As they so often like to say, the Fast and the Furious franchise is about family, both the one you're born with and the one you choose. At the heart of the Fast & Furious family is the core group from the first film; namely, Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto, Michelle Rodriguez's Letty, Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner and Jordana Brewster's Mia Toretto. Following the tragic death of Paul Walker, that family was separated on screen, with Furious 7 providing a fitting sendoff for Brian O'Conner and Mia. But that fond farewell will not be the last we see of Mia Toretto as she will be brought back for Fast and Furious 9. Star and producer Vin Diesel explained:
They asked me specifically, please do not divulge what happens in 9. But I get so excited... and I start talking about it out of excitement. It's like spilling the beans. I can say there are a few locations we've been wanting to travel, and one of them is Africa.... The thing I'm most excited about is the fact that we are finally going to catch up to Mia Toretto in the ninth chapter. And I'm sure if you're smart, you can tell what all of that implies. It's a very positive component to this next one.
Last year, Vin Diesel teased that Jordana Brewster would be returning for the penultimate chapter in the Fast and Furious saga after sitting out The Fate of the Furious, and this basically confirms it. Speaking to Access while promoting the new Fast and Furious ride at Universal Studios, Vin Diesel says he is the most excited about the return of Mia Toretto and he seems to be implying that she will be an integral part of this next film. On the one hand, Jordana Brewster is a important member of this franchise and no doubt fans will be excited to see her. On the other hand, bringing her back raises a lot of questions about what the story is and how her return will work given the way her last appearance in Furious 7 left off.
After the passing of Paul Walker, Furious 7 did a magnificent job finishing the film and providing a fitting and poetic sendoff to fan favorite Brian O'Conner, who has been at the heart of the series since the beginning (minus his absence from Tokyo Drift). As a couple, Brian and Mia go hand in hand, so bringing Mia back without Brian is a tricky proposition and in a way undos the beautiful closing of that chapter. Furious 7 found Brian O'Conner struggling with civilian life and his role as a father like a soldier back from war, missing the blood and bullets of his previous life. At the end, he came to terms with leaving the fast and furious lifestyle behind him, realizing the importance of Mia, his son Jack and his future daughter.
The real question this news raises is how does Fast and Furious 9 bring back Mia in a way that doesn't highlight the absence of Brian or make it seem odd and illogical that he isn't there. Vin Diesel's statement seemed to imply that this wouldn't be just a quick cameo of Mia making a call to her brother, but something more substantial. This is purely speculation, but if I had to guess, Mia will lie and leave Brian at home to go help the team, knowing how easily he will get dragged back in if he goes. I suppose a flashback is also an option, but I doubt it. How a present story appearance would fit in with the team's journey to Africa remains to be seen.
Fast and Furious 9 has been delayed and won't hit until at least 2020, but that doesn't mean that you have to go without your NOS fix. The spinoff film Hobbs and Shaw starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham is scheduled to hit in 2019, and there is weirdly even an Fast & Furious animated series heading to Netflix in the future, so this continually evolving franchise will deliver cars, family and explosions for years to come.