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A Ranking of the 51 Best Characters From the ‘Fast & Furious’ Franchise

The ‘Fast’ family has swelled in numbers over the past 20 years, but there’s still a clear hierarchy within it

Jonathan Bartlett

The Fast & Furious franchise has spent two decades coming up with creative new ways to use cars. Illegal street racing and drifting through the bustling streets of Tokyo soon gave way to cars being parachuted out of planes, driving between skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi, battling Russian nuclear submarines, and, as heavily implied in the trailers for F9, leaving Earth’s orbit. If Universal has its way, the cars could even do a crossover event with the Jurassic World dinosaurs, because who among us hasn’t wondered how a Camaro would fare against a velociraptor?

But what elevates Fast & Furious into one of the century’s defining blockbuster franchises isn’t just the cool cars—or the endless Corona product placement—but the memorable characters behind the wheel. The best of these larger-than-life figures are so beloved that they have, on multiple occasions, returned from the dead. (I mean this as a compliment: This is a high-octane soap opera.) But who is the greatest Fast & Furious character of them all? Like any quarter-mile drag race, there can be only one winner.

As such, three of The Ringer’s most passionate fans—myself, Andrew Gruttadaro, and John Gonzalez—have furiously debated about more than 50 characters from the franchise to see who comes out on top. We didn’t have a formal process for including characters, so long as they were given more than a few lines of dialogue or delivered a kick-ass action sequence or two—and we decided to include Hobbs & Shaw, even if Vin Diesel doesn’t. The final result is an aggregate score of our individual rankings, which at times proved extremely contentious, especially when discussing whether or not 2 Fast 2 Furious’s Carter Verone is a good villain. Since getting through this exercise was the blogging equivalent of competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, let’s not waste any more time: This is the Fast & Furious character ranking. —Miles Surrey

51. Kara (Ronda Rousey)

As seen in: Furious 7

For a hot second, Fast was doing this thing where they’d cast the most popular female MMA fighter simply so that Letty could beat the shit out of them. It’s an amazing gimmick, if you think about it: In comes a woman with unparalleled fighting skills and she goes and gets destroyed by a gearhead from East L.A.

There are some pros to Rousey’s brief appearance in Furious 7: It’s super cool that she and Michelle Rodriguez brawl while wearing high-end ball gowns, and the thrilling fight sequence itself is highlighted by Letty throwing Kara and herself off a balcony and onto a DJ’s turntables. (That DJ? T-Pain. T-Pain is DJing an Emirati playboy’s party in Furious 7.) But Rousey’s delivery is so painfully wooden that the utter relief of her losing the fight doesn’t come because Letty won—it’s because you know that Kara won’t be in another scene. —Andrew Gruttadaro

50. Earl (Jason Tobin)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Of all the “gearheads who help out in garages”—a particularly rich character trope in the Fast universe—this guy is the most forgettable one. If we’re being completely honest, and if you want to see how the car is built: We decided to add Earl to this list only when we found out he plays a (shockingly) sizable role in F9. —Gruttadaro

49. Jimmy (Jin Au-Yeung)

As seen in: 2 Fast 2 Furious

No disrespect to Jimmy, a minor character in 2 Fast 2 Furious working at Tej’s garage, but he comes across like a non-playable character in a video game. He shares 15 minutes of screen time, tops, with Brian O’Conner, and is essentially there to do whatever the plot requires of him. Jimmy’s pretty handy to have around, on account of being a mechanic, but you never get the sense that he and Brian are that close—especially compared to Roman, Tej, or, of course, the legendary Dominic Toretto. The fact that Jimmy has never been seen or heard from again since 2 Fast 2 Furious should make Brian’s feelings about him pretty clear. —Surrey

48. Neela (Nathalie Kelley)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Being the love interest for the least charismatic protagonist of the Fast franchise (more on Sean Boswell later) is already a losing battle. But with apologies to Nathalie Kelley—this is more of a script problem than anything else—Neela isn’t a character so much as an object for multiple street racers to fight over. It’s pretty telling that one of Neela’s final moments on screen in Tokyo Drift is acting as a grid girl, which is the type of role typically left for an anonymous extra. —Surrey

47. Riley (Gina Carano)

As seen in: Fast & Furious 6

Before she starred in The Mandalorian and fumbled the Star Wars bag by being the worst, Gina Carano showed up in Fast & Furious 6 as the first female MMA star to get whooped by Letty. She ranks higher than Ronda Rousey’s version of the character for two reasons: (1) Her character actually has an impact on the plot, as Riley plays a double agent who screws over Hobbs for Owen Shaw; and (2) her London Underground brawl with Letty is, maybe, the best fight sequence in the entire franchise.

If you tell me your jaw didn’t drop when Letty tackled Riley down a flight of concrete stairs, you’re lying. —Gruttadaro

46. Klaus (Kim Kold)

As seen in: Fast & Furious 6

“Aren’t you Team Muscle? Don’t make me go over there and make you Team Pussy.”

This is what Letty, a 5-foot-5 woman, says to Klaus, a man who appears to be 8 feet tall and pushing 300 pounds, in Fast & Furious 6. An incredibly disrespectful thing to say to a person. What an embarrassing moment for my massive guy. What’s more, he completely shrinks in the face of Letty’s threat. That said, Klaus does play a pretty big role in the sixth film as the guy who gets brutally headbutted by Dom ...

