Han’s death in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was one of the most tragic moments of the series, since in merely half a film he proved himself one of the saga’s most interesting and sympathetic characters. Fans have been campaigning for years under the hashtag #JusticeForHan to have him return, and now Sung Kang, the actor who plays him, has voiced his thoughts on the movement and his comeback in Fast & Furious 9.
Tokyo Drift originally depicted Han’s demise as a tragic accident, but it was retconned in the mid-credits coda of Fast & Furious 6 to have him murdered by Deckard Shaw in vengeance for Dom and his team leaving Shaw’s brother comatose at the film’s climax, setting up the events of Furious 7. Shaw later morphing into an antihero rather than a villain and being subsequently welcomed into the ‘family’ was seen as dismissing Han, leading to many people demanding rectification of the oversight.
Kang had this to say of the pleas for Han’s return and how it made him feel:
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, this whole Fast & Furious journey. How do you get killed off multiple times and keep coming back? Like, come on. This is crazy. The whole #JusticeForHan thing – it made me think, ‘Wow, there are actually people that appreciate the work I did as an actor.’ In my own Hollywood struggle as an Asian-American, in your darkest hours, you go, ‘Wow, there are actually people from all over the world that appreciate what I did with that character’.”
Like many supporting characters of the franchise, Han was originally only intended for a one-off appearance, but proved so unexpectedly popular that for the best part of a decade, the series’ timeline was warped into virtual incoherence by having subsequent installments set before Tokyo Drift purely so he could continue to appear in them.
#JusticeForHan has finally borne fruit now that Han will return in Fast & Furious 9, looking no worse for wear from supposedly being immolated in an exploding car. It will probably be revealed that Dom helped him fake his death so he could go into hiding, but whether or not the events will address his crew embracing the man who they thought had killed him is another matter. Either way, we’ve finally got Han back, and the next movie in the series will be all the better as a result.