity does seem a little confusing at times. If you’re looking to get behind the wheel for a serious drive through the F&F cinematic universe, however, here’s Moviebill’s guide to the *entire* story, which is a whole lot bigger than you may think! Please be aware that spoilers for previous films follow.
1. The Fast & the Furious (2001)
Directed by Rob Cohen, the original F&F introduces Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner as an undercover LAPD officer. Tasked with bringing down a group of professional car thieves (which includes Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and his girlfriend, Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Ortiz), Brian finds himself charmed by a hidden world of illegal street racing and by Toretto’s sister, Mia (Jordan Brewster), to the point that he ultimately allows Toretto to evade the law, himself becoming a fugitive as a result.
2. The Turbo Charged Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
If you’re marathoning the full franchise, don’t forget to include this six-minute short film from music video director Philip G. Atwell. Originally released as a bonus feature for a DVD reissue of the first film, the short has been included on all subsequent DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD releases of the first two films. Picking up at the end of The Fast & the Furious, the story follows Brian as he goes on the run, heading from Los Angeles to Miami.
3. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2004)
Directed by John Singleton, 2 Fast 2 Furious begins with Brian being apprehended in Miami. Instead of going to prison, however, he’s given the opportunity to wipe his record clean by taking down a dangerous drug lord. Carter Verone (Cole Hauser). Although Walker is the only cast member from the first film to reprise his role, 2 Fast introduces a new bunch of characters, including Tyrese Gibson’s loudmouthed Roman Pearce, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges’ tech expert Tej and Eva Mendes’ Monica Fuentes, an undercover US customs agent working to bring down Verone.
4. Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)
Perhaps the most peculiar entry on this list, director Justin Lin’s debut indie feature didn’t start off as a F&F film at all. A high school coming of age drama about the Asian American experience, Better Luck Tomorrow includes in its ensemble Sung Kang as a young ne’er do well named Han Lue. When Lin joined the F&F franchise with Tokyo Drift in 2006, he brought Kang along with him. Although he’s only ever credited under the alias Han Seoul-Oh, both Kang and Lin consider him to be the same Han. If you like the idea of retroactively adding a movie to the franchise, get excited. It happens again in Hobbs & Shaw with a completely different movie!
5. Los Bandoleros (2009)
Although he was initially reluctant to return to the franchise, Diesel wound up reprising his Toretto role for a post credit sequence in the third film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Bizarrely, though, films four through six all take place prior to that one and are preceded by this, a second F&F short film that Disesel himself directed. Set in the Dominican Republic, the story finds Dom and Han teaming up to break their friend, Leo Tego (Tego Calderón) out of prison. Running 20 minutes long, Los Bandoleros also features an appearance by Letty and can be found on home entertainment releases of Fast & Furious.
6. Fast & Furious (2009)
When Mia tells him that Letty has been murdered, Dom returns to Los Angeles to seek revenge. He winds up again crossing paths with Brian, who is now working with the FBI to bring down a violent drug lord, Arturo Braga (John Ortiz). Han also returns for this chapter (also directed by Lin) and even gets a romantic interest with Braga’s liaison, Gisele Yashar (Gal Gadot).
7. Fast Five (2011)
The Avengers of the Fast and Furious cinematic universe, Lin’s Fast Five brings back characters from throughout the franchise for an international heist that has Dom and his crew going toe to toe with a Diplomatic Security Service agent who will himself become a vital component of the series: Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs. Also added to the series ensemble is Hobbs’ partner, Agent Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky), who winds up in a relationship with Dom.
8. Fast & Furious: Showdown (2013)
There are few different video games based on the franchise, but only 2013’s Showdown offers an original story, set between the fifth and sixth films. The game begins with Agent Fuentes (voiced by Roxana Ortega) and her investigation of an international crime syndicate.
