Heads up guys, there'll be *SPOILERS* in here for the first six Fast and Furious movies. I will be touching on some of the stuff that happens in Furious 7, but I won't give away anything major. You can't really spoil the best stuff in these movies, anyway.
We first meet Tej, forevermore known as Ludacris because that's just what you call him, in the lowly 2 Fast 2 Furious. We only know a few things about this character in 2F2F: He wears mechanic jumpsuits, he runs his own garage and, judging from the parties he throws, he is also a certified bikini inspector. Ludacris plays a simple character, but it's a simple movie, so that's fine.
Then we get to Fast Five, and this happens.
Yep, that's Ludacris back in action and uh, he's hacking safe panel with a laptop? You'd think this skill would have been introduced as part of his character a few movies ago, but we only found out that he's "good with circuits" in F5. Paul Walker's character Brian brings this up, and Ludacris brushes it off with "I had a life before you knew me." Like, what kind of life? Taking night classes at the community college? Because that still wouldn't explain this.
It seems like the team just needed a hacker/technical expert, and the filmmakers just shoehorned that ability into Ludacris. Hell, in Furious 7 they actually bring in a new character whose whole identity is based around being a hacker, but Ludacris still does the majority of the team's computer work for almost the entire movie. I guess it's probably better than Tyrese, whose role has devolved into "Stand around and have a big-ass forehead."
A dumb action-heavy series like Fast and the Furious has absolutely no business being embroiled in a convoluted storyline, but here we are. If you're not caught up on just what the hell is happening, it all starts with the third entry in the series, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.
Near the end of Tokyo Drift, the laid-back Han dies in a fiery car crash. But in the next three movies, Han is still alive and well -- which means that Fast and Furious 4, 5 and 6 are all prequels to Fast and Furious 3. I know.
So for three movies, we're operating under the assumption that one day Han will return to Japan and die in an explosion. Just as we start considering the idea that they'd ignore Tokyo Drift entirely, Han does explode at the end of Fast and Furious 6... only for it to be revealed that Jason Statham was behind Han's death all along.
It creates all sorts of weird questions, mostly involving what the hell year it is. Fast 5 and 6 especially seem like they take place in the same year they were released (2011 and 2013), but we know they're set in a time before Tokyo Drift, which was released in 2005. And it's not like Tokyo Drift is set in the future -- everyone in the movie is still using flip phones.
Tokyo Drift should place us in or around an iPhoneless timeframe leading up to the newest movie, but Furious 7 directly references the fact that Letty "died" in the year 2009, which guarantees that TD happens in 2010 or afterwards. Then again, some of the cars in Fast 6 (which again, takes place before Tokyo Drift) were made in 2011 or later. And then there's the fact that, in Furious 7, Brian and Mia's kid has aged about five years since the previous movie.
There's no other explanation: The Fast and Furious movies are playing god, bending space and time backwards, all for the sake of keeping a cool character in a few more movies. It's as though these Vin Diesel movies don't make any sense.