It was a hammer blow for the actor’s friends, family, colleagues and fans when Paul Walker tragically died at the age of just 40 in 2013, but the Fast & Furious franchise has kept his memory alive. There was barely a dry eye in the house when the seventh installment drew to a close and sent Brian O’Conner riding off into the sunset one last time, and he’s still part of the mythology to this day.
The eighth and ninth entries in the series have made several notable references to Brian, of course, and director Justin Lin confirmed that the character remains very much alive and thriving within the timeline. His arc has always been directly tied to the Toretto family, and his onscreen love Jordana Brewster is set to make a much bigger impact in F9 than she has in many of the previous blockbusters.
In a new interview, Brewster explained why Mia has been drawn back into the thick of the action having played a more passive role over the last few years, while also outlining that Paul Walker and Brian O’Conner will both continue to be part of the ever-expanding Fast & Furious universe into the future.
“The way I came back was sort of an evolution. First I thought, ‘Okay, there’s a chance I won’t come back, I guess’, and then slowly it sort of evolved where it became clear that I was coming back. We just needed for it to make sense, and with Jakob coming back, with Jakob coming in, it absolutely makes sense for me to be there. And the fact is, Brian will always be a part of the universe. When I heard Justin and Vin were handling it, I knew that Mia’s entry and also Brian’s legacy, all of it would be handled with grace. So I didn’t feel like I had to be like, these are my hard lines, because I trust those guys completely.”
Seeing as the entire plot hinges around the long-lost third Toretto sibling Jakob making an appearance after having never been mentioned once in the last 20 years, it was only logical to assume that Mia would be heavily involved, presumably to try and act as some kind of buffer between her two jacked siblings. It’s clearly important for the major players involved in Fast & Furious to continue paying tribute to Walker’s legacy both on the screen and off, and that’s something that could add even more emotional heft to the concluding tenth and eleventh chapters.