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Why Dom's Necklace In Fast And Furious 9 Is More Important Than You Realize

Between the welcome return of Mia Toretto, the arrival of her estranged villainous brother (John Cena's Jakob), and the bombshell resurrection of Han Lue, the Fast and Furious 9 trailer promised big things for the action franchise soon to hit the big two-zero. But once you get past all the heart-stopping sequences and jaw-dropping reveals, it's easier to see what — or who — is really driving the film. It may be less flashy, but it's equally compelling: the theme of family. The bonds we forge, whether by blood or friendship, is a concept that has followed the street-racing-turned-action-fantasy franchise across continents and genres, and through a revolving door of Dodge Chargers and ensemble members. F9 director Justin Lin even admitted that getting the chance to explore the saga's theme of family differently played a role in his decision to come back to the franchise.

So with family established as the ninth Fast film's focus, it makes sense that the trailer would begin with a moment centering on Dom Toretto's (Vin Diesel) necklace. The silver cross pendant made its very first appearance in 2001's The Fast and the Furious, alongside Dom's signature black sleeveless T-shirt. Since then, it has appeared everywhere from the rearview mirror of Letty's (Michelle Rodriguez) car to a baby strapped to Deckard Shaw's (Jason Statham) chest.

In the opening scene of the F9 trailer, we see Letty remove the piece of jewelry from her neck and hand it over to Dom's son. This passing of the cross necklace between the two most important people in Dom's life proves there's no greater symbol of family in the Fast franchise. Yet, it may also be a key to unlocking at least one of Fast and Furious 9's most shocking twists.

Here's why and how Dom's necklace became so significant in the Fast and Furious universe.

The necklace is a literal and metophorical form of protection

In the F9 trailer, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) tells Dom's young son Brian that the gem-speckled silver cross is both "special" and a form "of protection." While plenty of movie necklaces have fit that mold, this one has really earned its titles.

After the Toretto crew successfully execute their fuel tanker heist in 2009's Fast & Furious, everyone partakes in their usual post-job celebration. But in another "as usual" development, the police have found out their whereabouts, and now they're coming for them. Dom (Vin Diesel) learns this, and to protect Letty, he disappears. He doesn't leave her empty-handed, though. On her bedside table are stacks of cash, and wrapped around one is Dom's necklace. It's a message that his money will keep her safe, even if he can't be there physically to do it himself.

Later on in the Fast timeline, the necklace goes from a metaphorical form of protection to a literal one. In 2017's The Fate of the Furious, cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) forces Dom to work for her after she takes hostage Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky), his former flame who made her debut in Fast Five. And if that wasn't enough, Theron's blonde-braided villain also has his and Elena's child, a young boy Dom never knew he had. At one point in the film, we see Dom taking a soldering iron to something before it's revealed he's placed a tracking device inside of it. After planting the necklace on his son's cell in Cipher's plane, Jason Statham's villain-turned-Toretto ally Deckard Shaw is sent to retrieve the baby.

But saving babies and girlfriends are just the tip of the iceberg for this necklace.

The necklace serves as a symbol of Letty and Dom's matrimony

When it's not being used as a money clip or baby monitor, Dom's necklace has doubled as a symbol of his and Letty's union. Before Dom leaves with a pile of cash in Fast and Furious 4, the long-time partners in crime use it to make their love for each other official. As the crew hangs out in the Dominican Republic, Dom and Letty get hitched in a private ceremony with only a priest as their witness. The necklace becomes a stand-in for a ring as the man in cloth wraps the jewelry around the couples' hands.

But there's a catch. Audiences don't learn about the wedding until 2015's Furious 7, when it's revealed in a series of flashbacks. Told from Letty's point of view, the cascade of images eventually settles into a full scene of the wedding, complete with an exchange of vows sure to bring at least one tear to your eye. Once the montage is over, viewers are thrust back into Furious 7's fiery reality as Letty tearfully clutches her bruised and bloodied husband after he drove his car into an airborne helicopter.

The reunion is intense, and not just because the necklace symbolizes Letty and Dom's impenetrable bond — though Dom was willing to risk capture by Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to retrieve it from Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) in Fast Five for that reason alone. As Letty cradles her husband in what she believes is his final moment, she confesses that she remembers their entire life together — and that's the first time she had in two films.

Dom's cross also helps break Letty's amnesia and bring their relationship full circle

After the Dominican heist goes south and Dom goes on the run in Fast and Furious 4, Letty returns to Los Angeles, where she hangs the cross on the rearview of Dom's 1970 Charger. To help clear Dom's name, she turns to Brian O'Conner (the late Paul Walker), who is at this point in the Fast timeline still working for the FBI. As part of their agreement, Letty infiltrates a cross-border heroin operation led by the brutal drug lord Arturo Braga (John Ortiz). But when she discovers what happens to Braga's drivers once they've completed their jobs, she tries to escape. Chased down and run off the road by the drug lord's second in command, Letty is presumed dead when her car explodes.

Both audiences and the Toretto crew mourn for Letty — until Luke Hobbs drops a major bombshell at the start of Fast and Furious 6. While a picture can say a thousand words, the one Hobbs brings to Dom only says two: Letty's alive. The problem is she has no memory of who she was before the accident, and is now working for Braga's powerful boss, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). As Dom sets out to bring Letty back to her family, the necklace becomes a tool by which he tries to break her amnesia.

On opposite sides of the fight and with little to no sign that Letty's memory will return, Dom hands over the cross pendant as a final effort. When Shaw discovers it, Letty gives it to him as proof her connection to Dom is still severed. So while she might not have it on her by the end of Fast and Furious 6, when the time comes, the memory of it helps salvage their bond.

In this way, the cross takes Dom and Letty full circle between the start of the fourth movie and the end of sixth. But it also lays the groundwork for an even more interesting twist for F9.

The cross necklace becomes a powerful calling card and a key to one character's return

If director Justin Lin's latest go behind the Fast and Furious creative wheel is focused on family, it makes perfect sense that Dom's necklace would somehow be at the center of the narrative. It's a symbol of everything — and everyone — Dom has fought for. And coupled with the return of Mia (Jordana Brewster), the emergence of Jakob (John Cena) and, most interestingly, the resurrection of Han (Sung Kang), the necklace's appearance in Fast and Furious 9 may end up being more than that. In fact, it might be how Lin explains part of Han's return... and Deckard Shaw's redemption.

One of the most significant moments the cross has ever had in the franchise involves Han's death. In 2006's Tokyo Drift, the character is presumably blown up in a crash that eerily mirrors Letty's. But after Lin scrambled the saga's timeline and wrote in Fast and Furious 6 that Deckard Shaw set Han's wrecked car on fire to introduce Jason Statham's character, the director essentially stuck both his story and fans with a hot poker.

As the Fast and Furious 6 scene reveals, Shaw didn't just kill Han to get even with Dom for killing his brother, Owen. He also sent the cross necklace back to Dom with Han's things, as both a calling card and a challenge. For Han's fans, it was enraging — a pain only made worse after the franchise turned its villain-to-family narrative device on Shaw.

With Han's murderer now part of Toretto's crew, can Dom's dedication and loyalty to his family — something that necklace symbolizes — be trusted after what the franchise did with the characters of Han and Shaw? Perhaps Lin's renewed interest in family isn't just about exploring Dom's ties with new characters. Maybe it's also about restoring fans' belief in the family Dom has built along the way.