The long-running Fast and Furious franchise has been delighting petrolheads for almost two decades now, with its high-octane blend of street racing and action.
Part-action and part-heist, filling the screen with explosions and one outrageous stunt after another, the much-loved franchise has spawned a spin-off in the guise of buddy-cop action Hobbs & Shaw – the ninth instalment in the series.
Due to open in cinemas on Thursday, August 1, Hobbs & Shaw follows two men forced to team up to stop a terrorist threat, with Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and Idris Elba at the centre of the action. Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren are also due to return to fold.
While it’s far from being the biggest film franchise in existence – that dubious honour belongs to the 32 Godzilla films – there are eight Fast and Furious flicks out now, plus the one more on its way and two additional shorts.
The franchise’s timeline can be difficult to follow at times – despite the use of numbers in the film’s titles, fans looking to follow the timeline in chronological order (within its own universe, at least) are required to do a little shuffling.
Below is a guide to watching the films in the proper order, according the franchise’s own storyline.
Fast & Furious films and shorts in order of storyline and setting
The films are in bold while the two shorts are in italics.
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
The one that kick-started it all. 2001’s The Fast and the Furious follows undercover cop Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) as he’s sent to infiltrate a wild crew of hijackers led by former convict Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), before he falls for Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster).
The film received decidedly mixed reviews on its release nearly 20 years ago. Despite some critics praising the action, few, if anyone, predicted it would launch one of the highest grossing franchises of all time.
The Turbo Charged Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
This six-minute short film carries on from the events of the first movie and continues into the second, linking the two films together by explaining how Brian was arrested after letting Dom go in the first film.
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Paul Walker’s Brian is back, but this time as the lead, after he relocates to Miami to begin a new life as an illegal street racer. After getting arrested, he cuts a deal with former boss FBI Agent Bilkins (Thom Barry), who offers him the chance to wipe his criminal record clean if he goes undercover to take down drug kingpin Carter Verone (Cole Hauser).
Brian then chooses his old friend Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson) to be his partner, who would go on to play a big part in future Fast & Furious releases. Nominated for two awards at that year’s Golden Raspberry Awards, 2 Fast 2 Furious didn’t look like it was set to spawn seven follow-ups.
Los Bandoleros (2009)
The second short in the franchise, 2009’s Los Bandoleros details the events prior to Fast & Furious 4, as fugitive Dom – now hiding in the Dominican Republic – plots to steal oil from a tanker and rekindle his relationship with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez).
Fast & Furious 4 (2009)
Fast & Furious 4 is the film that saw the franchise really step up a gear to become one of the biggest selling of all time. Despite being the fourth blockbuster released, its story fits in better here than Tokyo Drift, which was released three years prior. It was also the first film to feature Brian, Dom, Mia and Letty since the 2001 original.
Fast & Furious 4 sees Dom and his newly-assembled crew hijacking fuel tankers in the Dominican Republic five years after escaping from the US, while Brian tries to track down a Mexican drug lord. Meanwhile, the death of Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty early on in the film provides a major story arc across the films.
Fast Five (2011)
Praised as one of, if not the best, film in the series, Fast Five saw the introduction of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as DSS agent Luke Hobbs, who won plaudits for reigniting the franchise.
2011’s Fast Five saw the franchise shift focus from street racing to more heist-centred action, and it was a move that worked out well. The plot sees the gang flee to Brazil after breaking Dom out of a prison bus. They quickly get captured by crime lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), who they later plan to rob. Meanwhile, Johnson’s Hobbs arrives to arrest Brian and Dom and extradite them to the US.
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
After successfully robbing Reyes in the previous film, the crew are now living happily – and peacefully – all over the world. Predictably enough, though, before long the peace is shattered when DSS Hobbs asks Dom to help capture ex-SAS soldier Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), whose gang includes Dom’s wife Letty – who audiences all thought had been murdered in Fast & Furious 4. In an incredible post-credits reveal, Jason Statham makes an appearance as the man responsible for Han Lue’s (Sung Kang) death, which ties the chronology neatly into 2006’s Tokyo Drift (which, in terms of storyline, comes next) while also setting the scene for Furious 7.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Technically the third Fast & Furious film to be released, but chronologically fitting into the timeline between Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7, 2006’s Tokyo Drift sees the plot move entirely away from Brian and Dom and instead focus on student Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), who is forced to move to Japan with his father to avoid jail for illegal street racing.
While the film serves as a neat instalment to tie the whole series together thanks to Han’s death, it was criticised for its confused plot, underwhelming action sequences and poor acting, and is the lowest-grossing film in the entire franchise.
Furious 7 (2015)
In Furious 7, we finally get to really meet Jason Statham’s character Deckard Shaw, who wants revenge after Dom’s team put his brother Owen Shaw into a coma. The film also properly introduces Boswell into the franchise after 2006’s Tokyo Drift, but it also means we say goodbye to Han, since that arc has been wrapped up.
Tragically, Paul Walker died in a car crash during the filming of Furious 7, making this the last time we see his character Brian.
The Fate of the Furious (2017)
In 2017’s Fate of the Furious, Dom is blackmailed into working for cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron), who is the brains behind the villains of the previous two films. Meanwhile, Hobbs recruits Dom’s team to help track down an EMP device from Berlin.
An important element of the film is the eventual reconciliation of Deckard and Hobbs, since the pair will star in the upcoming spin-off.
Dom also names his baby – captured earlier in the film by Cipher – Brian, in a moving homage to his friend.
Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
The newest instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise sees frenemies Hobbs and Shaw form an unlikely partnership in order to stop Idris Elba’s genetically-enhanced super villain Brixton Lore from destroying the human race.
The pair lead the action in this latest spin-off, out on August 1, following their scene-stealing performances in Furious’ 6 and 7. Expect carnage.