When Justin Lin and Sung Kang teamed up for low-budget crime thriller Better Luck Tomorrow in 2002, little did they know that the actor’s character of Han Lue would have them still working together almost 20 years later as part of the blockbuster Fast & Furious franchise.
It’s a neat connection that adds an extra layer onto Han, who technically made his cinematic debut just ten months after Rob Cohen’s The Fast and the Furious revved into theaters, with both the star and filmmaker confirming that Better Luck Tomorrow retroactively functions as an origin story for the longtime fan favorite.
Han also suffered the ignominy of being killed off twice, first in Tokyo Drift and then again at the end of the sixth installment, giving him the unique distinction of both dying and getting retconned twice after his demise was refitted as the work of Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw to set him up as the big bad of the seventh chapter, lending Dominic Toretto and the crew a reason to seek out revenge.
In a new interview, Kang explained what it felt like to return to the set of a Fast & Furious movie after such a long absence, and he couldn’t help but have a dig at his co-stars while also admitting that he was completely at peace with being written out of the series.
“Some people’s waistlines got a little bigger. A little bit more gray hair, few more kids. People are a little slower. It takes a little longer to get out of the trailer. Lines get forgotten a little bit more often. People show up less to the stunt rehearsals. I was happy with my exit. I got to go on a few cool adventures in the franchise. I felt like the exit for Han was a nice time to go. There was closure. I got to leave with my buddy, Justin Lin, so it felt right in a way. I’m not affected by FOMO that much in life. I always look forward to new experiences, so it was okay. It was cool.”
It’ll be interesting to discover how Lin and co-writer Daniel Casey have handled Han’s reintroduction in Fast & Furious 9, but given how far the franchise has strayed from any semblance of grounded reality over the last 20 years, fans are going to buy it regardless, especially with the #JusticeForHan movement finally vindicated at long last.