Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of F9 Explained

Contains spoilers for "F9"

After the pandemic 86'd its original release date, fans have had to wait a whole calendar year for "F9" to make it to the big screen. But now that the ninth "Fast and Furious" film is here, and now that we know it to be one of the closing chapters in a saga that has lasted four whole American presidencies, its near-apocalyptic climax must be unpacked.

Trailers painted a picture of sibling rivalry, with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) having to face his past in the form of his long-lost brother Jakob (John Cena), who has apparently spent his entire adult life turning into a James Bond villain. Jakob's global plot to destabilize nations and amass power is suitably grandiose, such that it triggers a series of other gargantuan subplots — among them a search for a nebulous MacGuffin, the groundwork for the "Fast" gang finally going into space, and the long-rumored resurrection of Han Lue (Sung Kang).

So, how did our merry band of outlaws survive this one? Here's the ending of "F9" explained.

The black sheep turns face

Most of the film's plot machinations center around Jakob's quest for power, stemming from his deep insecurity at having to live for so long under the umbrage of his big brother's shadow. But, with this being a "Fast and Furious" film, you may not be surprised that before the credits begin to roll, this chapter's central villain undergoes a change of heart so broadly telegraphed it may as well have been written in semaphore.

Jakob's plan — and that of his financier Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen), the spoiled rich son of a foreign dignitary — is to gather the three pieces of a top-secret digital weapon called Aries. It's a two-piece device that requires a key to activate and a satellite uplink to hijack anything in the world that runs on code. Jakob and Otto kidnap Cipher (Charlize Theron), the twisted hacker from "The Fate of the Furious", as Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) is transporting her in the hopes of using Cipher's expertise to locate the missing half of Aries. The key, it turns out, is a young woman named Elle (Anna Sawai), whose deceased parents designed Aries. She's been in hiding, under the care of Han Lue, whose apparent tragic death at the end of "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" is revealed to be one of Mr. Nobody's useful spy-craft ruses. 

Through a series of pyrotechnics, car chases, and family reunions, Jakob's plan succeeds in amassing the core parts of Aries — but not before he drops a devastating bombshell on his brother. Dom disowned Jakob years ago, thinking his baby brother was responsible for the death of their father Jack. But Jakob reveals that Jack enlisted his help in rigging his car the day of the race because he was planning to throw it. The Toretto family was in debt, but Jack couldn't bare the thought of his favorite son seeing him betray their values. Jakob never intended to kill their father, and has, even in Jack's death, been protecting his big brother from this truth.

With those facts out in the open, Dom is more open to reconciling with Jakob, which is very convenient for when Otto betrays him, siding with Cipher and attempting to take Jakob off the board. In the heat of the film's elaborate climax, Jakob, whose sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) has helped him escape, returns to the fray to help his brother's new family foil the world-shattering caper he himself initially conceived.

Space: the final frontier

Stopping Otto's implementation of Aries on the ground, with the Toretto family fully reunited, is just one half of the strategy. While Dom, Jakob, Mia and the others try to bring down the armored truck housing Aries and stop it from uploading its code to a satellite in orbit, Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) have to thwart things on the other side of the transfer — in outer orbit.

The idea that the gang would end up traveling in space gets seeded early in two key ways. Firstly, Roman's arc throughout "F9" is vaguely meta-textual, as he becomes obsessed with how many harrowing experiences the cast collectively survives, and how rarely they wind up even lightly scarred. He begins to believe that maybe, just maybe, they all might be in some way immortal. At the same time, Tej and Roman are sent to Germany to acquire wheels and gear for the mission, and there, they cross paths with a trio of "Tokyo Drift" stars: Sean (Lucas Black), Twinkie (Bow Wow), and Earl (Jason Tobin). The trio now develop cars that are — wouldn't you guess — strapped with massive rockets.

So, when it comes to time to try to disable a satellite that Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) can't hack from the ground, the "Fast" saga's resident Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have to suit up in ancient astronaut gear that makes them look like "Minions" cosplayers and subsequently blast off into space. But their original plan of frying the satellite with an EMP fails. Their only remaining option is to destroy the satellite with brute force, which would require they use the last of their rocket fuel to propel their modded car-ship through the craft ... which would also strand them in space with no way home.

This is where Roman's immortality obsession comes into play, as he makes his peace with the idea that either they will somehow miraculously survive this ridiculous situation, or this will be their last stand. What better way to go out, he posits, than to die in space? Roman's thesis is essentially proven correct when their Hail Mary play saves the day and a foreign space crew deux ex machina helps them back to Earth.

All in the family

With the bad guys beaten, Roman and Tej done remaking Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity," and the Toretto family wounds beginning to heal, things can return to normal — or as normal as Dom's gang can ever truly have.

Throughout "F9," Mia and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) both struggle with accepting time away from their constant missions and quagmires. They're both mothers now — Mia to her and Brian's children, and Letty to Brian Marcos, the son of Dom and the deceased Elena (Elsa Pataky). Two women who have otherwise never had solo dialogue together in all these films get time to bond on screen in "F9," and both find that it's okay to no longer throw themselves into the fray of danger but agree that they can't hide away from adventure when it comes to their doorstep. 

When the whole gang gets together for the obligatory Corona-sponsored cookout at the old Toretto home, now being rebuilt after the last film's destruction, the crew is back home in LA and no longer hiding abroad. They even leave a seat at the table for Brian O'Connor (the deceased Paul Walker), whose car speeds up the driveway just as the credits roll.

We'll see what happens next, okay?

After this, there will be a "Fast 10." Two parts of it, in fact, as Deadline reports. As eventful as "F9" has been, the film's conclusion leaves a few tasty open threads to be untangled in that double-fisted finale.

For the second film in a row, Cipher gets away scot-free. While plenty of other antagonists in the "Fast" franchise have received redemption arcs and second chances, it's unlikely that the woman who killed the mother of Dom's child is going to get off so easily.

As for Han, he's alive and back in the fold, but as a mid-credits teaser reminds us, he still has unfinished business with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the man thought to be responsible for his faked death. And speaking of redemption arcs, Jakob may have driven off in a 10-second car, a last-minute gift from his big brother Dom, but it's unlikely to be the last we ever see of him.

Fans will simply have to wait and see what happens next. With any luck, the 10th franchise installment will arrive fast ... and furious.