… and also the guy who gets brutally tag-teamed and clotheslined by Dom and Hobbs:

Looks like he was Team Pussy after all. —Gruttadaro

45. Agent Markham (James Remar)

As seen in: 2 Fast 2 Furious

Brian O’Conner was living a nice life as an ex-cop turned street racer, with nary a care in the world except making sure the NOS tank was full—until Markham came along and ruined everything. Despite clearly not trusting O’Conner or his fast-talking friend Roman Pearce, Markham goes along with a plan to have the two of them work in concert with Monica Fuentes in an undercover operation aimed at taking down drug lord Carter Verone (who is arguably the worst villain in the franchise despite what my fellow Fast-loving colleagues would have you believe in this piece). The Miami-based, James Remar–played Markham should have left Brian alone and focused more on his serial killer kid. —John Gonzalez

44. Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood)

As seen in: The Fate of the Furious

Whether intentional or not, when The Fate of the Furious came out, the feeling among fans was that Scott Eastwood’s character, Little Nobody, was acting as a replacement for the late Paul Walker. To the movie’s credit, Little Nobody wasn’t treated like the new Brian O’Conner—if anything, the nickname was indicative that he would become the butt of everyone’s jokes. (And there were lots of them.) But nobody in the movie liked Little Nobody, and the sentiment seemed to have rubbed off on the audience. I doubt anyone is pining for Little Nobody to return to the franchise. —Surrey

43. Air Marshal Dinkley (Kevin Hart)

As seen in: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

There’s a case to be made that Dinkley—and therefore, Kevin Hart—is instrumental to Hobbs & Shaw. Without his help, the duo doesn’t make it to Samoa, which means Dwayne Johnson never gets to flex an attack helicopter into submission with his biceps. Then again, Dinkley’s “office” is a bathroom stall, which tells us a lot about his overarching function in the film. Still, if you can throw Kevin Hart into the extended universe, why not? We’re maybe one more film away from Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks joining the franchise. —Gonzalez

42. Agent Bilkins (Thom Barry)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious

Bilkins is a relic from a different era of the Fast franchise. Frankly, he’s a relic from a different era of Hollywood altogether. He’s a hardboiled detective type; the kind of guy who just wants to talk brass tacks; the kind who says “I can put it on whoever I want—perks of the job,” but who also can’t totally hide his softer side. He cares about his mission, but he cares just as much about his guys who are running that mission.

But mostly, I just really like this dude because he seems to really like Brian. I mean, O’Conner totally tanks the job in the first film, yet Bilkins seems to still be a huge fan of him in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Anyone who has that kind of unconditional love for Paul Walker is OK in my book. —Gruttadaro

41. Sgt. Tanner (Ted Levine)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious

There’s only one line I can ever remember Tanner saying—but it’s the only line that needs remembering. —Gonzalez

40. Jakande (Djimon Hounsou)

As seen in: Furious 7

Let’s start with the good. This is an iconic fit that makes Jakande look like someone Adam Sandler owes money to in an Uncut Gems prequel:

Screenshots from Universal Pictures

As a secondary villain in Furious 7, though, Jakande doesn’t have much to work with: He mostly rants about God’s Eye, the Big Brother–like surveillance system that Jeff Bezos probably uses to spy on his workers. But really, this character is a bigger L for Djimon Hounsou. It’s not that I don’t want Hounsou in the Fast franchise, but we’re talking about a two-time Oscar-nominated actor getting ninth billing in the movie—and that’s probably being generous. Either Hounsou has a criminally low opinion of himself, or my guy needs to fire his agent ASAP. —Surrey

39. Kiet (Tony Jaa)

As seen in: Furious 7

There’s no right answer to the question “What’s the best set piece in Fast franchise history?”—except it’s definitely the runaway bus fight between Kiet and Brian in Furious 7 that eventually leads to Brian sprinting up the side of a goddamn Greyhound before it plunges over a cliff. Kiet gets the best of Brian in that brawl, slamming the door shut on O’Conner and making his escape with a savage “too slow” parting line that he figures Brian will take to his grave. Brian, of course, survives and later gets his revenge when he hooks a weight to Kiet’s belt that sends him shooting down an elevator shaft—as O’Conner throws the “too slow” remark back in his face. It’s technically the fall that kills Kiet, but really, he died as soon as Brian flipped that line on him. —Gonzalez

38. Fenix (Laz Alonso)

As seen in: Fast & Furious

Fenix is a sneaky good villain in the franchise who plays his role in 2009’s Fast & Furious to perfection. In limited action, Fenix seemingly kills Letty by shooting her car and causing it to explode—a shocking turn of events that wouldn’t be undone until the mid-credits scene in Fast Five. Then he nearly shoots Brian before Dom rams him head on with his trusty Camaro, one of the gnarliest deaths in the series. There’s a case to be made that Fenix is one of the most formidable individuals our heroes have ever come across, especially given the recent trend of former bad guys (the Shaws, Peak Baby Oil Hobbs) joining the familia in later films. Fenix might’ve been a minor villain stuck in a mediocre movie, but with an impressive blend of rage and physicality, he definitely punched above his weight. —Surrey

37. FBI Agent Michael Stasiak (Shea Whigham)

As seen in: Fast & Furious, Fast & Furious 6

When you’re a multibillion dollar franchise, you can afford the best of the best—and that includes rounding out the cast with a Hall of Fame–level That Guy. The great, ever-present Shea Whigham has portrayed enough law enforcement types over the course of his career that he can play FBI agent Michael Stasiak in his sleep. But that doesn’t mean Whigham doesn’t deliver. He has a fun, snarky rapport with Brian during his brief stint at the FBI, and later when Stasiak helps sneak him into prison for a one-on-one with Arturo Braga. While the law enforcement characters aren’t what anyone writes home about in the Fast franchise, Whigham comfortably slots in as a low-usage, high-value guy—as he’s done his entire career. —Surrey

36. Victor Locke (Ryan Reynolds)

As seen in: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Ryan Reynolds playing Victor Locke is a lot like Ryan Reynolds playing Deadpool. The CIA agent and man of mystery does a whole monologue about how hard it is to stab someone with a brick, and there’s a host of jokes built around Locke’s obsession with Hobbs (including their matching tribal tattoos), which does not amuse Hobbs—or some Fast franchise fans. Some people who shall remain nameless (but who definitely worked on this ranking too and are named Andrew and Miles) aren’t quite tickled by the Reynolds/Locke shtick. Because they hate fun. Personally, I am pro fun and I look forward to the Deadpool 5/Fast 12 crossover that is almost certainly coming to theaters in the future. —Gonzalez

35. Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes)

As seen in: 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast Five

What happened to Monica Fuentes and Brian O’Conner? Everything seemed sweet after Brian and Roman saved her by launching a car onto a boat. Happily ever after kind of stuff. The two guys were gonna open a garage in Miami, and presumably she’d be there by Brian’s side, in love, bonded by a near-death experience. Yet after 2 Fast 2 Furious she’s nowhere to be seen. Brian leaves Miami and goes back to Los Angeles after being recruited by the FBI. He falls back in love with Mia Toretto and falls back in love with doing crimes with her brother. They become a family. And until Monica waltzes into Hobbs’s office with information on a definitely-not-dead Letty at the end of Fast Five, it’s like she vanished off the face of the planet.

I don’t begrudge how Brian’s life turned out—we don’t get Fasts 5 through 7 without it. But a small part of me does wonder what if. What if he ended up with the girl whom he pulled that stare-and-drive on? What if he stayed with the U.S. Customs agent who wore so much goddamned linen? What if Eva Mendes never married Ryan Gosling and had two daughters, and kept acting instead? —Gruttadaro

34. Twinkie (Shad Moss)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Sure, I can appreciate a hustle when I see one. In Tokyo Drift, Lil Bow Wow—or was he just Bow Wow by 2006? I could never keep up—is out there flipping laptops, cellphones, and Jordans that not even LeBron James could “get his hands on.” Who knows whether his inventory was actually high quality; the heavy implication is definitely not. But there’s nothing wrong with a little entrepreneurial spirit, and there’s a nice through line from stealing VCRs in the first film to selling old laptops. But on the other hand, Twinkie drives a Volkswagen Touran with lilac shag interiors and Hulk’s fists coming out the side of it.

Also, his name is Twinkie. —Gruttadaro

33. Rhodes (Kristofer Hivju)

As seen in: The Fate of the Furious

THIS MAN KILLS A MOTHER RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER INFANT CHILD!!!

When Tormund Giantsbane was cast as a henchman in The Fate of the Furious, it was like a fever dream come true. No one does stunt-casting quite as well as the Fast brain trust—not even the team over at Knives Out 2. In the end, Hivju doesn’t do all that much as Rhodes—a brilliant henchman name, by the way, especially when Charlize Theron’s Cipher yells “Rhodes got the codes!” at one point—but he does have his moments. He has the honor of getting his neck snapped by Dominic Toretto, and the dishonor of committing one of the most heinous acts in franchise history. Mostly though, it’s just Hivju’s presence—the joy of seeing the Game of Thrones and Fast universes colliding—that makes the character worthwhile. —Gruttadaro

32. Suki (Devon Aoki)

As seen in: 2 Fast 2 Furious

Quite simply, Suki is a vibe. —Surrey

31. Edwin (Ja Rule)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious

I just have one word: MONICAAAAAAAAAA!!! —Gruttadaro

30. Sean Boswell (Lucas Black)

As seen in: The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Furious 7

Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker might be the most infamous case of a grown man pretending to be a high schooler in a modern blockbuster, but Tokyo Drift definitely has it beat in the “How do you do, fellow kids?” department. Behold, the totally age-appropriate Sean Boswell attending high school in Tokyo. As far as I’m aware, he wasn’t held back for eight years in the U.S. school system:

Tokyo Drift having a lowly reputation compared to other entries in the franchise can certainly be attributed to its milquetoast protagonist, who is uninteresting in every conceivable way. It doesn’t help that Sean is sharing screen time with Han, someone so cool that the Fast & Furious completely rearranged its timeline to keep him around for future movies, and is now bringing him back to life in F9. I doubt that even noted Tokyo Drift stan Christopher Nolan will go to bat for Sean Boswell. —Surrey

29. Elena (Elsa Pataky)

As seen in: Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious

Has anyone been done dirtier than Elena? She gets introduced as a new love interest for Dom in Fast Five, which is immediately undercut in the movie’s mid-credits scene when it’s revealed that Letty is still alive. (Sure, Letty spent most of Fast & Furious 6 as a villain with amnesia, but you never forget your first tank top wedding.) Elena was, by all accounts, a very good sport about Dom leaving her—especially considering they’d already had a child together—which makes it all the more cruel when she is summarily executed in The Fate of the Furious by Dreadlock Cyberterrorist Charlize Theron.

It felt like the franchise was itching for an excuse to get rid of Elena, who might not have been a top-tier character, but absolutely deserved a better fate in Fate. At least Elsa Pataky stays winning in real life. —Surrey

28. Leon (Johnny Strong)

As seen in: The Fast & the Furious

Oh Leon. Poor, poor Leon. He was day-one member of the Toretto crew, one of the cofounders of Race Wars, and a guy who could really pull off an early 2000s goatee. But when Fast Five rolls around and it’s time for Dom and Brian to put together the best crew they could think of—a squad of reliable, trustworthy, ride-or-die friends—Leon’s name doesn’t even come up. Not even Vince is like, “Hey, should we call Leon?”

