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Hobbs & Shaw's Real Villain Explained

Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Hobbs & Shaw

One of the biggest mysteries in Hobbs & Shaw is who voices the movie's real villain. Hobbs & Shaw is the ninth movie in the Fast & Furious franchise and is a spinoff of the main series. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their roles as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, respectively. The movie follows Hobbs and Shaw as they fight Brixton (Idris Elba), a cybergenetically-enhanced criminal who wants to recover a deadly virus stolen by Shaw's sister, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby).

There's more than one villain in Hobbs & Shaw. Brixton is just the villain audiences are most familiar with since he's appeared in all of the trailers, posters, and other promotional materials. However, Brixton is a pawn of the real Hobbs & Shaw villain - known as The Director. It's revealed early in the movie that Brixton works for a shadowy organization known as Eteon, and reports regularly to a faceless entity referred to only as The Director. When Brixton and the Director have scenes together, the latter's voice is processed and distorted, making it tough to figure out what their real identity. Ryan Reynolds - who makes a separate surprise appearance in Hobbs & Shaw - provided the voice, but that doesn't necessarily mean that his character is the Director.

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Related: Why Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto Isn't In Hobbs & Shaw

It's clear The Director is a big enemy worth keeping track of from this point onward. Right now, figuring out their actual identity could provide major clues about what to expect from future Hobbs & Shaw films (should they end up happening). Here's what we know about the Eteon Director revealed in Hobbs & Shaw, including the best guesses on the character's true identity.

The Director In Hobbs & Shaw Explained

Idris Elba in Fast and Furious Presents Hobbs and Shaw

Brixton may be the front-facing villain in Hobbs & Shaw but there's a second villain at work here. Throughout the movie, Brixton reports to an unseen person only known as "The Director." The Director is the real puppetmaster here as they make Brixton do their bidding on behalf of Eteon. Based on their title, we know The Director is high up in the ranks of Eteon and is an influential force within the far-reaching and formidable organization. This means they have access to far more technology, weapons, and allies than Hobbs and Shaw. This will be a big problem if and when they show up again if a sequel happens.

There are two notable features about The Director established in Hobbs & Shaw. The first is that their voice is heavily processed, causing it to sound distorted and unrecognizable. It's likely that Brixton didn't even know who he was dealing with during his time with Eteon. We also know The Director has a history with Hobbs. This is revealed in one of the last scenes in Hobbs & Shaw when The Director manages to hack into a downed helicopter's communications system and inform Hobbs and Shaw this isn't the last time they'll hear from the Eteon leader. What's interesting is that Hobbs doesn't seem to immediately know who The Director is. Even with the hint, the implication based on Hobbs' reaction is that The Director's identity is going to be a shock and could very well be a character already introduced in the Fast & Furious franchise.

Related: Christopher Nolan's Tenet Trailer Secretly Released With Hobbs & Shaw In Theaters

Is Charlize Theron's Cipher The Director?

Cipher and Dom in Fate of the Furious

The identity of The Director is unknown, but that doesn't mean at least one solid option hasn't already been presented to us. Despite The Director's heavily processed voice sounding like a man's, it's possible it's actually a woman's voice. There's one female character in the Fast & Furious franchise who has been established as a proficient and elusive tech villain: The Fate of the Furious villain Cipher (Charlize Theron).

In the eighth Fast & Furious movie, Cipher was introduced as an extremely skilled hacker who has managed to elude authorities for as long as she's been operating. Throughout the movie, we see her at work either commanding her team during hack jobs or actually getting on a computer and doing the work herself. Additionally, Fate of the Furious retconned the motivation of two previous Fast & Furious villains, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and Mose Jakande (Djimon Hounsou), to reveal Cipher was the one directing them to steal powerful tech to fulfill her own goals. Given this, it's not outside the realm of possibility that Cipher has the means to mask her identity to Brixton as she directs him on various tasks. Furthermore, it's believable she would be involved with a powerful organization like Eteon given her skillset and her ability to get other criminals to do her bidding without leaving a trail of evidence leading back to her.

Is Keanu Reeves The Director In Hobbs & Shaw?

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in Chapter 2

For a short time, it was believed Keanu Reeves had a major Hobbs & Shaw role. Given Reeves' recent and phenomenal success with the John Wick franchise, it's not surprising a high-octane movie like Hobbs & Shaw would have tapped the actor for a key role. It also made sense Reeves could have been involved in Hobbs & Shaw given his connection to director David Leitch. Previously, Leith worked with Reeves in an uncredited directorial role on the first John Wick movie.

However, Reeves' alleged Hobbs & Shaw role was debunked in June 2019. There's always the possibility Reeves was meant to be in the movie and plans about his character changed, but it's tough to know without more information. Even though Reeves didn't show for this spinoff, Dwayne Johnson confirmed in an interview that he was texting with the John Wick actor. Details on the nature of their conversations were not mentioned, but Reeves could still come aboard a Hobbs & Shaw sequel (should it be greenlit) and he could play The Director.

Related: Which Fast & Furious Movies You Must See To Understand Hobbs & Shaw

Ryan Reynolds Is Connected To The Director In Hobbs & Shaw

A little bit of sleuthing reveals Ryan Reynolds is the voice of the Eteon Director in Hobbs & Shaw. Technically, the actor credited with voicing the Eteon Director is a "Champ Nightengale." Hobbs & Shaw is Nightengale's only credit to date. A quick search on Nightengale's name brings up results leading right back to Reynolds. Per Insider, the name "Champ Nightengale" was used by the actor to write a funny fake review for Aviation Gin, which Reynolds owns.

Reynolds actually does double duty in Hobbs & Shaw. Not only does he voice the Eteon Director, but he also has a cameo as Locke, a former colleague of Hobbs'. Locke arrives on the scene to tell Hobbs about the stolen virus and sends him to London to team up with Shaw. He appears to be very friendly and seems to genuinely prize his friendship with Hobbs. But just because Locke has a solid rapport with Hobbs, it doesn't mean he can't also be the Eteon Director. At the end of the movie, the Eteon Director mentions having a history with Hobbs, which matches pretty well with his past with Locke. Additionally, Hobbs doesn't consider Locke to be much of a friend, so it's possible there's a darker history with these two which would motivate Locke to go after Hobbs. Even if a Hobbs & Shaw sequel does happen, it's still unclear if Locke would be revealed as The Director even though the characters are played by the same actor. Locke has the motivation, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's definitely The Director.

The Director Will Be Hobbs & Shaw's Ongoing Villain

Brixton may not return for a future Hobbs & Shaw sequel, but The Director certainly would. In a scene reminiscent of Alita: Battle Angel, wherein Edward Norton's all-seeing character Nova is watching over the action from Zalem, the final moments of the movie confirm The Director is an all-seeing presence who isn't done with Hobbs and Shaw just yet. Their final exchange with the titular duo confirms not only a shared history with Hobbs but also The Director's intentions to return.

Having voiced a desire to recruit Hobbs and Shaw for Eteon (a scene that recalls Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, which saw Palpatine wanting to turn Luke to the Dark Side), it doesn't seem like they're willing to back down on this any time soon. It sounds like The Director will just try to kill them if Hobbs and Shaw can't be recruited, raising the stakes even further for the pair in the next movie.

Next: What You Need To Know About Hobbs & Shaw 2

Key Release Dates
  • Fast & Furious 9 (2020) release date: May 22, 2020
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