While "The Fast and the Furious" franchise most readily conjures images of muscular men and their even more muscly cars, women have always been an integral part of the "Fast" family. And no woman is more tightly woven into the fabric of "The Fast and the Furious" than Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez). While Letty doesn’t appear in every "Fast" film (nor does anyone else, for that matter), her presence has had a significant impact on every aspect of the series.
Introduced as Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) girlfriend in "The Fast and the Furious," Letty has gone through quite the journey as the "Fast Saga" has progressed, navigating her way through a series of major life changes that even include being declared legally dead at one point. While she’s always been an indispensable member of Dom’s crew, she’s also evolved tremendously in her own right. From her early beginnings to the action superstar she is now, here’s Letty Ortiz’s entire "Fast and Furious" timeline.
Letty and Dom grew up as neighbors and friends
Long before Letty Ortiz and Dominic Toretto were an unstoppable street racing and thieving team, they were childhood friends and neighbors in Los Angeles. As a child, Letty’s interest in cars developed around the same time as her interest in the boy down the street, although let’s be clear — Letty’s interest in cars was entirely her own, independent of any burgeoning adolescent romantic feelings she may have had toward her neighbor.
For a while, Letty’s crush on Dom went only one way, but once she turned 16, he suddenly took notice. The two started dating shortly thereafter, and they remained together for many years to follow. Also as a teenager, Letty developed a taste for street racing, and she gave teenage Dom a run for his money — which ended in both cars crashing and Letty having to save Dom’s life by pulling him from the wreckage. Letty also began dabbling in crime at a young age, pulling small-scale heists with Dom and his sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster).
The Fast and Furious duo live a life of street racing and highway robbery
As Letty and Dom grow up, so do their ambitions, graduating from petty theft to high-speed highway robbery. And when we meet them in "The Fast and the Furious," the duo and their crew — made up of long-time friends — have managed to spin up a pretty successful operation stealing DVD players off of highway-bound 18-wheelers. They’re so successful, in fact, that an LAPD officer, Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), goes undercover to infiltrate their operation.
Letty isn’t immediately sold on Brian, but she’s loyal to Dom, who forms a fast friendship with the undercover cop. In the meantime, Letty and Dom both regularly participate in Race Wars, a local (and extremely unfortunately named) street racing tournament where victors can win piles of cash or even the pink slips to each other’s cars. Letty is a top contender at Race Wars, and she frequently leaves her competitors in the dust. Eventually, though, all of Letty’s plans come crashing down when Brian reveals his true identity and their criminal operation is exposed. Brian ultimately decides to let Dom go rather than arrest him, but his new status as a wanted criminal forces Dom to go on the run, leaving Letty behind.
Her search for Dom
Although Dom disappears from L.A. without a trace in 2004, a lifetime of loyalty and romance encourages Letty to keep hoping that they can one day reunite. She spends the next five years searching for him and eventually manages to track him down in the Dominican Republic. It’s immediately evident that Dom didn’t exactly remain faithful to Letty during that time, but that doesn’t appear to bother her. Rather, Letty and Dom pick up right where they left off, both romantically and professionally, as she finds Dom in the middle of planning a new heist.
It turns out that while hiding out in the Dominican Republic, Dom has become aware of a problem with the local fuel supply. Due to rising oil and gas prices, there’s a serious fuel shortage among local towns, with prices sky high whenever people are lucky enough to find it. After a local policeman gives Dom a tip with details about an upcoming gasoline shipment, Dom decides to steal it in a Robin Hood-like endeavor (which will also pay him and his crew pretty handsomely). Letty throws her hat in the ring without hesitation, and she becomes an integral part of the plan.
Dom and Letty get married in secret
After reuniting in the Dominican Republic, Letty and Dom waste no time in rekindling their romantic relationship and committing to each other once and for all. Sometime in the midst of planning the fuel heist, they sneak off to a local church and get married in an intimate ceremony, with just the two of them and a priest. It’s a little unclear just how much planning goes into their secret nuptials. On the one hand, Letty somehow manages to come up with an entire wedding ensemble, complete with white dress, flowing train, and flower crown (but Dom doesn’t even manage to change out of his tank top). On the other, it seems it was pretty spur of the moment since the couple doesn’t even have the opportunity to get rings.
