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Vin Diesel, Los Bandoleros

Universal

That Fast & Furious mystery you may have been thinking about recently has a perfectly reasonable explaination.

Fans of the hit film franchise are well aware that the main star, Vin Diesel, is notably MIA from movie No. 2, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and appears in just a blink-or-you'll-miss-him cameo in the third installment, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Well, the absence of his character, elite street racer Dominic Toretto, aka Dom, was explained via short prequel / spinoff film that he directed himself, titled Los Bandeleros (Spanish for "The Bandits"). The 20-minute video was featured on a special edition of the Blu-ray and DVD of the fourth movie, Fast & Furious, which came out in 2009, and went viral this week, days after Furious 7, the final movie starring late cast member Paul Walker, hit theaters.

Diesel reprises his Fast & Furious character in the short film, which takes place in the Dominican Republic. The video posted on editor Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez's Vimeo page two years ago. Dom is seen working on a car, being the suave businessman that he is and just being, well, Dom.

He is joined by several other familiar faces. His love interest, Letty Ortiz, played by veteran cast member Michelle Rodriguez, interrupts him as he's working his Dom-like charms on a couple of ladies.

"It ain't that hard to track you down," she says. "All I gotta do is follow the odor of skanks."

The two later practice some very safe...driving.

Plus, we meet pals Santos and Leo, who Don Omar and Tego Calderón first played in Fast & Furious, and drift racer Han, a character played by Sung Kang, who made his debut in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. The latter film was released in 2006 but whose events take place after those seen in Fast & Furious 6, which came out in 2013.

Los Bandoleros from Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez on Vimeo.

Confused? Understandable. The movies' release dates do not coincide with their timelines.

So if you're looking to catch up on all the past films before you watch Furious 7 in theaters, and want to watch all the events unfold in chronological order, here's how you would do it:

1. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

2. Fast 2 Furious (2003)

3. Los Bandoleros short film (2009)

4. Fast & Furious (2009)

5. Fast Five (2011)

6. Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

7. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

8. Furious 7 (2014)

(E! and Universal Pictures are part of the NBCUniversal family.)