Warning: Big spoilers ahead for The Fate of the Furious. If you're yet to see the film, get back in your 10-second car and flee like the cops have rumbled your street race.
After the roller coaster of Furious 7, it was hard to imagine what Fast 8 could ever do to get fans even more invested than any of the previous films. As it turns out the answer was simple: make it more family-driven than ever before.
After months of speculation that Dom (Vin Diesel) had been brainwashed by the evil Cipher (Charlize Theron), during #TheFateoftheFurious we finally learned that Dom was forced to work with Cipher in order to save a family he never knew he had. After realizing that nothing was of more importance to Dom than family, Cipher managed to kidnap not only Elena (Elsa Pataky), but also her baby who was revealed to be Dom's son, ensuring his cooperation.
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However, as usual, the villains of the Fast and Furious series drastically underestimated the power of the Fast family, and although it takes a begrudging team up with former franchise villains, the good side prevails and although Cipher isn't killed, she does retreat to Athens, Greece (anyone else's money on the idea that she'll resurfaces in time for the the tenth installment?).
Cipher's retreat allows Dom to return to Letty and the Fast family, sadly without Elena who was killed by Cipher's henchman earlier in the film, but with a brand new addition to the family in the form of the cutest baby ever. Prior to her death Elena had been calling the baby by his middle name, Marco, refraining from giving him a first name until his father could pick one. And it was this last gift from Elena to Dom that allowed the cast and crew of the Fast and Furious to pay homage to their former fast family member, Paul Walker through his character, Brian O'Conner.
After reuniting with the baby, Letty and the rest of the crew (including the Shaw brothers) on a picturesque rooftop, Dom introduces his son to his family, revealing his first name as Brian, named after Dom's former partner in crime. Although in the franchise Brian is still very much alive — having left the crew in the hopes of a quieter life with Mia and son, Jack — the tribute is not lost on us fans who felt Brian's absence in The Fate of the Furious keenly despite its non-stop action.
Although it may been deemed cheesy or over the top, in a film so deeply rooted in the idea of forming a family of choice, there was no more perfect name for baby Toretto than that of his dad's best friend. Not to mention that in real life Vin Diesel's own daughter, Pauline is named after Paul Walker, proving that sometimes life is the best inspiration for art.
The Fate of the Furious hits screens on April 14.