I don’t have friends. I got a franchise (that’s really into continuity). Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Vin Diesel and his trusty Dodge Charger in Furious 7.
Scott Garfield / Universal Pictures
The Fast and Furious movies are unapologetic celebrations of awesome automobiles, scantily clad women, and bald dudes bulging with muscle. They're so manly that they're actually deeply sentimental — and with good reason in Furious 7, during the shooting of which star Paul Walker died. The films' joyful silliness makes their attention to detail all the more gratifying, because it's so unasked for. Who would expect such a sense of continuity from films that found a way to have skydiving cars?
Now seven installments strong, the franchise has a complicated timeline — in chronological order, the films run 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 3, 7 — and an increasingly deep bench of characters. And yet, the further it gets from its humble beginnings as a Point Break ripoff about street racing, the more it references its own history. Here are 15 of its callbacks, cameos, and references to past movies.
1. Jason Statham plays the brother that Luke Evans’ character mentioned in Furious 6.
Jason Statham in Furious 7
Having your new bad guy be the surprise sibling your earlier bad guy never mentioned (because the screenwriters hadn't invented him yet) is the standard hand-waving stuff of action movies. Consider Simon Peter Gruber, the villain of Die Hard With a Vengeance, who's played by Jeremy Irons, and who's revealed to be the brother of Hans Gruber, the villain from the first Die Hard.
But Deckard Shaw (Statham) was mentioned in Furious 6. Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) teed up his eventual arrival while trying to ward off Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) on the streets of London. “You know, when I was young, my brother always used to say, 'Every man has to have a code.' Mine? Precision,” Owen said. Later, Dom asked, “Your brother never told you, 'Never threaten a man's family'?” When Statham showed up in the end-credits scene in Furious 6, all he said was, “Dominic Toretto! You don't know me. You're about to.” It's not until Furious 7 that we learn Dom does know Deckard, or at least knows of him, because he's the man from Owen's anecdote.