Moments in Fate of the Furious only true fans appreciated

The seemingly unstoppable The Fast and the Furious series hurtles on, growing exponentially in the past 16 years from a $40 million standalone B-movie about drag racing to a massive, box office-destroying behemoth with two Oscar winners attached and its eighth (!) installment currently in theaters.

With two more movies on the way, The Fate Of The Furious (aka Fast 8, aka The Fast And The Furious 8, aka Soon We Will Overtake Friday The 13th) is primarily concerned with setting up a brand new trilogy without series stalwart Paul Walker. As a result, there aren't as many nods to previous installments as in, say, Fast 7.

But that doesn't mean this flick is reference-free serious art. It's still the speediest, angriest movie series we have. Here are ten moments only true fans understood in The Fate Of The Furious.

Dom's cross is a major plot point

Dom's gaudy silver cross has been a feature of the series since its very first installment way back in 2001. Hell, Toretto even used it as a makeshift wedding ring when he married Letty (as we learned in Fast 7), and also to jog her memory in Fast 6.

In Fate, the necklace really comes into its own as a full-fledged character when Dom implants a tracker in it to help locate him aboard Cipher's jet. He also happens to leave it with previous paramour Elena (who is also Dom's baby mama), whom he got the cross back from in Fast 5, referencing their prior relationship and how the two met.

The little sting of the original theme

Rob Cohen's original The Fast And The Furious has aged remarkably well over the years, not least because of its killer soundtrack, which featured the likes of Limp Bizkit's Rollin (totally on brand) and a sweet little makeshift theme for its burgeoning crew of drag-racing adrenaline junkies.

It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but that familiar Fast And Furious musical sting, from the very first movie, shows up for a brief re-airing in Fate. Aside from being a cool little nod for fans, it's also, alongside the gnarly Cuban drag race that opens the film, a reference to the series' humble beginnings.

Cipher's line about Dom's freedom

If there's one thing the Fast and Furious series is concerned with–aside from racing fast cars in places they probably shouldn't be raced–it's FAMILEH. Except, as Charlize Theron's baddie Cipher gleefully points out to Dom, there's actually something more important in his life: that sense of freedom he gets, between start and finish, when he's behind the wheel of a car.

This line, aside from dismantling Dom's cool exterior and letting us in on the fact that Cipher knows more about him than he realizes, is a direct reference to The Fast And The Furious, in which Dom discusses that feeling of freedom both during the movie itself and in its weird post-credits sequence in Mexico.

Owen's line about planes

Luke Evans' Owen Shaw is a welcome return to the Fast franchise, particularly as he spent Fast 7 comatose in a hospital bed while his bro, Deckard (Jason Statham) promised, in that familiar, gravelly-tongued Cockney drawl of his, to avenge him no matter the cost.

Although Owen only makes a brief appearance in Fate, his exchange with Deckard about Owen's lack of luck on planes and that grave look Owen gives before the two head inside to take care of Cipher is a blatant callback to Fast 6, when he was thrown out of a moving plane and presumed dead only to pop up again teasingly at the beginning of the next movie.

Tego and Rico's cameos

Tego Leo and Rico Santos are Fast and Furious mainstays and bonafide MVPs, having appeared in Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast 6, along with spinoff short Los Bandoleros. Previous members of Dom and Letty's crew, they even aided in springing Toretto from prison, earning his lifelong respect and trust.

Their inclusion in Fate, bickering over who will drive the ambulance/getaway car housing Deckard Shaw and his mother, is pure, unadulterated fan service–and it works like gangbusters. It would take a heart of stone not to break into a smile upon seeing these two again. Their shared cameo is arguably the best in a film loaded with great ones.

Hobbs taking a break

When Fate is winding down–at a family barbecue, where else?–Kurt Russell's Agent Nobody shows up to offer The Rock's disgraced Agent Hobbs his old position back. After considering it for a moment, Hobbs takes a look sideways at his adorable, hopeful daughter and decides he needs a break.

His line about finally doing so after 16 years of working could reasonably be taken as a reference to how long the Fast and Furious franchise has been running. Although rumblings about Rock and Vin Diesel not getting along offset abound, there's no suggestion that he's about to step away from the franchise for real. But if he does, this is our warning.

Dom and Elena's baby name

Although the idea that a father has to be the one to name his son (what?) is completely ludicrous, once Elena suggested it to Dom, fans knew to expect one name and one name only: that of Toretto's sadly departed brother in arms, Brian O'Connor. And, indeed, that's what Baby Toretto is called.

Although this is a sweet nod to the deceased Paul Walker, surely naming the kid Paul would make more sense, since, as per Fate itself, Brian O'Connor the character is still very much alive in the universe of these movies. Or, as super-angry fans on Twitter are wont to point out, Dom really should have called his son Vince to honor an actually-dead-in-the-movies lifelong pal who did the same for him previously.

Helen Mirren's awesome cameo

Fate boasts two Oscar winners among its already packed roster in the form of Theron and Dame Helen Mirren, who has an absolute ball in her cameo as the matriarch of the Shaw family. Sipping a cuppa and adopting an EastEnders drawl to match The Stath's, Mirren is a formidable presence, tricking her grown son with crocodile tears and even making Dom Toretto cower in her presence.

Fans will be extra pumped to see Mirren, however, as they've known for quite some time that she petitioned Diesel to write her into the series. Once that information got out, it was a pretty easy connect-the-dots to guess who Mirren would be playing. The fact that they were proven right is just the icing on the cake. Or the slice of lemon in the Corona, rather.

Dom driving onto Cipher's plane

After reluctantly agreeing to work for Cipher, Dom drives his car onto a runway and into the plane she and her team will absolutely not leave for the rest of the movie. Aside from being a pretty badass shot (and yet another cool moment for Dom as a character and for Vin Diesel as an actor), this is another sly wink to the series at large.

In Fast 6, Owen tries to escape Toretto by having his own plane pulled onto the runway of the army base they're both on and driving his car into the cargo hold. Although this doesn't work out so well for Owen, it's a cool reference for Fate that sets up his later exchange with Deckard aboard that very same jet.

Dom's Ice Charger

Dom's iconic Dodge Charger is a series staple, having shown up originally (and most memorably) in The Fast And The Furious and making an appearance in virtually every Diesel-starring installment since. Although the Charger in Fate isn't his Dad's Charger (which was sadly destroyed in Furious 7), the impact of seeing the iconic vehicle isn't dulled at all.

Of course, it's not about the car. It's about who's behind the wheel, as Dom himself would attest. But even so, there's still something so undeniably cool about the shot of his newly souped-up Ice Charger storming across the ice, as he rejoins his family to lead them triumphantly once more. It's an instantly iconic image that will go down as one of the best in Fast and Furious history. The only problem now is how the production team is going to top it for the next movie.