- "Nothing is necessary. Everything is a choice."
- ―Cipher to Dominic Toretto
Cipher is the alias of a cyberterrorist with multiple connections to the criminal underworld. The main antagonist of The Fate of the Furious, Cipher is determined to start a nuclear war and blackmails Dominic Toretto into betraying his crew when she kidnaps Elena Neves and her son, Marcos, using them as leverage against him to get him steal the components necessary for her plans. The narrative of The Fate of the Furious reveals that Cipher is the overarching antagonist of the Fast & Furious trilogy[note 1] who worked behind the scenes through others to achieve her goals.
Cipher is an adept hacker, one who has managed to keep her identity from becoming public knowledge. While not unknown, she has managed to fool other hackers and government authority into thinking she is an organization and not a person. Cipher travels constantly and scrubs her digital footprint from known databases frequently.
Some time in the late 2000s, Cipher employed mercenaries Mose Jakande and Owen Shaw. She hired Owen Shaw to steal several military-grade components that would allow her to create a "Nightshade" device, a tech-bomb that functioned like a Electromagnetic Pulse after his brother, Deckard Shaw refused. Owen was also working with Arturo Braga who moved "guns, drugs, and money" out of the country for him, possibly even for Cipher.
Mose Jakande was hired to steal the God's Eye, a surveillance program that allowed a individual to track anyone anywhere on the planet by proxy of other devices such as cell phones and public security cameras. While both Mose and Shaw were able to capture or gather the components necessary, they were eventually thwarted by the efforts of Dominic Toretto and his crew in assistance with Diplomatic Security Service agent, Luke Hobbs.
In an act of revenge, Cipher kidnapped former DSS agent Elena Neves, and her son, Marcos, with the intent of using them against Dominic, a man motivated to action by his loyalty to family.
The Fate of the Furious
- "That's the thing about fate. It's cunning."
Cipher meets Dominic Toretto in Havana, Cuba, posing as a woman having trouble getting the engine for her car to start. When Dominic stops to help her, she pretended to be none-the-wiser to his identity, manipulating the situation so that he would talk to her.
When she asked how his honeymoon with his wife was going, she revealed she removed a necessary component from her car to lure him in. Cipher tells him that he is going to work for her. When Dominic refuses, Cipher gives him a cell phone that presumably showed him Elena and her son, Marcos. She later departs, anticipating when they would go up against his crew, warning him not to tell anyone about their conversation.
Following Dominic's betrayal of the team and the theft of the EMP device in Berlin, Germany, Cipher tracked the location of the God's Eye down to Mr. Nobody's blacksite and attacked the base with Dominic. They steal the God's Eye from the base and Cipher takes the opportunity to kiss Dominic in a show of her superiority when Letty questions her husband's actions.
Following their departure from the government base, Dominic starts to question the intentions behind Cipher's plans. In a move to silence him and to show him that she was in control, Cipher showed him where she was keeping Elena and Marcos captive. She allowed him to speak with Elena before sending him to New York City to retrieve a the nuclear launch codes for Russian submarine in the procession of the Russian Minister of Defence.
When Dominic feigns engine troubles, Cipher's immediate view of Dominic is blocked by a truck and she grows suspicious. She is unaware of Dominic's meeting with Magdalene Shaw to save his son and Elena, and monitors his activity when prepares to steal the launch codes she desires. Cipher hijacks the computer chips of all the cars in the city and uses them against the motorcade protecting the Minister of Defense. When his car his nearly crushed by the vehicles under her control, Dominic is able to clear the briefcase containing the launch codes. Dominic is intercepted by his crew, and Cipher merely urges him to escape as she can do nothing to help him.
Dominic isn't able to escape, and Letty is able to steal the briefcase from him. Cipher watches as Dominic hesitates to kill Letty and learns from her enforcer, Connor Rhodes, that Dominic rescued his wife from certain death at Rhodes' hand. Cipher enters Elena's cell and taunts Dominic with his child. Instead of killing Marcos, Cipher has Rhodes execute Elena in front of Dominic. Cipher sends Dominic to Russia to use the EMP device to disable a nuclear submarine, which allows Cipher to hijack it.
Cipher is able to take control of the submarine and tries to lead the submarine to deep water. Hobbs and the crew make a concentrated effort to stall her efforts. She is caught off guard by the arrival of Owen Shaw and his brother Deckard (who she was led to believe was killed by Dominic) when they board her plane to save Marcos. When the timer for the nuclear missile launch is pulled from the submarine, Dominic turns against Cipher and kills Rhodes. An outraged Cipher pursues the team and tries to kill them with the submarine. She fires a infrared missile on Dominic's car. Dominic redirects the missile toward the submarine and destroys it. Deckard reaches the front of the plane and attempts to kill her, but Cipher escapes by parachuting out of the plane. She is still at large and Mr. Nobody believes Cipher was spotted in Athens.
Fast and Furious 9
- "Your whole life you've pushed yourself to be faster than Dom. Better than Dom. Stronger than Dom."
- "Because the truth is, Dom... I am the crocodile at the watering hole."
Cipher is a powerful, tenacious, manipulative and psychopathic woman, described by Mr. Nobody and Ramsey as "the ultimate definition of high-tech terrorism". She is driven by primarily the greed, the want to own everything she can get her hands on. Her knowledge of computers and general tech rivals that of Ramsey, the creator of the God's Eye, and she is equally informed about cars. Her influence within the technological world allows her to major access within the criminal underworld.
Cipher is arrogant, with a tendency to gloat about her perceived victories, which blinds her to the smaller details. Cipher is content to work in the shadows and orchestrate schemes behind the scenes, her reputation palpable enough to make other hackers fear and respect her. Cipher does not value family or honor, and views those who work alongside her (willingly or otherwise) with a mindset similar to that of Owen Shaw (a means to an end). Cipher is a believer in choice theory and accountability. Both beliefs are intrinsically tied to her need to control situations and people using exploitative methods.
Cipher is a tactician, using her know-how to deal with dangerous situations and remain ahead of her enemies. Her skill allows her to invade the Mr. Nobody's blacksite, and using Dominic, she was able to steal the God's Eye device, which she later used to track Dominic's crew down to their location. As the spearhead of her operations, she directed Dominic from the safety of her airplane and was able to take control of the electronic mainframe of multiple vehicles from a great distance.
Cipher has some experience with firearms and explosives. She was able to use a series of concussive grenades to disorient Mr. Nobody and Dominic's crew in order to successfully invade the blacksite without much resistance. While apparently rare, Cipher is able to and has dealt situations that require her direct intervention, but is otherwise content to rely on the skills of others to carry out her plans, preferring to keep her distance from conflict whenever necessary. Cipher is an extremely manipulative individual, using underhanded tactics to get what she wants and disposing of others when they prove a liability for her plans.
- Cipher is one of six antagonists who survive the events of the film they appear in. The others are Carter Verone (2 Fast 2 Furious), Takashi (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), Arturo Braga (Fast & Furious), Owen Shaw (Fast & Furious 6) and Deckard Shaw (Furious 7). However, she is the only antagonist to escape arrest.
- Charlize Theron is the first actress to portray a central antagonist in The Fast and the Furious franchise.
- Cipher is returning in Fast & Furious 9.
- Referring only to the films: Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, and onward.