as: Tom O’Conner
“There’s no ‘Tom O’Conner’ in the Fast & Furious flicks!” says you, the blog reader/massive Vin Diesel fan. “Do you mean Brian O’Conner?” No, no I do not. For our purposes, we’ve added a new character to the series, played, of course, by Tom Wopat. How does he fit in? Read on, friend!
Fast & Furious: Generations
Trading on Tom Wopat’s reputation as an action-adventure guy who knows his way around a high-powered, custom automobile, but acknowledging that he’s a little too old to be part of the films’ regular crew, we’d have his character be the father of the above-mentioned Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker).
The fifth film in the series, 5 Fast 5 Furious, establishes that Brian never really knew his father. We say fie on all that, and would’ve had Tom O’Conner be part of the series from the start. It was Tom who taught Brian to be such a good driver, allowing him to compete with the other skilled street racers in the first film. It’s not like the LAPD has a stunt driving school, you know.
Tom also clearly passed his piercing blue eyes and striking good looks to his son, so you’re welcome, ladies and select gentlemen. (Coincidentally, Tom Wopat is pretty much the perfect age to be Paul Walker’s father, so that works out smashingly.)
In our reimagining of the F&F movies, we’d have Wopat’s character show up in the first film for his one big scene, and pop up here and there in the rest of the series. He’d most likely be in just one or two short scenes here and there, and maybe in some instances just being a voice at the other end of Walker’s phone. We see the Tom O’Conner character being the comic relief in most cases, with a few sage words of wisdom peppered in.
In The Fast & the Furious (the first movie), after “proving” himself in a street race, Brian O’Conner and Dom Toretto (Diesel) flee the police who came to bust all the punks at said race. Brian takes Dom to his parents’ home, where the two hope to lay low for a while. As they pull into the driveway, Toretto spots a pristine, competition-orange 1969 Dodge Charger in the garage.
“Who’s ride is that?” he asks. “My old man’s,” Brian replies.
Inside, they find Tom O’Conner asleep in a Barcalounger with a Dodgers game on the TV before him. Brian wakes him up and, after introductions, Tom offers beers all around, which Brian and Dom gladly accept. Shortly, Brian excuses himself to use the restroom.
Tom’s no fool, and instinctively knows that Toretto is something of a ne’er-do-well. He gives his son’s bald, musclebound associate the third degree, trying to figure out just what his game is. Before long, Dom has had enough of the elder O’Conner’s questioning.
“Why don’t you just let it go, old man?” Toretto says. “I don’t answer to you or anybody else.”
“Okay, tough guy,” Tom replies. “Don’t wanna hurt your feeling.”
“I’m gonna have to hurt a lot more than your feelings if you don’t shut your mouth,” Dom growls. (Note: “growls” is how Vin Diesel always talks.)
Lightning quick, Tom slaps Toretto hard across the face while simultaneously sweeping his legs out from under him. Brian returns from the loo just in time to see Dom hit the floor, with Tom standing over him, smirking.
Tom extends a hand to help Toretto to his feet, which he accepts. As he stands up again, Dom laughs and says, “You know what, Brian? Your old man is all right.” From then on, respect all around.