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Last Friday, the first trailer for Fast & Furious 9, a.k.a. F9, dropped, and in it we learned that John Cena is playing the ripped Jakob, a master thief and assassin, and more importantly, Dominic and Mia Loretto’s estranged brother. The preview revealed that Jakob Toretto’s been recruited by Charlize Theron’s Cipher to kill Dom, but for those who have now labeled Jakob as F9’s villain, Cena says that’s “not true.” In his words:
We'll leave it for the audience, we'll leave it for the Fast family around the world to decide who's bad and who's good. Keep in mind, the trailer shows just enough for you to have a ton of questions -- and me not to be able to answer any of them!
Vin Diesel agreed with John Cena’s comment when the two of them spoke with ET at The Road to F9 fan fest, adding that the characters in the Fast & Furious saga are “multidimensional” and not “cookie-cutter.” So while on the outset it looks like Jakob Toretto is firmly in villain territory, there’s more to this than meets the eye. For now, Cena understandably has to keep quiet when it comes to specific details about his character.
Judging by the first F9 trailer, there’s definitely no love lost between Dom and Jakob, and those two will get into several tussles over the course of the movie. Nevertheless, there are two big questions that need answering. One, why have Dom and Mia been estranged from Jakob for so long? Second, why is Jakob targeting Dom and his family now?
I suspect fans will have to wait until F9 is playing in theaters to learn the answer to the first question, but regarding the second, it looks like Cipher has a hand in getting Jakob Toretto out of jail so he can be involved in her latest scheme. When we last saw Cipher in The Fate of the Furious, her machinations had been foiled by Dom and the gang, but she managed to elude capture. Dom had been helping Cipher because she was holding his son hostage, but once young Brian was safe, Dom turned the tables on her, so it’s no wonder she wants revenge.
Using Jakob against Dom is a good way for Cipher to mess with the latter’s head, on top of carrying out whatever new terrorist plot she has in the works. That said, if John Cena’s saying that it’s not true that Jakob is F9’s villain, that might suggest that at some point, the character will have a change of heart. If that is indeed the case, would he sacrifice himself to atone for his crimes, or would he become a member of the Fast “family” by the end of the movie?
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time in the Fast & Furious franchise that a villain has become an ally. That happened with both Deckard and Owen Shaw in The Fate of the Furious, although in Deckard’s case, there was outcry from fans that he was embraced by the protagonists despite having killed Han Lue. Granted, we now know that Han actually survived and is taking part in F9, but still.
With a little under four months to go until F9’s release, much of the movie’s plot remains shrouded in secrecy, but John Cena’s Jakob Toretto is far from the only new character being introduced. Other new cast members include Michael Rooker, Cardi B, Finn Cole, Anna Sawai, Vinnie Bennett, Ozuna and Francis Ngannou. F9 will also bring back characters like Jordana Brewster’s Mia Toretto, Helen Mirren’s Magdalene Shaw, Lucas Black’s Sean Boswell and Jason Tobin’s Earl.
Fast & Furious 9 races into theaters on May 22, and don’t forget to look through our 2020 release schedule to figure out what else hits the big screen this year.