Not content with towing a safe through the streets of Rio, drag racing a plane, or jumping a car from one skyscraper to another, the #FastandFurious franchise has returned to our screens to wow us once again — and this time, it's personal. Well ok, every single time it's personal because of the franchise's strangely endearing obsession with family, but Fast 8 fires up the nitro to slam us with the most heartwrenching plot twist yet: Dom Toretto's betrayal.
Of course, Dom would have to have a pretty good reason to turn his back on the Fast Fam, and Cipher's there to pull his strings. Charlize Theron's digital puppet master has an amazingly complex master plan, one that deftly ties into the other films in the franchise.
If you've watched the trailers you'll know by now that Cipher has, somehow, been part of the story since the very beginning, making #Fast8 a satisfying payoff with twists that retcon some of the franchise's most exciting plots. So why exactly does Cipher seduce Dom to betray his family? And what's her grand plan? Join us as we untangle the complex plot lurking beneath the adrenaline pumping, gravity-defying action: This is Fast and Furious 8, explained.
Cipher's Grudge Against Dom
It almost goes without saying that there are spoilers on the road ahead, so if you want a smooth drive into Fate of the Furious then it might be good to switch gears and speed out of this tab right now! Of course, you'd be disappointing not only us but also Helen Mirren...
Still with us? Awesome, let's get this show on the road.
Ultimately, Cipher doesn't want Dom on her side because she needs his fantastic skills as a driver, or because she just has a thing for multicultural, perpetually glistening, muscle-bound bald men. No, the hacking queen has another agenda, and although she does need Dom to help her enact her plan, secretly this is her way at getting revenge. And that's where the retcons come in.
Remember the Nightshade device from Fast & Furious 6? What about God's Eye from Furious 7? The previous two movies in the franchise featured the Fast Fam trying to stop unbelievably powerful and dangerous technology from falling into the wrong hands — and obviously the best way to achieve this was to drive their cars really really fast, sometimes out of planes.
In Fast and Furious 6, Owen Shaw was after the Nightshade Device, a kind of EMP that would kill military tech dead for 24 hours, leaving them blind and vulnerable to attack. In Furious 7, the Fast Fam were hired by Mr Nobody to steal a program called God's Eye — and its creator Ramsey — from the mercenary Mose Jakande. So far so good, ready for the twist? Cipher hired both Owen Shaw and Mose Jakande, so by saving the day the Fast Fam thwarted Cipher's grand plan... twice. Boom!
Cipher's Grand Plan
Honestly, this is a really impressive retcon, meaning Fate of the Furious ties into two films from previously in the franchise. And yet there's a hint that Cipher's been involved in Dom's story from the story from the very start, as she parrots his own lines from The Fast and The Furious (2001) back to him.
"It's the ten seconds between start and finish, when you're not thinking about anything. No family, no obligations, just you — being free."
She also mentions "living a quarter mile at a time", another adapted quote from the first movie. Either Cipher's done her research (highly likely — she's a hacker! She has access to all information in human history!!), or she has been part of Dom's life for much, much longer than we thought. That's a nice idea, but it's not confirmed by the movie — and it's difficult to imagine Cipher caring much about stolen DVD players, which is what the team were after in the first film. Ah, look how far they've come!
In any case, this all plays into Cipher's grand plan which is... very convoluted.
And you know what, we want to leave a bit of mystery for the film so we won't spoil too much. Suffice it to say, all Cipher wants is power and influence — the Nightshade Device and God's Eye would have given her a lot of sway over the world's governments, which ultimately is what she wants to achieve, and what she's after in Fast and Furious 8 plays into that. But you'll just have to watch the movie to find out exactly how Cipher intends to exact her plan, whether she succeeds... and whether they neatly set up a sequel.
Tell us in the comments: Which is your favorite Fast and Furious movie?