9. Furious 6 (2013)
Bizarrely marketed as Fast & Furious 6 despite having a Furious 6 title card in the actual film, Lin’s fourth big screen entry in the franchise begins with Dom dealing with the shocking revelation that Letty is still alive. Working alongside Hobbs, Dom and his crew discover that she is suffering from amnesia and now working with a group of deadly mercenaries led by Luke Evans’ Owen Shaw. Although the team manages to stop Shaw and rescue Letty, there is a heavy cost when Gisele sacrifices herself to save Han. Distraught, Han heads to Tokyo even as Shaw’s brother (Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw) swears revenge.
10. Fast & Furious: Supercharged (2015)
This one isn’t a feature, a short or a video game. It’s a theme park ride! Although the continuity is a little iffy, Supercharged plays almost parallel to Furious 6, pitting Dom, Letty, Roman and Hobbs against Owen Shaw with all of the actors reprising their respective roles. Although it’s also at Universal Studios Hollywood, the Orlando resort version of the ride boasts a preshow that also includes a segment featuring Mia and Tej.
11. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Even though it was the first chapter that he helmed, Lin’s Tokyo Drift takes place after the director’s fourth. The storyline follows Lucas Black’s Sean Boswell, a high school kid who moves to Tokyo and who becomes involved in the late night world of drift racing. Although Han meets his fate, the reveal that his killer was actually Deckard Shaw doesn’t happen until the post credits of Furious 6.
12. Furious 7 (2015)
With the franchise having finally caught up to Tokyo Drift, The Conjuring and Aquaman helmer James Wan takes the director’s chair for an ensemble adventure that pits Dom and his crew against Statham’s revenge obsessed Deckard Shaw. Although it tragically marks Paul Walker’s final appearance in the franchise, Furious 7 does offer some new recruits. Namely, Nathalie Emmanuel’s expert hacker Ramsey and Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody, the head of a covert ops team who aides the heroes in their now global escapades.
13. The Fate of the Furious (2017)
Charlize Theron makes her debut as Cipher, a cyberterrorist who kidnapped Neves after learning that she had a secret child with Dom. Forcing Dom to work for her, Cipher ultimately kills Neves, but her plans to unleash nuclear terror are thwarted by our regular heroes, this time working on the same side as Deckard Shaw.
Of course, it’s not likely that the F&F franchise will be revving down its engine anytime soon. Not only does Hobbs and Shaw pave the way for additional spinoff movies, a ninth Fast and Furious is set to hit in 2020 with Lin returning to direct his fifth franchise entry. What’s more, Netflix is preparing to debut an animated series, Fast & Furious: Spy Racers, that will center on Dom’s never before mentioned cousin, Tony Toretto.
The relationship between Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw is the kind of hate you can’t help but love.
When Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson joined the Fast & the Furious franchise in 2011's with Fast Five, his unstoppable lawman Luke Hobbs became an instant fan favorite. After returning for three more sequels (and helping to push the series' worldwide box office over $5 billion), it's finally time for Hobbs to get his own movie -- even if he has to share it with Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw.
“I’ve always been happy with [Hobbs'] trajectory over the past four films,” says Johnson. “Creatively though, I felt we would have to eventually spin him off to delve into his life and his family background to see what makes him tick, what makes him succeed and how he handles the failures. To do that is always the challenge when you have a such a big cast, like Fast and Furious has, and I really did want to give this character his due.”
Although plans had been in the works to give Hobbs his own movie since 2011, it was the epic Hobbs and Shaw fight in 2015's Furious 7 that brought about the idea of teaming up both characters for a spinoff.
“The Fast franchise is more of an action-drama,” Johnson continues. “It’s big; it’s fun; it’s exciting. With Hobbs & Shaw, we’re still in the Fast world, but the premise allows us to pivot creatively into the action-comedy realm, which works on every level... Once filming began on The Fate of the Furious, Jason and I settled into this easy rhythm. Not only did we start to breathe this cool energy into our scenes, but there was a unique chemistry that just started to build between us. It was something that we recognized immediately, but we weren’t the only ones. I remember pulling Hiram and Chris Morgan aside and they agreed. Hobbs and Shaw are two alphas who, even if there is a sliver of common respect between them, hate each other, and that often can be the best impetus in a film.”
