Characters Who Shifted Loyalties in the Fast & Furious Franchise

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With a Fast & Furious movie, audiences know they are getting loads of thrilling action, heart-stopping stunts, and, of course, mechanized mayhem. Fans of the franchise also know that there is a pretty good chance that the villain from one movie will most likely be an ally in the next.

It’s not just bad guys and gals who switch sides in these exciting car racing films, often the heroes become villains, even if their reasons are ultimately good. In a Fast & Furious film, it’s a safe bet that there will be a lot of wrecked cars, that someone who was dead will come back to life, and that a major character will flip allegiances.

Updated by Jordan Iacobucci on February 7, 2024: Fast and Furious 11 is in the works as the franchise steers closer and closer to the end of the road. As audiences prepare for the final battle between Dominic Toretto’s crew and Dante Reyes, there’s no telling which characters may flip sides and betray their former comrades, just as so many Fast & Furious characters have before.

13 Owen Shaw Casually Helped The Crew

Owen Shaw from the Fast and the Furious franchise
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Actor Appearances
Luke Evans Fast and Furious 6 Furious 7 The Fate of the Furious

Owen Shaw was one of the most frightening villains that Dom’s crew faced in the Fast Saga. Acting as the main villain of Fast and Furious 6, Shaw assembled his own team of racers and thieves to counteract Dom’s, leading them on a massive heist around the world.

Although Shaw was depicted as a conniving villain in his first appearance, he made a surprising redemptive turn in The Fate of the Furious when he joined his brother Deckard in saving Dom’s kidnapped son. In his return, Shaw is more of a free agent than the horrible villain he was in Fast and Furious 6.

12 Riley Hicks Betrayed Dom’s Crew

Gina Carano as Riley Hicks in Fast and Furious 6
Actor Appearances
Gina Carano Fast and Furious 6

Like many other installments of the franchise, Fast and Furious 6 featured a major betrayal by someone claiming to be an ally of Dominic Toretto and his team. Riley Hicks, a DSS agent helping Luke Hobbs, is eventually revealed to be a traitor, planted by Owen Shaw from the very beginning.

Riley’s betrayal helped Shaw gain the upper hand against both Dom and the DSS, taking everyone by surprise. She ends up becoming the evil counterpart of Letty Ortiz, leading to an epic confrontation between the two women, which ended with Riley being harpooned out of a moving airplane.

11 Aimes Was A Spy For Dante Reyes

Fast X's Aimes (Alan Ritchson) with smoke behind him.
Actor Appearances
Alan Ritchson Fast X

Alan Richson portrays Aimes, a brand new character in Fast X. Initially introduced as an agent in Mr. Nobody’s organization, Aimes spends much of the film hunting down Dom when he is framed for a terrorist bombing in Rome. However, he joins forces with Dom after catching up to him, becoming an ally in the fight against Dante Reyes—until it is revealed that he had been working with the crime lord from the very beginning.

Aimes betrays Dom in Fast X, using a rocket launcher to shoot a plane full of his friends out of the sky. The film ends in a massive cliffhanger as audiences are left to wonder if Aimes just killed fan-favorite characters like Roman, Tej, and Ramsey.

10 Brian O’Conner Takes Being a Narc Out of Park

Brian O'conner (Paul Walker) in Furious 7 talking to Dom (Vin Diesel) through a car window.
Actor Appearances
Paul Walker The Fast and the Furious 2 Fast 2 Furious Fast & Furious Fast Five Fast and Furious 6 Furious 7 Fast X (archive)

The Fast and the Furious, the first film in the franchise, is curious because there is no clear-cut main protagonist or antagonist. Undercover cop, Brian O’Conner could be the hero and street racer, Dominic Toretto could be the villain, but it’s just as easy to perceive those roles reversed. Dom had a sweet ’70 Charger R/T while Bri was driving a Mitsubishi, so that’s kind of a clue.

Since Toretto is the hero of the rest of the films, it stands to reason he is as well in the first. Additionally, O’Conner is the one who betrays Toretto, so he’s the bad guy. Fortunately, O’Conner has a change of heart and flips sides and then puts his entire life and career on the line to save Torretto in Fast & Furious, becoming a member of the crew.