Fortunately, Dom has something even more meaningful — his silver cross necklace, which he gives to Letty as a token of his love and commitment to her. As the priest wraps the chain of the cross around their joined hands, Dom tells Letty, "We have eternity in this moment." In response, Letty promises him, "You will never be alone again. I vow wherever you go, I go. You ride, I ride. You fight, I fight. And if you ever die on me, Dominic Toretto, I’m gonna die with you." So, pretty much the most "Fast and Furious" wedding vows imaginable.
Letty and Dom pull a fuel tanker heist, which draws unwanted attention
In lieu of a honeymoon, the newly married Dom and Letty rejoin their crew to go execute the fuel heist. Letty has one of the more active roles in the plan, jumping from Dom’s speeding car onto the back of the truck and breaking individual tankers off with liquid nitrogen. Unfortunately, the driver soon spots her, and the whole plan goes quickly downhill from there. Although Letty manages to free a few of the tankers, she has to bail out onto the hood of Dom’s car before the last one goes careening off a cliff, causing a massive explosion.
While the crew still comes away from the heist with a hefty pile of cash, the incident draws the attention of law enforcement, putting pressure on the gang to quickly disperse. But even though Letty resolves to stick by Dom’s side, he realizes that his fugitive status puts her at risk, and he sneaks away in the middle of the night, leaving her with a stack of cash and his cross necklace, symbolizing their marriage.
She goes undercover for Brian O’Conner, which leads to her apparent death
After realizing that Dom has abandoned her yet again in an effort to keep her safe, Letty decides to take matters into her own hands and contacts Brian O’Conner, who’s now working for the FBI. In exchange for Brian’s promise to secure a pardon for Dom, allowing him to come home, Letty agrees to go undercover with drug dealer Arturo Braga (John Ortiz) as one of his drivers transporting drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border.
However, once she’s embedded in Braga’s team, she uncovers a plot by Fenix Calderon (Laz Alonso), one of Braga’s men, to kill the other drivers. Fearing for her life, Letty attempts to flee, but she’s chased down by Fenix, who rams into her car, flipping it over, and leaving her injured. When he sees Letty has survived the crash and is trying to crawl free of the wreckage, Fenix shoots the car, triggering an explosion that he assumes kills her. Unbeknownst to Fenix, though, the explosion doesn’t kill Letty but throws her into the underbrush, where she’s later found by Gisele Yashar (Gal Gadot), one of Braga’s employees, who brings her to the hospital.
Having lost her memories, Letty is recruited by Owen Shaw
Two days after being admitted to the hospital, Braga sends mercenary Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) to kill Letty upon learning she was working for the FBI. However, upon arriving at the hospital, Shaw realizes that she’s suffering from amnesia and has no knowledge of her past actions or loyalties. However, her skills are still intact, and Shaw realizes she can be an asset to him and his crew. Instead of killing her, he offers her a role on his team, which she readily accepts. Letty spends the next few years as part of Shaw’s team, working as a precision driver and mercenary, taking whatever illegal jobs Shaw sees fit to assign her.
Eventually, this puts Letty back in contact with Dom and her old crew, although she doesn’t recognize any of them. Having just learned that she’s alive and not realizing Letty has amnesia, Dom attempts to speak to her, but she shoots him and flees, viewing him as the enemy. However, repeated encounters with Dom intrigue Letty since he seems to know more about her than anyone else. But even though Dom tells her some stories about her past and gives the cross necklace back to her, Letty refuses to switch sides and remains loyal to Shaw.
Letty shifts her loyalties
Unfortunately for Letty, although she insists on remaining loyal to Shaw, he has no such loyalty to her. While Letty continues to assist her boss in his schemes, he gets angry with her when she pushes back against his actions — specifically, running over innocent drivers on the highway with a stolen tank. Irritated, Shaw sends Letty out of the tank, ordering her to climb on top of it and remove a cable attaching it to a car, knowing that she’ll likely be thrown to her death right in front of Dom. To Shaw, Letty is expendable, and he’s willing to get her killed solely to get under Dom’s skin.
However, seeing what’s about to happen just in the nick of time, Dom is able to save Letty in a dangerous gamble, catching her in midair just before she falls. Later, when Shaw and his people are being arrested, Dom stands up for Letty, claiming her as one of his crew. After realizing that Dom was willing to sacrifice his life in order to save her, Letty decides to rejoin Dom’s crew, even though she still doesn’t remember them. After defeating Shaw for good, Letty and Dom become romantically involved again — with Dom’s current girlfriend, Elena (Elsa Pataky), graciously stepping aside and Dom agreeing to patiently wait for Letty to regain her memories.
