Fire up your engines and head to your local multiplex, because after a long wait, Fast & Furious 9 is finally in cinemas and wowing audiences with its wild stunts, mad twists and endless vehicular mayhem.
Fast fans have had to be patient, waiting four years since the last instalment in the saga – it's even been 18 long months since the first teaser dropped for Fast 9, promising a typically family-fuelled chapter which sees Vin Diesel's street-racer-turned-super-spy Dominic Toretto face off against his long-lost brother Jakob, played by WWE star John Cena.
Also returning to the fray is Charlize Theron's psychopathic hacker Cypher, setting up a clash with the Fast family involving flying cars, magnet mayhem and a long-teased trip to space.
It's not all bad news for Dom's "familia" though, with a few friendly faces also set to return, including fan-favourite Han back from the dead (read more about how Han is alive in Fast 9).
Han actor Sung Kang revealed to Digital Spy that he hasn't even told his wife how his character survived his apparent demise - but added that we have director Justin Lin to thank for his return to the franchise. "I think if it wasn't Justin, I would be very concerned and apprehensive," he said. "But Justin and I, we developed the character together. He understands that character as much as I do."
Han's not the only surprise addition to the cast this time around, with rapper Cardi B confirmed to be playing a mysterious woman from Dom's past named Leysa, who is the focus of a new featurette.
Fast and Furious 9 had already zoomed towards nearly $300million at the worldwide box office before its UK and US release, prompting Vin Diesel and the franchise's stars to thank fans in a social media clip.
There are reunions all-round in Fast 9, as the trailer provides a glimpse of characters from Japan-set threequel Tokyo Drift, while behind the camera director Justin Lin returns to the series for the first time since Fast and Furious 6, having been at the helm for four straight movies previously.
With the film now firmly in gear and playing at UK cinemas, here's everything you need to know about Fast and Furious 9.
Fast and Furious 9 release date
Fast and Furious 9 was moved forward in the UK for a Thursday, 24th June release date.
The film was originally set for a US release of 19th April 2019, but was pushed back almost a year to April 10 2020, following the announcement of Hobbs & Shaw.
Then came the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and the film was then pushed back another 11 months. It was slated to be released in cinemas on 28th May 2021.
In March 2021 Fast and Furious 9 got one last slight delay, moving nearly a month later to 25th June 2021.
However, in one last twist in May 2021, the film made the rare move of actually moving the release date forward - Fast and Furious 9 hit UK cinemas a day earlier on 24th June 2021.
Filming began on 24th June 2019 at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England as well as in Los Angeles, London (including chase scenes near Buckingham Palace), Thailand, Georgia and finally Edinburgh (where shooting's caused more than a little disruption).
Fast and Furious 9 cast
The following cast members are returning from previous films in the franchise. Salut, mi familia!
- Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
- Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
- Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pierce
- Chris "Ludacris" Bridges as Tej Parker
- Sung Kang as Han Lue
- Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey
- Helen Mirren as Magdalene Shaw
- Charlize Theron as Cipher
Jordana Brewster will also be reprising her role as Mia Toretto, her first appearance in a Fast and Furious movie since 2015's Furious 7 – Mia retired alongside her partner Brian, a story move necessitated by the death during filming of actor Paul Walker.
It remains to be seen how Mia will rejoin the crew and to what extent the character of Brian, an F&F mainstay and fan favourite prior to Walker's passing, will be referenced.
Walker's brother Cody previously served as a stand-in for his late sibling during filming of Furious 7, with CGI face-mapping being used to complete Paul's unfinished scenes.
Director Justin Lin told Variety that it was "very important" that Brian O'Connor was still alive in the Fast and Furious universe, and added that in Fast 9 "you will feel the presence of Brian, for sure."
Cody visited the Fast & Furious 9 set during production, leading some to speculate that he could again be standing in as Brian for a brief sequence, but there has been no official confirmation of this.
Vin Diesel has enthused about wrestler-turned-actor John Cena joining the franchise in particular, saying the WWE star is "killing his character". "He’s gonna blow you away when you see him in Fast," he added.
