John Cena, Sung Kang, and director Louis Leterrier on all the Fast X twists and why [SPOILER] had to die

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Fast X.

As The Fast Saga speeds into its final lap, the franchise is pulling out all of its biggest tricks and most emotional moments on the way to the finish line. Fast X packs in a double-crossing twist, multiple cliffhangers, two huge returns, and even a death in the Toretto family. 

“It’s been 20 years, almost a quarter of a century with these characters, this family,” director Louis Leterrier says on EW’s BINGE: The Fast Saga podcast. “They have done so much for so many people, and also have fought so many enemies that now people are coming back after them. They are going to have to pay the heaviest price, you know, just the heftiest price. Tears are going to be shed.”

The first major cost to Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) crew comes in the form of an epic sacrifice. After gleeful villain Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa) swipes Little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry) right off of a moving vehicle, his brother Jakob (John Cena) turns his custom cannon car into a bomb to prevent an attack on Dom and give him a chance to rescue his son. The heroic Hail Mary sees Jakob go out in a literal blaze of glory.

(from left) Little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry, back to camera) and Jakob (John Cena) in Fast X, directed Louis Leterrier.

Jakob’s death helps complete the character’s arc for Leterrier. “[I thought], what if we really leaned into this relationship with Little B and this uncle who never experienced love or hasn’t experienced love in a long time?” he tells EW. “And then that comes through via his nephew and just the awkwardness that turns into love, and [there’s] just that moment where he feels he really accepts the responsibility of being a part of this family.”

When approaching Cena, Leterrier admits he wasn’t sure at first how the actor would respond to the idea. Cena could tell. “I remember [Louis] being extremely nervous because what that signifies is something that could elicit a reaction from me,” he says. “But what he failed to realize is my perspective of every opportunity is to allow me to do the best I can with this opportunity. And that’s it. And his idea was the best. And I’m a big believer in best idea wins.”

Still, as the newest member of the family exits, an old favorite gets to make a surprise return to the land of the living: Gisele.

Fast & Furious 6 (2013) GAL GADOT as Gisele
Gal Gadot in 2013’s ‘Fast & Furious 6’



A decade earlier, Gisele (Gal Gadot) made her own sacrifice to save Han (Sung Kang) in 2013’s Fast & Furious 6. Han would eventually meet his death in 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift — in a bit of timeline trickery that’s now become central to The Fast Saga‘s lore — only for fans to learn in F9 that Han’s death had been faked by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), bringing his character back into the fold. Now it seems that both halves of the franchise’s most tragic love story have been alive the whole time. 

Kang is excited about all the possibilities it creates for the future, including potentially showcasing more intimacy in Han and Gisele’s scenes together. “What are those quiet moments when two people are missing each other? How do they change? How do you engage in conversation, and where do you find that shorthand again in a relationship? Is it distant? Is it intimate right away? Is it like becoming friends again, earning that friendship? So, there’s so much.”

It was important to Leterrier, though, to make sure Gisele was returning for a purpose. “There was no bringing back Gisele without knowing where we were taking her and what was going to happen in the next one and how involved was she going to be,” he says. “Gal was very clear with us, which was like, ‘Yeah, you know, I love it, and this is my family, but what’s the plan?’ So obviously we had to think hard, but luckily we had.”

Fast Five

The reveal that Dante Reyes has his sights set on Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs is arguably an even bigger surprise. Johnson previously said he wouldn’t return for the franchise’s ninth and tenth installments after reports of conflict between him and Diesel, but his mid-credits scene in Fast X suggests he’s had a change of heart about The Fast Saga‘s grand finale. 

“It’s a great kind of reflection on life and how movies can maybe be a teaching moment, give you opportunities to learn from your heroes,” says Kang. “Like, oh, they squashed that. What was that about? Like, I don’t even remember that. Like, what was the problem?”

Despite the return of both Gisele and Hobbs, Leterrier makes one thing clear: “Not everyone is going to come back though.”

Remember, Fast X is still just part one of the franchise’s long goodbye, and the stakes will only get higher. “At one point, this model is not going to be able to continue,” says Leterrier. “And that point is very soon.”

Listen to our full EW’s BINGE: The Fast Saga podcast episode below:

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