Fast & Furious 9 Director Reveals Why He Brought Back Han

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Over the weekend, the first trailer for the upcoming Fast & Furious 9 made an impression on social media that stayed true to the franchise’s bigger-is-better ethos, and while the footage gave the internet plenty of over-the-top moments to process, the part that’s undoubtedly inspired the most discussion is the return of Sung Kang’s Han Lue.

The former series regular made his debut in Justin Lin’s 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow, before joining the so-called Fast Saga in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Though the 2006 feature saw Han’s supposed demise, the character returned for several more Fast films set before the events of Tokyo Drift. However, once the series timeline caught up with Han’s death in Fast & Furious 6, Dominic Toretto’s old friend was again written out of the saga.

Han’s removal has since inspired the “Justice for Han” campaign on social media, and with the ninth installment in the Fast Saga, it looks like Lin intends to deliver just that, revealing in the new trailer that Kang somehow survived his fate in Tokyo Drift.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Lin discussed the return of Han, and reflected on how the franchise fanbase has changed over the last two decades:

“Obviously, I have a very personal connection to the character. To be honest, when we first started, the community of Fast was not the community that it is today. I feel like, together, every kind of connection with the audience, we had to earn. With these sequels, sometimes people take it for granted and think it’s just going to happen; I always think we have to earn the next one.”

The filmmaker then went on to imply that there may be some unfinished business to resolve with Han, and argued that his return needed to feel justified:

“To be able to go through that journey with Han… when I left, I felt it was appropriate and I felt like we were putting the character to bed, but it’s because of some of the things that happened that didn’t quite make sense to me, and so I felt like if I was going to come back, I really wanted to explore why. I think it’s really up to us to bring him back and explore it throughout the themes that we’re all used to.”

When asked about how exactly Han will fit into the new movie, Lin suggested once more that his comeback is happening for a reason, before remarking on the changing nature of the franchise over the years:

“In this world, I feel like things happen for a reason. I won’t go into details or anything, but I do think that bringing him back is nothing I take lightly — and it took a lot — but I think what I appreciate is that this universe has really grown and it allows us to evolve and really kind of redefine ourselves as we go.”

You can judge for yourself if Han’s return is worth the retcon when Fast & Furious 9 hits theaters on May 22nd.

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