People drift apart, and friendships end, I guess. But despite the total tragedy of Leon getting dumped from the family (which, I’m sure, Johnny Strong also finds to be a tragedy), Leon is a big reason I like the first movie so much. I love the way he balances and fills out the team; I love the way he and Jesse mess around and call Brian beautiful (they’re right); I love the way he calls Vince “Old Coyotes R Us,” a nickname I really don’t even understand. I miss Leon. They should bring him back in the 10th movie and tell us that he moved to Sacramento to start a family. —Gruttadaro

27. Ramon Campos/Arturo Braga (John Ortiz)

As seen in: Fast & Furious, Fast & Furious 6

If you want something done right, do it yourself. I imagine this to be Arturo Braga’s mantra. The drug runner and crime lord was on the come up thanks to his affiliation with Owen Shaw, who helped him expand his operation into Los Angeles. Of course, like any clever villain who prefers chess to checkers, Braga was thinking ahead. And so he created a new identity for himself: Ramon Campos, chief lieutenant to the big boss, Arturo Braga. As the man behind the man, Campos operated in full view while the mystery of Braga’s legend only grew. He might have gotten away with it too—if not for Dom and Brian sniffing it out.

For his troubles, Braga ends up in prison, where O’Conner pays him a visit two movies later, gets him to confess that Letty is still alive, has amnesia, and is allied with the less cool and interesting Shaw brother. And he gets shanked by Brian for good measure along the way. But he might not be dead. Because death is basically only a suggestion in the Fast universe at this point. In conclusion: Bring back Braga. —Gonzalez

26. Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida)

As seen in: Fast Five

Reyes is one of the best villains in the Fast franchise. No disrespect to the Shaw brothers, Superhuman Idris Elba, or the blond lady with dreadlocks who doesn’t leave her spy plane, but I prefer a villain who rules not with muscle, but with power. Reyes isn’t an indomitable force. Instead he wields his influence over Rio de Janeiro with savvy, politics, and utter cruelty. There’s a sort of cartoonish evilness to him, in line with the overall absurdity that defined Fast Five and changed the franchise forever (and for the better). And that makes it all the more satisfying when the Fast family outwits him and, you know, drags his gigantic safe through the Brazilian streets. —Gruttadaro

25. DK (Brian Tee)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

DK isn’t that great of a villain in a Tokyo Drift. He’s a cocky jerk, but less so because he’s purely evil and more so because he’s a teenager who still has some growing up to do. He’s threatened by the fact that a white guy who looks and talks like Lucas Black has come to Tokyo and is more likable than him; it’s a pretty relatable arc. Honestly, the reason we ranked DK so high is because his name is an acronym for “Drift King.” Ya know, just in case you forgot that the only currency in this movie is DRIFTING. That is the silliest shit I’ve ever heard, and I fucking love it. —Gruttadaro

24. and 23. Tego Leo and Rico Santos (Tego Calderon, Don Omar)

As seen in: Fast & Furious, Fast Five, The Fate of the Furious

Fast Five is rightly hailed as the dividing line between the more traditional origins of the franchise and the transition into a team of elite superheroes who jump cars through skyscrapers and stop missile submarines with teamwork and their bare hands. But the shift really started at the end of Fast & Furious, when Dom is sent to jail and we get a sneak peak at what will be a daring jailbreak to start the fifth installment. Brian and Mia can’t pull it off by themselves, so they bring Leo and Santos into the fold to help spring Toretto. That sets them up to join the bank heist in Rio when Dom and Brian get a team together for what they figure will be one last job. (Spoiler: It was not.) Roman has established himself as the garrulous comedic relief in the Fast universe, but Leo and Santos have a pretty great two-man act of their own. Just as importantly, Don Omar’s “Danza Kuduro” is the best song ever written, and the perfect anthem to finish off Fast Five. —Gonzalez

22. Carter Verone (Cole Hauser)

As seen in: 2 Fast 2 Furious

May I present two YouTube videos? Here is one from Season 3 of Game of Thrones, released in 2012:

And here is one from 2 Fast 2 Furious, released nine years before that:

This is undeniable proof that David Benioff and D. B. Weiss saw 2 Fast 2 Furious. It is also undeniable proof that Carter Verone is an innovator in the field of DIY torture. Verone is a personal favorite—when Miles, Gonz, and I were picking blurbs, Carter was the second one I picked—because of that high level of menace. In a fun, bright movie in which Tyrese launches a man from his car and yells, “Ejecto seato, cuz!” Carter hangs like a black cloud, his presence disrupting the good Miami vibes with “everyone is going to die horrible deaths” vibes. He’s an essential part of the movie. He is also a testament to the versatility of Cole Hauser, who at this point has played a dude from South Boston, a villain from Argentina, and a lost soul from Yellowstone. That’s range. —Gruttadaro

21. Owen Shaw (Luke Evans)

As seen in: Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious

Established to be the anti-Dom—someone who treats his crew like disposable chess pieces rather than members of a family—Owen Shaw is the first in what would soon be a growing line of villains doing the Absolute Most. Owen isn’t just an elite mercenary with a particular set of skills: He’s the sort of character who brings a giant fucking tank to a franchise that used to roll exclusively with NOS-infused sports cars. (Of course, a tank is a natural part of the progression toward taking on a Russian nuclear submarine.)

Owen makes for a worthy adversary in Fast & Furious 6, but it doesn’t take long for him to be overshadowed in the villain department—by his own family, no less. Given Owen’s brief appearance in The Fate of the Furious, when he assists Deckard Shaw in rescuing Dom’s baby, there’s a chance we haven’t seen the last of him. But his days of terrorizing the Fast family with tanks and Amnesia Letty are probably behind him. —Surrey

20. Hector (Noel Gugliemi)

As seen in: The Fast & the Furious, Furious 7

The Fast franchise has become a roster of superstars with high usage rates who launch one heat check after another. Hector is the glue guy on the bench who keeps them grounded and reminds them of their humble beginnings. Thanks to Hector, who organizes the critical street race in The Fast & the Furious, Brian O’Conner and Dom Toretto are brought together. Sure, at that point Brian was an undercover cop aiming to take down a crime ring, but no one is perfect. Hector sort of served as O’Conner’s gateway drug to a different and more addictive lifestyle, one that suited him far better. He also takes one for the team when he inadvertently helps amnesiac Letty start to recover her memory by grabbing her arm without approval in Furious 7, which results in her landing a hook to his jaw. Instead of getting pissed, Hector shrugs it off and tells Dom that Letty’s “still got that swing, homie.” What else are friends for? —Gonzalez

19. Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel)

As seen in: Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious

When Dom’s crew realize they’re rescuing the hacker responsible for creating God’s Eye in Furious 7, they have preconceived notions about what this person will look like. (Pop culture hasn’t been kind to hackers, the best they can usually hope for is Rami Malek’s bug-eyed stare through a hoodie.) Alas, this is the Fast & Furious, in which the only thing just as consistent as supercars, Coronas, and family monologues are the conventionally attractive people behind the wheel. Ramsey is no exception, and it doesn’t take long for Tej—who has always been an elite hacker, just forget about that time he was running a garage in Miami—to get a bit of a crush on her. Roman is also fighting to her affection, but he’s clearly running in second place.

Ramsey isn’t a particularly well-developed character outside of hacking whatever the plot requires. But she’s still fairly new to the Toretto family—her stock is only going to rise. I have no doubts the franchise has a better plan with what to do with actress Nathalie Emmanuel than Game of Thrones. —Surrey

18. Jesse (Chad Lindberg)

As seen in: The Fast & the Furious

Long before Tej, Ramsey, and Cipher came along as the computer wizards of the franchise, Jesse sort of played that part for Dom’s nascent crew back when they were boosting DVD players and other outdated tech from moving 18-wheelers. (It was a simpler time.) In the very first film, Jesse explains how he was “good in, like, math and algebra and shit” and how car engines calm him down. Except that last part is sort of a Catch-22, because those very same car engines that pacify him also get Jesse all revved up, which leads him to go slip for slip with original bad boy Johnny Tran. (If this franchise has taught us anything, it’s that going slip for slip always ends badly.) This is obviously a very bad idea, and not simply because Jesse decides to race Tran in a car that actually belongs to his imprisoned dad (which is a super sad thing to write for multiple reasons). Tran naturally smokes him, and the triggered Jesse zooms off into the sunset while having a panic attack rather than paying up. Also a bad idea—in the end, Tran and his crew machine gun many, many holes into Jesse outside of Dom’s house. RIP on that one.

Then again, if Jesse doesn’t get cut down, maybe we don’t get Ludacris to take his place and improve on that particular role in the Toretto family hierarchy. That’s a swap I’d make every time. Sometimes, sacrifices must be made. —Gonzalez

17. Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby)

As seen in: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

There are several reasons Hattie Shaw shouldn’t work. For starters, Hobbs & Shaw adds a flirty subplot between Hobbs and Hattie, even though the former has more sexual chemistry with Dominic Toretto. (Maybe it’s all the baby oil.) Then there’s the flashbacks of Deckard and Hattie’s childhood, which would be fine if the actors playing them weren’t more than 20 years apart in age. And to top it all off, Hattie is the spinoff movie’s MacGuffin: a character injected with a supervirus that needs to be removed from her before it goes airborne.

Yet despite all of these drawbacks, Hattie unequivocally rules. Letty notwithstanding, she’s the best ass-kicking female character of the franchise, thanks in large part to Vanessa Kirby’s thrilling career pivot as an action star. Whether it’s bantering with her brother or fighting off a cybernetically enhanced supervillain, Hattie steals every scene she’s in to the extent that the film should’ve been called Hobbs & the Shaws. The Fast & Furious is reportedly going to work on a female-led spinoff in the future; it would be downright criminal if Hattie isn’t involved. —Surrey

16. Johnny Tran (Rick Yune)

As seen in: The Fast & the Furious

When I was in middle school, I didn’t want to be Dom. I didn’t want to be Brian. I wanted to be Johnny Tran. That guy was cool as hell, riding around on a Ninja motorcycle with his sidekick (the guy who wore really tight leather pants), saying dope shit like “Too soon, junior” during Race Wars, and smiling after getting pummeled by Dom. (He’s definitely the only person in the franchise who’s ever done this.) He also had, inarguably, the coolest car in the first movie:

Johnny Tran is largely responsible for establishing this franchise’s world, both its sleek, enticing nature and its multicultural facets. I wish he didn’t die at the end of The Fast & the Furious, or predate the franchise’s penchant for letting bad guys switch over to the good side. Johnny Tran would’ve been a perfect candidate for that. —Gruttadaro

15. Cipher (Charlize Theron)

As seen in: The Fate of the Furious

Let’s just state some facts here. Cipher is an international woman of mystery and a criminal chameleon who is a world-class hacker and master manipulator. She pulls the puppet strings on multiple bad guys at various points, ranging from Mose Jakande to Owen Shaw to Tormund Giantsbane. She kidnaps former DSS agent Elena Neves and her infant son—who also happens to be the heir to the Toretto family kingdom, unbeknownst to Dom. She uses that kidnapping to blackmail Dom and make him work for her. In the ballsiest and most inadvisable move, she makes out with Dom in front of Letty. She has Elena killed in front of Dom. She operates out of a cloaked airplane that is apparently undetectable. She commandeers a nuclear submarine for nefarious purposes. And perhaps most villainous of all, she rocks long blond dreads/braids that make her look like she just got back from Sandals with Michael Scott. Oh, and she is played by Oscar winner Charlize Theron. Even for a franchise that has pumped ever-increasing amounts of NOS into its character and plot tanks, that is one hell of a supercharged character. —Gonzalez

14. Brixton Lore (Idris Elba)

As seen in: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

It’s an open secret that the Fast & Furious has moved away from street racing and toward superherodom, but that tonal shift is most literally represented with the iconically named Brixton Lore. (He definitely rose in the rankings because of his name alone.) Brixton is a cybernetically enhanced individual who has apparently mind-melded with a motorcycle, can stop bullets with his hands, and refers to himself as “Black Superman.” That’s quite a flex, but Brixton backs it up by beating the crap out of Hobbs and Shaw for most of their movie until they realize they need to work together.

