Jordana Brewster’s Mia Toretto is a crucial figure in the Fast & Furious franchise. As one of the few characters from the 2001 original film who still appears in the latest installments viewers have seen her grow and develop over the course of more than 20 years, she is a reminder of how far the franchise has come. However, her appearance in Fast X, unfortunately, highlights that the time has come for the character to be written out of the series for the sake of both her story and that of her partner, the late Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner.
Mia’s History in the Fast & Furious Franchise
In The Fast and the Furious Mia is the first member of the Toretto found family to meet Brian, who makes himself a regular at the grocery store the family runs. As he ingratiates himself to the rest of the family he and Mia begin a romantic relationship. This leads to her being heartbroken when Brian reveals that he is an undercover police officer investigating to see whether or not Mia’s brother Dom (Vin Diesel) and his team were responsible for a string of daring highway robberies, which they were.
Mia was able to put her hurt feelings aside, however, and work with Brian to rescue Dom and company when their latest heist endangered their lives. She remained angry with Brian for five years and told him as much when they were reunited in 2009’s Fast and Furious. In that film Dom and Brian are forced to work together to take down a drug cartel they believe is responsible for the death of Dom’s lover Leticia “Letty” Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez). As Brian works with Dom Mia begins to forgive him and eventually the pair resume their relationship.
How Does the Fast & Furious Franchise Handle Brian’s Send-off?
In 2011’s Fast Five, while on the run after freeing Dom from imprisonment, Mia reveals that she is pregnant and she gives birth to her and Brian’s son Jack in 2013’s Furious 6. In 2015’s Furious 7 she learns that she is pregnant again but is hesitant to tell Brian because she is afraid that he will grow bored with their family and begin to miss his adventurous outlaw lifestyle. Eventually, she does tell him that she is carrying a baby girl when she becomes concerned that the team’s mission to take down Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) could cost Brian his life. Brian is elated to hear the news and confirms that he is more than happy with his life with Mia. The film ends by showing Brian retiring from the outlaw life to devote himself to fatherhood in a heartfelt and acclaimed tribute to Walker, who died before the film was completed.
While it was somewhat unfortunate that Brian’s send-off essentially wrote Mia out of the series as well, doing so was the most natural and effective way to give the characters a happy ending in the wake of Walker’s death. Both characters were entirely absent from 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, with Letty (who was revealed to be alive in Furious 6) noting that the team had agreed not to involve them in further missions and the group kept to this agreement, even when Dom’s apparent betrayal left them at a startling disadvantage. In F9: The Fast Saga Letty contradicted herself and reached out to Mia to help deal with the team’s current crisis. Although this raised some questions about why Brian wouldn’t get involved these were easily dismissed because the antagonist of the film was Dom and Mia’s estranged brother Jakob (John Cena). That being the case it was easy for the viewer to accept that Mia felt the need to involve just herself, presumably leaving Brian to watch the kids.
Mia’s Role in ‘Fast X’ Is Awkward
Mia’s role in Fast X is much more awkward. Brewster only has what amounts to a glorified cameo in the new film, with Mia called in to watch Dom’s son Brian Marcos (Leo Abelo Perry) when Dom and Letty leave to battle Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa). Mia and young Brian play video games until they are attacked by mercenaries working for Dante. Mia fights some of the men off but is eventually about to be overwhelmed when she and Brian are rescued by a reformed Jakob. Afterward, Mia leaves her nephew in Jakob’s care, saying that she is going to check on Brian O’Conner and their children. Mia’s role neither contributes anything important to the plot, as young Brian simply could have been given to Jakob as soon as Dom and company learned about Dante’s threat nor does it develop her character in any meaningful way.
In addition, the reference to Brian O’Conner highlights the disconnect between the films’ continuity and reality in an uncomfortable way. Despite his desire to leave the outlaw life behind it is out of character for Brian to not get involved in the fight against Dante, given the threat the villain poses to the rest of his found family. It is even more egregious to see Mia in danger when her partner is apparently safe offscreen somewhere. The majority of viewers, or at least adolescent and adult ones, are likely aware of Walker’s death, so they know why Brian can’t come to the rescue, but this relies on behind-the-scenes knowledge that lessens immersion in the world of the story.
In order to avoid this kind of uncomfortable distraction, it is sadly best that future films do not include Mia’s character, barring perhaps one more comeback in whatever the franchise’s actual final installment is. This way viewers can go back to imagining that she is safe and happy with Brian without being constantly reminded of the real-life tragedy that prevents him from appearing in the new films.