Hobbs and Shaw also features the return of screenwriter Chris Morgan, who has scripted every Fast movie since Tokyo Drift in 2006.
"My collaboration with each of these great directors and the incredible cast of actors has been the most fun aspect about all the films,” says the scribe. “On [the potential Hobbs spin-off film], Dwayne, [producer] Hiram Garcia and I just jumped in and started bouncing around the types of things Hobbs would do and wouldn’t do. We ended up laughing and having so much fun, and I think that comes across on the screen. That’s why this character is so fun to watch, because there’s joy behind everything that we make them do.”
“There’s a natural chemistry between Dwayne and Jason that translates wonderfully on screen,” Garcia explains. “The minute you put them in front of the camera it’s instant entertainment with the way they go at each other. Their true personalities and friendship shine through in these over-the-top characters. Thanks to that we made sure to create opportunities for them to push each other’s buttons in ways that they actually would in real life.”
Bigger than life characters like Hobbs and Shaw also offered a chance to go big with untold backstories.
“We finally get to learn a lot more about Shaw,” says Statham. “I’ve always regarded him as a guy who has very strong principles. His morals are firm and respectable, and he takes care of the family no matter what. Shaw is the guy who goes to any lengths to do the right thing for his sister and tries to heal the family rift. His ‘bad guy’ label is misplaced.”
That’s why Hobbs & Shaw introduces a brand new villain whose “bad guy” label is very much aptly applied: Idris Elba’s cybernetically enhanced master criminal Brixton Lorr.
“Brixton is hands down the toughest antagonist that any of our heroes in Fast has gone up against because he has been specifically designed to be unstoppable,” says Morgan. “He is superior in every way, but what makes him really dangerous is that he genuinely believes in the cause that he is serving. He’s not going to give up; he’s not motivated by money or power. There’s no way to convince him he’s wrong. He’s a believer, and, unfortunately for Hobbs and Shaw, they are set on a collision course with him.”
“Brixton certainly is appreciative of his enhancements and who he is now,” says Elba. “He brags that he’s a better version of himself. But he’s still in there. His personality is intact, and he’s very much a warped man whose been through a lot. There’s a darkness behind his eyes that reflects all of that. As with all experiments, he’s a bit of an anomaly and very scary because of his capabilities. He wants what he wants and will stop at nothing to get it.”
Of course, family has always been a central theme of the Fast & Furious films and that still very much applies in Hobbs & Shaw. The film brings back Helen Mirren as Shaw’s mother, Queenie, and introduces Vanessa Kirby as his sister, a rogue MI6 agent named Hattie.
“The Shaws are an East End family, which means the family unit is very, very important,” Mirren explains. “The family is the strongest unit, and you’re bound by loyalty. It is a bit of ‘us-against-the-rest-of-the-world’ with the Shaws. Very often you find that with families that come out of poorer or working-class situations. Your first loyalty is to your family.”
“What I love about [David Leitch’s] vision is that he has always been adamant that Hattie is as strong and tough as Hobbs and Shaw, and that she was as much of a fighter,” adds Kirby. “She doesn’t need saving; she joins the guys as equals. I think it’s important for young girls in the audience to see women can save the world, too. So, I felt that was my responsibility, to give Hattie that added toughness.”
Hobbs’ family also gets a significant expansion when the film’s action moves to Hawaii where audiences get to meet his mother (Lori Tuisano) and several siblings (played by Cliff Curtis, John Tui, Josh Mauga and Joe “Roman Reigns” Anoa’i).
“Twenty-five years before this film takes place, Luke Hobbs made the strong choice to put his father away in jail because he was getting the family involved in criminal activity,” Curtis explains. “Jonah believes it was an unforgivable act, and when Luke not only comes home after being away for 25 years, but comes home with a big problem, it creates tension between the brothers. Within 24 hours, the brothers need to resolve the conflict between them, so they can work together to save the world.”