The trailers later revealed - slight spoiler alert here - that Cena will be playing none other than Jakob Toretto, Dom and Mia's secret assassin brother.
That wasn't the only shock, however - the trailers also teased the return of fan-favourite street racer and keen snacker Han, played by Sung Kang, who was seemingly killed off all the way back in threequel Tokyo Drift.
According to Vin Diesel, Han's return was all about building on the theme of brotherhood, both those bonded by blood and those brothers by choice.
"We have this very interesting and fascinating and mysterious character in Jakob, who is a blood brother. From a story point, there's a significance in the brotherhood of Dom and Han. if you go back to Los Bandoleros and Tokyo Drift, there was no brotherhood between Dom and Brian. Brian was a cop, Dom was an outlaw," Diesel said.
"There was a brotherhood between Han and Dom, they were outlaws in Mexico, they were brothers. So in creating this whole mythology, the presence of Jakob was beautifully balanced by the return of Han, the return of a brother."
Han's return in the film's first trailer came as a big shock to fans - though Kang has revealed that not spoiling the surprise came at a cost while filming.
"Justin [Lin] and Universal, everybody was really on top of hiding me on set. There's a lot of cast photos early on. If you look at the Fast 9 photos from set, there's all these birthday parties and stuff, I'm never invited," he told Digital Spy.
"I would see the birthday cakes from afar, but it's part of the fun. It's really cool to be part of that kind of narrative."
Also joining the fast car frenzy this time around is Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Walking Dead) as a character named Buddy, with Peaky Blinders actor Finn Cole playing an undisclosed role, alongside Anna Sawai and Vinnie Bennett.
Fast and Furious 9 will also see an unexpected Tokyo Drift reunion, with Lucas Black, Bow Wow and Jason Tobin all set to reprise their roles of Sean Boswell, Twinkie and Earl Hu respectively.
MMA Fighter Francis Ngannou has also joined the cast in a mysterious role, while Reggaeton singer Ozuna has been confirmed to be making a cameo.
Neither Dwayne Johnson – a regular of the franchise since Fast Five as Luke Hobbs – nor Jason Statham – the latter playing Deckard Shaw in the last two F&F movies – are expected to return, but director Justin Lin retains hope that the pair will still return to the main series in the future.
"I never really considered them gone, you know?" he told Deadline. "To me, they're still in this universe; they're part of this family.
"Whatever we do, whenever we're talking about the next chapter, I never feel like I have any restrictions, so I'm excited for what we build, and as we're coming to this kind of final chapter of this saga, I think I'm excited to revisit...
"Any character, in any situation, is up for discussion."
The most surprising casting news is that Cardi B is joining the film, as announced via Vin Diesel's Instagram, with her character later revealed to be Leysa, a woman with a connection to Dom’s past.
She discusses her experience filming for the action franchise in the featurette below, describing Leysa as a "powerful, strong woman."
Fast and Furious 9 will be a family affair in more ways than one, with Vin Diesel's son Vincent Sinclair cast in an undisclosed role - which may well be a young Dom during a flashback scene showing his childhood with Jakob.
Diesel has also teased a major cameo that will be a "big surprise" when talking to Entertainment Tonight.
"It's a testament to the franchise, it's a testament to all the work that everyone has done and it's a testament to the integrity," he told ET. "As a thespian, as someone who started acting when I was 7 years old, it's wonderful to dance with other acclaimed thespians and try to make magic."
While he was notably absent from most of the film's promotional materials, it was eventually confirmed that Kurt Russell would indeed be returning as Mr. Nobody, the enigmatic intelligence operative who worked with Dom's team in the last two movies.
However, there's no word yet on Scott Eastwood's 'Little Nobody' (another law enforcement agent who debuted in the eighth film in the series).
Luke Evans was noticeably absent from Hobbs & Shaw as Deckard's younger brother Owen – could he reappear here, having previously featured in the sixth and eighth entries?