9 Han Lue Drifts Back From the Dead

Han Lue (Sung Kang) eats a snack in fast & Furious
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Actor Appearances
Sung Kang The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Fast & Furious Fast Five Fast and Furious 6 Furious 7 F9: The Fast Saga Fast X

Han Lue switching allegiances isn’t as easy as going from good to evil. In The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Han’s car is T-boned, and he is seemingly killed. Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious, all take place before Tokyo Drift, and in the end credits of the sixth installment, it is revealed that Han was killed by Deckard Shaw.

In F9, Letty and Mia are tracking down a potential villain who turns out to be Han, who faked his own death. Han had been working undercover with Mr. Nobody, the head of a super-secret government agency. While it’s unclear if Han was technically a bad guy, he did switch his allegiance from Dominic’s crew to a covert-ops group that probably did some bad things.

8 Memories of Letty Ortiz

Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) strapped down to a gurney in the trailer for Fast X
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Actor Appearances
Michelle Rodriguez The Fast and the Furious Fast & Furious Fast and Furious 6 Furious 7The Fate of the Furious F9: The Fast Saga Fast X

Leticia “Letty” Ortiz starts out the Fast & Furious movies as Dominic’s girlfriend and ends up being his wife. In the interim, she was killed, came back to life, and was briefly in cahoots with a super-villain. In Fast & Furious, Letty went undercover to help nail a Mexican drug lord, in an attempt to clear Dominic’s criminal record, but was killed.

In the mid-credits of Furious Five, it was hinted that Letty wasn’t actually dead and possibly working for another crew. With Fast & Furious 6, it turns out that Letty didn’t die, but did sustain amnesia. She then went to work for criminal mastermind, Owen Shaw. Even after she accepted the fact that Shaw was evil and Dominic was the good guy, her memory didn’t return until Furious 7.

7 The Double Lives of Elena Neves

Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) in front of a car in Fast & Furious franchise
Actor Appearances
Elsa Pataky Fast Five Fast and Furious 6 Furious 7The Fate of the Furious

Another one of Dominic’s love interests, Elena Neves, started out as a member of the Rio Military Police, tasked with bringing down the crew. Elena was recruited by US Special Agent Luke Hobbs to bust up Dominic’s heist plans in Fast Five

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. After Dominic saved her life, she began to see him as the hero, not the villain, and they fell in love.

Having left law enforcement behind, Elena was now part of the crew and even had a baby with Dominic. Things were going great until Letty, Dom’s true love, came back to life. Elena then became the first Fast & Furious character to double-flip allegiances as she joined Hobbs’ in the United States Diplomatic Security Service.

6 Luke Hobbs Is a One-Man Mob

Actor Appearances
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Fast Five Fast and Furious 6 Furious 7 The Fate of the Furious Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw Fast X
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US DSS Agent Luke Hobbs started off in the Fast & Furious franchise as a government agent who would stop at nothing to arrest Dominic Toretto and his crew in Fast Five. At the end of that movie, Hobbs appeared to soften his position, and by Fast & Furious 6, he approached the crew to help take down Owen Shaw in exchange for having their criminal records wiped out.

Once an enemy of the crew, he became a valuable ally in the subsequent films, providing not only support but also hooking them up with amazing cars. Hobbs was also a sworn enemy of Deckard Shaw, but they worked their differences out in The Fate of the Furious and the stand-alone spin-off Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.

5 Deckard Shaw Plays With a Stacked Deck

Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) drives a car in The Fate of the Furious
Actor Appearances
Jason Statham Fast and Furious 6 Furious 7 The Fate of the Furious Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw F9: The Fast Saga Fast X

Deckard Shaw is the older brother of Owen Shaw, the terrorist from Fast & Furious 6, who was put into a coma by Hobbs and Dominic’s crew. Deckard devised a revenge plan to make everyone who hurt his brother pay, including seemingly killing Han and blowing up Dominic’s house in Furious 7. Naturally, he was defeated and sent to prison, but that wasn’t the end of his story

In The Fate of the Furious, Deckard starts off with hostilities toward the crew, but by the end of the movie, puts his life on the line to save Dominick’s son from the cyber-terrorist Cipher and becomes a member of the crew. Deckard got an end credits cameo in F9 and appeared briefly in Fast X, indicating he will play an important role as an ally in the 11th installment.