While it’s super corny that Brixton can ultimately be defeated with the power of teamwork, he’s still a worthy villain responsible for using the phrase “genocide schmenocide” (iconic in my book). Also, if anyone is going to realistically be labeled as the peak of human evolution, you can’t do much better than People’s Sexiest Man Alive alum Idris Elba. —Surrey

13. Gisele (Gal Gadot)

As seen in: Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6

As far as backstories go, Gisele’s is pretty damn good: Former Mossad agent who abandons espionage and state-sanctioned targeted killings, works for Braga in the criminal underworld for a spell, then switches sides and joins Dom and the gang for a bank heist in Rio, during which she meets her soulmate, Han. Upon meeting the rest of the crew in Fast Five, she also manages to shut up Tej and Roman, which might be her most spectacular feat in the film. Critically, in a franchise that preaches endlessly about family and has “ride or die” as its (un)official motto, Gisele walks—or rather falls and shoots—that particular line of thinking rather than just talking it. At the end of Fast & Furious 6, she sacrifices herself by letting go of Han’s hand as she’s hanging off the back of a speeding Range Rover in order to shoot one of the bad guys who’s about to kill her paramour. That’s love. But therein lies the rub—where’s the reciprocation from her adopted family? The “die” part of the “ride or die” ethos is merely a suggestion at this point. Letty came back from the dead in the very same film that Gisele lost her life, and Han is set to make his triumphant return in the forthcoming Fast & Furious 9. Where’s Gisele’s resurrection? Is the Wonder Woman shoot schedule really that cumbersome? —Gonzalez

12. Magdalene Shaw (Helen Mirren)

As seen in: The Fate of the Furious, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

When one of the greatest living actors says that she wants to be in your movies, you damn well make it happen. Not only does Dame Helen Mirren have excellent taste in blockbusters, but she delightfully chews through scenery as the Shaw matriarch in The Fate of the Furious. The Oscar-winning thespian doesn’t class up the joint as much as she gets on the franchise’s unapologetically silly wavelength. For the rest of my days, I will never get over Magdalene referring to God’s Eye as “the Devil’s Bumhole or something.”

Mirren’s one complaint with her Fast & Furious debut was that she didn’t get behind the wheel of a car. (She can drive a stick!) Thankfully, based on the F9 trailers, that is going to be amended with an abundance of style: evading police in a Lamborghini with Dom in the passenger’s seat. As long as Mirren wants to keep showing up in these films, Magdalene Shaw will be well on her way to becoming a Hall of Fame role player. —Surrey

11. Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell)

As seen in: Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious

The universe’s answer to the question “What would Men in Black be like if Kurt Russell filled in for Tommy Lee Jones?” Government operative Mr. Nobody reveals very little about who he is—including his name, obviously—but that doesn’t stop the character from ingratiating himself to the audience. That’s because Russell effortlessly imbues Mr. Nobody with a compelling mix of mystique and charisma, the kind of person who could casually tell you about everything stored inside Area 51 over a crisp Belgian ale.

It doesn’t seem like the Fast franchise knows what to do with Mr. Nobody outside of delivering exposition for Dom’s latest missions. But there are worse problems to have than finding creative new ways to let Kurt Russell cook. —Surrey

10. Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7

This is a tough one. As a founding member of the family—and as one of the few people who is bound by actual blood to Dom—Mia unquestionably deserves her spot at the head table with the rest of the notable characters in the franchise. And yet, as those main characters go, Mia is … somewhat less compelling. That’s not an indictment of Jordana Brewster, but rather some fairly obvious commentary on the fact that Mia is only intermittently given cool things to do. In a universe where everyone else in the crew has functionally become a superhero, Mia remains largely grounded. That doesn’t mean she isn’t capable of cool things: In the first film, Mia and Brian rescue Vince from a trucker who wants to kill him during a heist gone wrong; in the fourth/fifth movie, she and Brian break Dom out of prison; in the fifth installment, Mia and Brian elude a hit squad with a mad dash across the top of tin-roofed favelas, making their escape with a trust fall to end them all—an inadvisable parkour session under any circumstances, and made even more questionable considering Mia is pregnant.

The point here is that Mia is a badass among badasses and not simply someone who makes tuna sandwiches that a certain meathead doesn’t properly appreciate. And yet, despite a résumé that proves she’s down for whatever, Mia is reduced to mommy and wife by the time Furious 7 rolls around, and she’s aced out of The Fate of the Furious completely. Part of that is unfortunately tethered to Paul Walker’s tragic death, but surely there must be a way to incorporate Mia. If they can figure out how to send the franchise into space, they can dream up some scheme to get Mia back in the mix. She deserves it. —Gonzalez

9. Vince (Matt Schulze)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious, Fast Five

Is Vince the most layered character in the franchise? A beefy man, though not quite as beefy as his alpha leader, Dom. A man who loved to rip sick riffs for the ladies during East L.A. house parties. A man who wore fishnet tanks (and not only that, but tanks on top of other tanks) and full forearm bracelets like a Roman gladiator:

He merely wants to be loved—by Dom, by Mia. The Torettos are his adopted family, and his loyalty toward them is both his best and worst quality. Inside that hulking frame is a scared boy with nowhere else to go, afraid of being replaced. This crushing insecurity manifests in his breaking things, or trying to break things—like Brian’s jaw when they get in a fight over tuna sandwiches. Though that fight isn’t really over tuna sandwiches—like most everything Vince, there are deeper things at play.

