- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “Fast 9.”
- Brian O’Conner isn’t seen in “F9,” but the character’s absence is explained.
- Additionally, the film contains two respectful nods to Brian near the film’s end.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
If you’re wondering whether or not Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner makes some sort of cameo in “Fast 9,” the answer is no.
But the film doesn’t forget about Dom’s brother-in-arms.
Director Justin Lin told Insider he “constantly” considered how to best honor the former franchise star, who died in 2013, in “F9.” He spent a lot of time speaking with Vin Diesel, who is the real-life godfather to Walker’s daughter, Meadow.
“F9” doesn’t just an explanation for Brian’s absence in the latest “Fast and Furious” movie – it also honors the character with two subtle and respectful nods towards the film’s end.
How ‘F9’ explains Brian’s absence: He’s babysitting
When Mia (Jordana Brewster) shows up and is asked about Brian, she announces that Brian is looking after their two children and Dom’s son, little Brian.
The former FBI agent is babysitting the entire movie.
It’s not entirely believable, but fans will likely accept the explanation
It’s a little tough to believe that Brian would let Mia go on a mission and put herself in danger while he stayed home with the kids.
A major focal point of “Furious 7” was that Brian was afraid of becoming domesticated. He missed the thrill of bullets and racing. Of course, Brian settled down by the film’s end, but if there’s really a matter involving Dom that’s so serious, you know he’d be there in a heartbeat to have Dom’s back.
A logical explanation is that, because Mia was in hiding with her child (and eventually kidnapped) in “Fast 6,” it could make sense for Dom and Brian to have one of the team leaders watching over their children in case someone came after them.
Regardless of believability, fans are hyper aware of what Walker means to the franchise and to Diesel, so the film’s explanation for O’Conner’s absence is likely one the audience will accept.
‘F9’ pays tribute to Walker’s character twice
Near the film’s end, in a nod to the end of 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious,” Dom gives Jakob (John Cena) a 10-second car to get away.
Dom delivers a brief, emotional speech, referencing Brian without saying his name.
“Someone once gave me a 10-second car as a second chance. I owe it to you, little brother,” Dom tells Jakob.
Cena told Insider that it was “incredible” to recreate the moment where Brian gave Dom his car to escape the cops.
Later, as Dom, Mia, and the rest of the crew are gathering at the original Toretto house for a meal, an empty seat is left next to Mia for Brian. She mentions he likely won’t make it.
The scene cuts to a blue Nissan Skyline racing up to the house to join the family. It’s inferred the driver of the vehicle is Brian, and the movie ends.
Lin is working on ways to honor Walker in future installments of the ‘Fast Saga’
Don’t expect this to be the final time we see O’Conner referenced in the films. With two more sequels left in the main “Fast” franchise, it’s something Lin takes very seriously and has vowed to get right.
“As we’re moving into closing the saga, obviously there’s a lot of different options,” Lin told Insider of how the next two sequels can respectfully address O’Conner.
“It’s a constant discourse, I would say,” he added. “I hope that, whatever we choose, it continues to be done with the kind of thoughtfulness and respect that I hope to bring.”