4 Jakob Toretto Is a Brother In Blood

Jakob Toretto (John Cena) drives his car in Fast X.
Actor Appearances
John Cena F9: The Fast Saga Fast X

Dominic blamed his brother Jakob for their father’s death and banished him from the family. Jakob Torretto is the second Fast & Furious character to double-flip allegiances. He started out working for Mr. Nobody but then went rogue, teaming up with a millionaire scumbag terrorist known simply as Otto.

The brothers were at each other’s throats in F9, but after Otto double-crossed Jakob, he teamed up with Dominic to stop the evil plan. Eventually, Dominick forgave Jakob, and he was welcomed back into the family. In Fast X, Jakob sacrificed himself to save Dominic’s son, but in the Fast & Furious universe, nobody is truly dead.

3 It Takes a Lot to Decipher Cipher

Charlize Theron as Cipher in The Fate of the Furious
Actor Appearances
Charlize Theron The Fate of the Furious F9: The Fast Saga Fast X

Cipher is the worst villain in the Fast & Furious franchise as the antagonist for two and a half movies. In The Fate and the Furious, she kills the mother of Dominic’s son, Elena. In F9, she almost kills the entire crew, and for the first half of Fast X, she’s still rotten to the core. It also revealed that she was behind Owen Shaw’s plan in Fast & Furious 6, so she’s got almost four F&F movies as a villain.

Fast X starts off with Cipher engaged in villainy, but there’s a hint that she may be turning into an ally when she warns Dominic about the film’s bad guy, Dante. Cipher is captured and imprisoned in a hospital prison that performs Nazi-like experiments. It just so happens that Letty is in the same prison, which is in Antarctica, and the two women join forces to escape after an epic fight.

2 Gisele Yashar Ghosted the Crew

Gisele Yashar (Gal Gadot) in a promotional photo for Fast and Furious.
Actor Appearances
Gal Gadot Fast & Furious Fast Five Fast and Furious 6 Fast X

Gisele Yashar died in the climax of Fast & Furious in a way that left no doubt that she was dead, but again, nobody is ever really gone in the franchise. At the end of Fast X, she shows up in a nuclear sub to rescue Cipher and Letty from the Antarctic prison hospital, and it’s indicated that she’s been working for Cipher for a while.

The nuclear sub is presumably the same one from The Fate and the Furious, so presumably Gisele has been a Cipher stooge for several movies. Even if that’s not the case, Cipher only turned good recently, and arranging for the sub rescue means that Gisele was with Cipher when she was evil. Either Gisele flipped allegiances, or this is a Fast & Furious plot hole so big that the entire crew can drive their cars through it.

1 Dominic Toretto Is the Family Guy

Actor Appearances
Vin Diesel The Fast and the Furious The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Fast & FuriousFast Five Fast and Furious 6 Furious 7 The Fate of the Furious F9: The Fast Saga Fast X

In The Fate of the Furious, Dominic Toretto suddenly turned his back on the crew, which was uncharacteristic for someone who put so much value on family. As it turns out, that was the reason for his apparent betrayal, because Cipher had kidnapped his son and blackmailed him into helping her carry out her sinister plan. Unlike many of the allegiance flips, this one was an act while Dom worked out his own plan.

Far from the knucklehead grease monkey he appears to be on the surface, Dominic is a master strategist and plays Cipher like a chump, completely dismantling her “perfect” crime. He was playing 3-D chess while she was playing checkers and lulled her into a false sense of security before blowing up her entire plan. Dominic Toretto was the hero from the beginning of the Fast & Furious franchise, and nobody can flip that switch off.

The Fast and the Furious Film Poster
Fast and Furious

Fast & Furious is an American media franchise centered on a series of action films that are largely concerned with street racing, heists, spies, and family.

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