But it must also be pointed out that Vince is right. He’s the only one who sniffs out that Brian is an undercover cop. And while yes, some of that intuition is just redirected jealousy because Mia chooses Brian over him (in one of the most unnecessarily savage moments in the series), the fact still remains. And no one ever really says sorry to Vince. Or tells him he was right. His life in disarray in Brazil, he simply dies, unacknowledged, risking it all for the Torettos one more time. —Gruttadaro

8. Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)

As seen in: Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Deckard Shaw is complicated. When we really meet him for the first time in Furious 7, he goes to see his injured brother, who is laid up and unconscious in a hospital after Dom, Hobbs, and the gang dispatched him without compunction. Deckard expresses his own grumbly form of fraternal love and vows revenge on Owen’s behalf. But he also shit-talks his brother, who is unable to shit-talk him back because, ya know, he’s clinging to life: “When we were kids, you’d start fights with the toughest bastards in the yard. But I was the one who had to step in and finish them.” Dude, he’s in a vegetative state! Cut him some slack! Maybe just bring flowers next time!

On one hand, Deckard goes to great lengths to see his possibly dying brother—which is good. On the other, he tells the staff to take care of Owen after blowing up most of the hospital he’s in and killing an untold number of people during what had to be some awfully traumatic visiting hours—which is less good. He boards Cipher’s supposedly undetectable plane to save Dom’s baby in an instant classic set piece that ranks among the best the series has ever produced—which is very good. But he also notably tried to kill Han and evidently failed—the first part of which is very bad and the second part of which is fortunate for the rest of us (and also Han) but probably not what Deckard initially intended. The man contains multitudes. As we head into F9, he’s kinda-sorta in the family but he’s also still a prick loner who operates as a one-man Cockney wrecking ball, even after the bonding time he had with Hobbs in Samoa. But despite Shaw’s ever-shifting allegiances, we can be thankful that he’s made an already over-the-top franchise even more delightfully absurd. With apologies to Tango and Cash and that live-wire power line they zipped down, there’s never been a buddy comedy prison break as good as this one. —Gonzalez

7. Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

As seen in: Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Take the “candy ass” feud between Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel out of the equation and Luke Hobbs has been a tremendous addition to these movies. My dude approached legendary status within minutes of his introduction in Fast Five, when the Diplomatic Security Service agent steps off a plane lathered in a year’s supply of baby oil and tells a Brazilian police officer to stay the fuck out of his way. Hobbs’s standing as an elite character was then cemented with an epic brawl against Dom that definitely caused a minor earthquake in Rio.

As Hobbs went from foe to family in later films, his feats of superhuman strength have gotten only more ridiculous: He can flex his arm out of a cast (because “daddy’s gotta go to work”), redirect a submarine missile with his bare hands, and pull down a helicopter with a biceps curl like he’s Captain America. What’s left for Hobbs to accomplish after becoming the star of his own spinoff? Well, for starters, he should probably get better at his job. Other than that, there’s nothing Hobbs can’t do—except, it seems, share the screen with Dom anytime in the near future. —Surrey

6. Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges)

As seen in: 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious

Everyone makes jokes about how Tej went from running a garage in Miami in 2 Fast 2 Furious to hacking government security systems in The Fate of the Furious, but you know what? I’m going to defend it.

First of all, Tej was the one who installed the “ejecto seatos,” and that’s not just a normal mechanic job. You can’t just walk into any body shop and be like, “Give me the ejection seat special.” But also in 2 Fast 2 Furious, Tej is partially responsible for gathering hundreds of Miami street racers, getting them all to work in harmony, and setting them loose on a police department after successfully luring a bunch of cops to a desired location. Can you imagine the logistics of this?! The amount of planning, the organizational skills, the critical thinking? It’s mind-blowing stuff.

Now, the years between 2 Fast 2 Furious and Fast Five are admittedly hazy when it comes to Tej. But do you know why he wasn’t heard from? Maybe because he was toiling away getting an IT degree from DeVry University. (I’m guessing. He could’ve picked Capella University instead.) He graduated at the top of his class and got job offers from big firms around the United States. (Again, I’m guessing.) And just as he was about to take a gig with a fancy government agency that even you haven’t heard of, Brian called and summoned him to Brazil. (This is my last guess.) Whatever. Maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that, but honestly, to act like a man with such high-level planning skills and such executional ability couldn’t become one of the best hackers in the world (and one-half of the best comedic relief duo in the Fast franchise) feels downright disrespectful. No more jokes. —Gruttadaro

5. Roman Pearce (Tyrese)

As seen in: 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious
Jonathan Bartlett

In times of stress—like, say, when he and Little Nobody are trying to disable a nuclear submarine—Roman generally resorts to jokes. He’s the court jester of the crew, and his comedic asides have become as baked into the franchise formula as Dom beating up on bad guys. But while most of his scenes are played for laughs, Roman also serves as a necessary avatar for the incredulous audience: “So you all wanted me to break into a police station. Fine. Then you asked me to stop a tank. I wasn’t happy about it, but I did it. Then you came up with this brilliant idea to shoot down one of the largest airplanes ever. I shot that shit out the sky. ... But this right here, my friends, happens to be the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard of in my life.”

Roman wasn’t wrong! Most of the plans the family dreams up are exceedingly stupid! In Furious 7, Roman decides it’s finally his time to lead and tells the gang they should strike a convoy at its most vulnerable point, where they would least expect it. OK, cool. Makes sense. But then the rest of them twist his idea and outfit a bunch of cars with parachutes, which are then dropped out of the back of a military cargo plane. Roman is rightly not thrilled with the perversion of his plan. I mean, I get it. Cars are not supposed to fly. I, too, would be freaked out. Even worse: When Roman explains how mad they’ve all gone and expresses his desire to stay inside the plane with the pilot, rather than be dropped from the plane inside a car with a computer-controlled GPS, Tej strips away his agency, triggers the parachute anyway, and sends Roman plummeting toward the ground against his wishes. That’s messed up. They say you can’t choose your family, but Roman should consider seeking better friends. —Gonzalez

4. Han (Sung Kang)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Furious 6
Jonathan Bartlett

In Tokyo Drift, Han is practically the modern version of Alan Ladd’s titular character in Shane. Almost otherworldly, he comes to the aid of a boy who desperately needs his help, who needs a role model just as much as he needs a protector. Han Lue—a.k.a. Han Seoul-oh, you bet your ass that’s his name—is strong, brave, always eating, cooler than any cool human has ever been. He fights the bad guys and then rides off into the sunset. (Or to his death in a Tokyo intersection.) (Or, actually, maybe he didn’t die?)