Daniel Casey will write the screenplay for Fast & Furious 9, with Chris Morgan – who's written every F&F movie since 2006's Tokyo Drift – having left to work on Hobbs & Shaw.
Fast and Furious 9 trailer
Universal has been steadily releasing a wealth of promotional videos for the film, the latest of which is a clip showing *that* car swinging scene from the trailer.
Another was a featurette titled Fast & Fearless, which was released in May 2021 to celebrate the female stars of the film series.
Watch below to see Michelle Rodriguez, Helen Mirren et all discuss the importance of the franchise's female characters, complete with footage of some of their more daring stunts.
In April, a short clip was released that saw Vin Diesel celebrate the return to cinemas, introducing footage from the film by saying, "It's been a while. The roads were a little empty, the place where we used to go went a little quiet. We've gone through a year that's tested us, but we've started to feel the promise of a new day.
"For more than 100 years, there's one place where we all came together to be entertained, to escape, to go someplace new. The Movies. There's nothing like that moment when the lights go down, the projectors ignite and we believe"
Now if that doesn't make you long for a cinema trip, nothing will...
Before that, an epic F9 trailer yet dropped on 14th April 2021, promising outrageous stunts, Vin Diesel vs. John Cena, the epic return of Han - a character previously thought to be dead - and the return of characters from franchise threequel Tokyo Drift.
In February 2021 a short new trailer was released teasing the return of the 'Fast Family'.
Earlier there had been two previous trailers, one of which had been released in February 2021 – before the release date had been changed.
And the first trailer for Fast & Furious was a hefty one, weighing in at just under four minutes long – check it out below.
One notable shot in the trailers sees a car magnetically pulled through an entire shop and into a truck - and while a lot of Fast and Furious scenes may use CGI, director Justin Lin shared a look at how much effort went into getting this four-second shot practically.
- For the latest news and expert tips on getting the best deals this year, take a look at our Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday 2021 guides.
Fast and Furious 9 reviews
Reviews have always been the true greatest enemy for Dominic Toretto and his Fast family, but this time around the reception has been (mostly!) pretty positive. Most critics agree that Fast and Furious 9 is a fitting film to welcome the return of the big-screen experience, and that long-time fans will have a lot of fun - and also tease that some stunts are a bit more gravity-defying than usual...
Read RadioTimes.com's Fast & Furious 9 review, in which we declare that the franchise "isn't out of gas just yet."
Screen Daily's Courtney Howard hints that the twenty-year-old franchise shows no signs of stalling, and that franchise veteran Tyrese might be a surprise standout...
Fittingly for the franchise's 20th anniversary, Rotten Tomatoes editor Joel Meares reveals that there are some callbacks to earlier instalments:
ScreenRant's Molly Freeman also highlighted that the theme of family is still alive and kicking - quite literally in the form of John Cena's Jakob:
What will happen in Fast and Furious 9?
The official synopsis for the film reads: "After the events of The Fate of the Furious (2017), Dominic Toretto and his family must face Dominic's younger brother Jakob, a deadly assassin, who is working with their old enemy Cipher, and who holds a personal vendetta against Dominic."
There were many rumours that the new film will see the team head to space, and when asked about these reports, Vin Diesel was non-committal – but he certainly didn't rule out the possibility of an outer space adventure.
"No spoilers over here," he told Entertainment Weekly. "I will say that Justin is one of those think-outside-of-the-box directors. I'd put nothing past him and he will thoroughly play with whatever is plausible to incorporate into the story."
The second trailer saw Roman and Tej flying into the atmosphere in what looked like very DIY spacesuits - pretty much confirming that Dom's crew will soon be going fast in the final frontier...
Despite being a series that plays fast and loose with the laws of physics, director Justin Lin revealed he spoke with scientists about the space sequence to ensure it was more than just a gimmick.
"I'm on the phone with scientists, learning about fuel and physics," Lin told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was great, having the scientists on the other line going, 'Wait, what? What are you trying to do?' I love it."