John Cena says that his new Fast and Furious 9 character, Jakob Toretto, is the best villain the franchise has ever seen. The new film will add Cena to a veteran Fast ensemble that includes Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Ludacris. Fast and Furious 9 has been delayed multiple times due to COVID-19-induced production delays and theater closures, but it’s finally coming in a staggered international release this summer.
F9: The Fast Saga will introduce Cena as Jakob Toretto, the estranged brother of Vin Diesel’s Dom and Jordana Brewster’s Mia. Jakob enters the story as a villainous agent of Cipher (Charlize Theron), the international cyberterrorist from The Fate of the Furious. The trailers have teased a huge falling-out between Dom and Jakob from years in the past, explaining why the character has never been mentioned in any prior films. Whether Jakob can be redeemed and brought back into the Fast family is one of the biggest questions surrounding the film.
Per ComicBook, Cena discussed his new character’s role in the franchise and paid respect to the series' veteran cast at a recent press event, claiming that Jakob will be the best villain Fast and Furious has ever seen.
“I get to reap the rewards of this family who has poured the foundation and built the structure of a global delivering blockbuster. I get invited into the ninth installment to share the last name Toretto and to be Dom’s greatest adversary of all time. That is not lost. I think it has to start there. It has to start with respect."
Cena’s claim of being Dom’s “greatest adversary” may seem bold at first, as the franchise has featured a number of memorable antagonists for Dom's crew over the years. However, Cena's statement makes sense given his character's history with Dom. Jakob certainly knows his brother better than any of the series’ past adversaries, which makes him an even greater threat. The villains of Fast and Furious have rarely been the focus of the story in past films, so it’s fun to see F9 introduce a bad guy with a real connection to the core cast.
Of course, F9 has a lot of explaining to do to make Jakob work. Dom lives by a family-centric code, and it would take a lot for him to completely abandon his own brother, no matter what had gone on between them. The new film will feature flashbacks to the Torettos’ childhood (with Vin Diesel's own son playing the younger version of Dom), which should help build out Jakob's character and his relationship to Dom and Mia. Whatever the details of his past, Jakob should make for an exciting addition in Fast and Furious 9 and perhaps beyond - depending on what transpires in the story.