Han was such a perfectly drawn character—the cowboy this franchise needed—that the Fast franchise literally disrupted the space-time continuum to get him in more movies. If you’re ever wondering why the third movie in the series actually takes place between the sixth and seventh movies of the series, just know that the answer is “Because Han is cool as shit, man.” I mean, for real, the guy was dating Wonder Woman, and she sacrificed herself for him! In less than a week, the franchise will once again reverse the laws of nature to bring him back. The reason will once again be “Because Han is cool as shit, man.” Presumably he won’t be dispatched so prematurely this time. Though how could he be? Han is timeless. —Gruttadaro

3. Letty (Michelle Rodriguez)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious, Fast & Furious, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious
Jonathan Bartlett

Letty is a lot of things—tough, capable, and, above all, loyal. When Dom realizes the authorities are closing in on him after he and the crew boost a truck in the Dominican Republic, he flees so the heat doesn’t come crashing down on Letty, Han, and the rest. Letty can’t live with being separated, so she tracks down now–FBI agent Brian O’Conner and goes undercover in an attempt to clear Dom’s name and bring him back to the states. That turns out to be a tragic decision that leads to what everyone believes is her death. (She really takes the whole “ride or die” thing to the extreme.) Dom and the family later find out she’s alive. Huzzah! Except she has amnesia and she’s working with bad guy Owen Shaw. Oh no! It takes a while, but Dom eventually convinces Letty that not only have they known each other for much of their formative lives, but they’re also longtime sweethearts and very much in love. Except Letty still can’t shake the fog and regain her memory. Which is when Dom hatches a plan. He drives Letty out to the desert to show her something he’s sure will make her remember everything: a bunch of assholes in the middle of nowhere driving real fast at an event called … of all things … Race Wars.

This part is important. If you had amnesia and a swole bald man in a too-tight tank top drove you into the desert to show you something called … of all things … Race Wars, you might have some questions. And Letty does. “We used to come here?” she asks Dom, still not remembering. To which Dom replies, “Come here? We invented it.” Then Letty just sort of cocks her head. Curiously, she does not ask the swole bald man in a too-tight tank top why in God’s name they would name something … of all things … Race Wars. Nor does she suggest that, you know, considering today’s sociopolitical climate, they ought to consider rebranding this thing they invented to anything other than … of all things … Race Wars. Instead, she goes with it and decides to trust Dom, just as she always has and always will. If that’s not true love, what is? —Gonzalez

2. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious
Jonathan Bartlett

The man, the myth, the deliverer of endearing mumble-monologues about the importance of family. Dom is as synonymous with the franchise as muscle cars and Coronas. (The fact that he didn’t land at the top of this list feels like a grievous and unforgivable error, for which the 10 plagues of Egypt will descend upon the Ringer offices.) You could tell there was something special about Dom from the get-go. He quickly wins over the audience—and the undercover Brian tasked with infiltrating his crew—in The Fast and the Furious with a camaraderie and moral code that belies his gruff exterior. (Said code is best summarized as living life a quarter-mile at a time and being loyal to family.)

“You almost had me? You never had me. You never had your car. Granny shiftin’, not double clutchin’ like you should. You’re lucky that hundred shot of NOS didn’t blow the welds on the intake! You almost had me?” Name a more iconic speech than this, or a more iconic monologue-closing line than this: “Ask any racer. Any real racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”

Without Dom, there is no Fast & Furious as we know it. That much was apparent in the sequels he didn’t star in—2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift, though he did show up for a cameo in the latter—which nearly sent the franchise down the straight-to-DVD route instead of becoming the multibillion-dollar powerhouse it is today. In turn, Vin Diesel became the rare modern movie star who carries IP-driven blockbusters and cinematic universes rather than being defined by them. Dom is, and always will be, the beating heart and NOS-infused engine of this franchise. Salud. —Surrey

1. Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker)

As seen in: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7
Jonathan Bartlett

Brian spends a good portion of his earlier years deeply conflicted. He starts as an undercover cop looking to infiltrate and take down a group of thieves who rob 18-wheelers—until he meets those very thieves, falls in love with Mia, befriends her mastermind brother, and, in the end, lets him elude the authorities rather than face prosecution. O’Conner goes on the run as a result, only to end up working with/for the cops again. He becomes an FBI agent—then throws it all away once more for the Torettos. When he and Mia reconnect for good, they go full Bonnie and Clyde and spring Dom from prison. At that point, there’s no U-turn to be made; Brian has finally chosen to mash the gas pedal and push full speed ahead with his new life, the one he always knew he was better suited to lead even if he denied it for too long. As he tells Dom when they reunite in Fast Five, he “had to make a call”—and shortly thereafter they go zooming off a cliff together, a breathtaking leap of faith that doubles as a not-too-subtle metaphor for their unbreakable bond and forthcoming adventures. Brian’s decision doesn’t afford him much downtime—and even when it does, he hates it—but unlike his fraught and failed days as a lawman, there’s an undeniable Zen that accompanies his time as a full-fledged outlaw. Dom is the patriarch of their clan, but it’s Brian’s actions that ultimately gather everyone around the same table. It was always brighter and better with Brian O’Conner around. May the busta forever rest in peace, with an endless bucket of Coronas at the ready. —Gonzalez

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