Earlier today, the first trailer for Fast & Furious 9 began making the rounds, and unsurprisingly, fans have been freaking out about Han’s return to the series. The level of excitement is understandable – after all, actor Sung Kang’s last major role in the franchise was nearly seven years ago – but his casting does raise a couple of questions. What exactly happened during the events of Tokyo Drift, and how is Han returning from the grave, so to speak?
Let’s address that first question. As longtime fans know, the series tends to play fast and loose with its timeline, as some movies have acted as either sequels or prequels to past installments. Specifically, despite being the third film (in terms of release date), Tokyo Drift actually takes place after the events of Fast & Furious 6, which explains how Han was able to appear on-screen despite his death.
Having traveled to Japan after taking down Owen Shaw, he befriends Sean Boswell, and over the course of Tokyo Drift, Han teaches his new “student” the art of drifting. However, his life is (supposedly) cut short when he’s T-boned by a Mercedes, with audiences left to believe he died in the ensuing explosion.
MORE FROM THE WEB
In Fast & Furious 6‘s mid-credits scene, it’s revealed that Deckard Shaw, Owen’s brother, was behind the wheel of the Mercedes, having taken out Han as revenge for his brother’s death. Over the next few films, Deckard became a member of Dominic Turreto’s crew, which rubbed some audiences the wrong way, seeing as how his role in Han’s “death” was never really addressed.
Of course, as the trailer for Fast & Furious 9 revealed, Han is actually alive and well, and it looks like he’ll finally be getting the justice he deserves. It’s not entirely clear exactly how he survived the aforementioned crash (or what he’s been up to this whole time), but we imagine that’ll be answered in the coming months.