Fast & Furious 9 Director Explains Paul Walker Easter Egg In New Trailer

Fast Furious Paul Walker

The first trailer for Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious 9 gives us a lot to process, but in the video’s relatively quiet opening seconds, one little detail that you may well have caught is the inclusion of an instrumental version of the 2015 song “See You Again.”

The number one single from Wiz Khalifa, featuring Charlie Puth, was written as a tribute to the late Paul Walker, who passed away in 2013, and is featured in the closing minutes of 2015’s Furious 7 to signal Brian O’Conner’s exit from the series.

In the new trailer for Fast & Furious 9, the song’s familiar piano notes can be heard over footage of Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Ortiz settling into a domestic life with Dom’s son, also named Brian.

Director Justin Lin shared a few thoughts on this moment during a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, explaining how the loaded soundtrack choice served as an acknowledgement of the decades-spanning journey undertaken by the Fast family:

“It was important because as the Fast family we take a lot of pride in the journey. In front of the camera you’re seeing our characters age, and behind the camera we’re all growing together, we started families, all of our kids are growing up together. And so I really thought it was important to acknowledge that with Dom, Letty, and little Brian. And to be able to acknowledge that in a big action franchise, I thought it was important to connect that to other pieces of the family.”

Family has long been a prominent theme in the surprisingly resilient Fast Saga, and this next film looks to be no different, introducing John Cena in the role of Dom’s brother Jakob Toretto. When asked about this new development, Lin explained that family remains a subject close to his heart:

“Again, a lot of the theme of family kind of reflects my immigrant story. I feel like my 10-year-old son growing up, he’s got Uncle Vin, Uncle Sung, and it’s not by blood. I feel like our family is truly this earned relationship.”

But at the same time, it’s one thing we have not explored through bloodline. And Michael Rooker, who is in this movie, said it best when he came and we were talking about the film, he said some of the bloodiest fights he’s seen in his life were either at funerals or weddings. And that’s something that really excited me when the idea came to me, that we could really start this new chapter exploring family through the traditional bloodlines.”

Of course, the moment in the new trailer that’s undoubtedly prompted the most discussion is the return of Sung Kang as Han Lue, a character that many fans felt had been written out of the Fast Saga too soon. We’ll find out just how Han fits into this latest family squabble, and whether Dom and his estranged brother can resolve their disagreements, when Fast & Furious 9 hits theaters on May 22nd.