That’s right, folks. After many long years, we seem to be on the cusp of getting justice for Han (Sung Kang), the fan favorite character who got a fiery death in the third Fast and Furious movie, Tokyo Drift, at the hands of Deckard Shaw.
The trailer to F9: The Fast Saga, the latest movie in the series, shows our beloved Han back into the fold, living and breathing and still eating snacks.
How? No idea! But I trust Justin Lin to deliver us fans some real catharsis.
As Jen Yamato pointed out in a new interview with Sung Kang, Han’s death has been depicted several times over the course of the entire series. It’s an unresolved bit of business for Dom and the family, seemingly swept under the rug after Deckard became a frenemy of sorts in The Fate of the Furious – no longer hated but not exactly loved, either. I really liked Fate of the Furious but I admit it was a little hand wavey to just “ignore” what Deckard had done.
There’s a reason why he’s a fan favorite and such a resonant character. The Fast and Furious audience is notably diverse; The Hollywood Reporter wrote in 2015 that Furious 7’s audience was 75% people of color. This reflects not just what people want to watch but who they want to watch. In a series where representation is clear and prioritized, he’s still a character that is seemingly rare in action movies, let alone billion-dollar franchises: he’s an Asian man who gets the girl, gets the killer one-liners, is charming as hell, and has kick ass action scenes, and none of this is because he’s Asian. It’s all because he’s Han. A buster he is not.
The big surprise in the trailer is going to dominate conversation, as it should, but we shouldn’t sleep on the other interesting developments. John Cena is playing Dom’s brother, Jacob (oh yeah, Dom has a brother), and he’s in cahoots with Cipher (Charlize Theron, in a strangely powerful pixie cut). Helen Mirren is back and may actually drive this time! Jordana Brewster’s Mia is back as well and we see her and Letty team up to take down some goons.
The Fast and Furious movies have always seemed a bit more ahead of the curve when it comes to style and energy. They’re the only movie series of their kind, basically cornering the market on movies that are centered almost exclusively on car chases and crazy stunts with cars (remember “they got a tank!” in Fast & Furious 6?). What makes them stand out is not just their enthusiasm for goofiness and silliness, but also their earnestness. These movies are built around the concept of family, and it’s nice that nine entries into the series they haven’t lost sight of their heart.
We get justice for Han on May 22, 2020.