She breaks up with Dom again until she can get her memories back
After spending some time together and competing again in Race Wars (which, bafflingly, still insists on keeping that name) in the hopes of jogging her memory, Letty finally decides that it’s too hard to be involved with someone who’s known her for her whole life while she can’t remember any of it. Although she understands Dom loves her, she can’t bring herself to stay with him, knowing she’s incapable of sharing the lifetime of memories he has of her. Until she can remember her past, she decides to break things off with Dom.
Still, even though she and Dom have broken up, that doesn’t mean she’s left Dom’s crew. She assists him in the rescue of elite hacker Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) in a ludicrous plan that involves — among other things — parachuting in cars out of a plane. Eventually, after completing their mission, Dom returns the cross necklace to Letty before heading off to take on Owen Shaw’s brother, Deckard (Jason Statham) — who’s made it his mission to murder Dom’s entire crew — once and for all. When Dom is injured after defeating Deckard, Letty holds him in her lap, telling him that she remembers everything, including their marriage in the Dominican Republic.
Letty and Dom decide to finally take their honeymoon
Somewhere in the vicinity of five years after their wedding, Dom and Letty finally take their long-overdue honeymoon in Havana, where they relax, discuss the possibility of someday having a baby, and — what else — street race. However, unbeknownst to Letty, Dom is waylaid during their Havana trip by a cyberterrorist named Cipher (Charlize Theron), who blackmails Dom into working for her.
After leaving Havana, Dom and Letty head to Berlin to assist Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in stealing an EMP. As they drive off following the heist, Letty can tell something is bothering Dom, but when she asks him if he’s okay, he just says he’ll see her "when it’s done." Moments later, Dom betrays the team, running Hobbs off the road and stealing the EMP for Cipher. Letty is shocked, having a hard time believing that Dom would go rogue, especially without telling her, and she spends time looking sadly at photos of the two of them together while the rest of the team tries to make sense of Dom’s betrayal.
Even after Dom betrays the team, Letty never loses faith
Although the rest of the team sees no option but to accept that Dom isn’t who they thought he was, Letty remains confident in his character, reminding Ramsey of the time that Dom saved her life. Even though she doesn’t understand what he’s doing, Letty is sure there’s something more going on that will make sense of Dom’s actions … even when the bad guys break into their base and Cipher kisses Dom right in front of Letty, despite Letty’s pleading for him not to turn his back on his family.
Still, Letty has no choice but to work with the team to try to stop Dom and Cipher when they head to New York City to steal a nuclear football. While there, Letty manages to steal the briefcase with the football inside, but she’s chased down by Dom. Letty tells him that although she doesn’t know why he’s turned on her, she’s sure he loves her and therefore won’t shoot her. It turns out that her instincts are right. When one of Cipher’s men threaten Letty moments later, Dom comes to her rescue, but he still takes the briefcase and returns to Cipher, leaving Letty heartbroken.
She becomes a mother after learning Dom has a child
Even after Dom’s repeated betrayal, when Letty and the crew head to Russia to stop Dom and Cipher once and for all, Letty tells Hobbs that if he tries to kill Dom, he’ll have to kill her as well. But Letty’s faith in her husband eventually pays off once Dom manages to get the upper hand on Cipher. It’s revealed that Dom has an infant son that he didn’t know about with Elena, who Cipher has been holding hostage in order to control him. She executes Elena to keep Dom in line, but he’s able to turn the tables with the help of a rehabilitated Owen and Deckard Shaw, who sneak under Cipher’s guard and rescue his son.
As Letty and the team work to stop Cipher from stealing a nuclear submarine, Dom finally fights back against Cipher, jumping into the battle in the nick of time. After saving the entire team, Dom pulls up alongside Letty’s car, and she gives him a relieved smile. Shortly thereafter, Dom manages to use his vehicle to drive a missile into Cipher’s submarine, but he’s caught in the path of the explosion. Right before he’s enveloped by fire, Letty leads the crew in circling their cars around him, forming a protective barrier and saving his life. Once reunited, Dom reassures Letty that he never left her, and he never will, to which she replies that she knows.
Afterward, Dom and Letty return to L.A. with the rest of the crew, where Dom introduces her to his son and tells little baby Brian that Letty is "the most important person in [his] universe, one who never gave up on [him]." With Elena gone, Letty will be the only mother Brian knows, raising him with Dom as the three of them become a new family.