Director Justin Lin has directed four of the previous installments in the Fast & Furious franchise and has now returned for a fifth to helm Fast & Furious 9. But what has brought him back into the Fast & Furious fold? Well, he felt he had to come back in order to get justice for Han.
"Han means so much to me because he was a character before Fast & Furious."
For those who may be unaware, Han, portrayed by actor Sung Kang, first appeared in Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow, which retroactively served as an origin story for the character. At an anniversary screening for the movie, Lin was made aware of the #Justice for Han social media campaign. Lin has even referenced the campaign in the trailer for F9 as it promises that "justice is coming".
Justin Lin exited the franchise with the sixth movie, Fast & Furious 6, which ended with footage already seen in the third movie, Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift, of the seemingly fatal car crash that killed Han. Fast & Furious 6 then reveals that this event took place much later than we thought and that Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw was responsible, killing Han as revenge for what Dom and his crew had done to his brother, Owen Shaw. Statham then became the villain for the next movie, before being brought into Dom's family with open arms in the eighth movie, The Fate of the Furious, until finally appearing in a buddy-picture with Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs in the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw.
Well, it turns out this was not only somewhat confusing for audiences but for Justin Lin too, with the director feeling like he needed to "correct something" in the franchise with regards to Han.
"Somebody asked me about Han and [Deckard] Shaw. I was like: 'Wait, what? Shaw is at the barbecue in 8?' [laughs] Really, I was so confused. One of the big reasons to come back was I felt like we needed to correct something."
Having killed one of Dom's extended family members, before then trying to kill them all, it does seem a little crazy that he ended up at a barbecue with them all. Sure, he may have saved Dom's son in one of The Fate of the Furious' standout sequences, but there are boundaries, and the gang arguably forgave and forgot a little too quickly.
How exactly Han returns is a closely guarded secret, but it has been said that another character who returned from the dead, Letty, is instrumental in bringing him back. Letty herself, Michelle Rodriguez, has opened up about how important a character Han really is.
"Let's just say we're not hiding the fact that a lot of the stuff is crazy! In a lot of ways these movies are like the Olympic games. There are a lot of cultures that feel represented by individual characters from the franchise. And Han does that for an entire community."
F9 is scheduled to hit theaters on May 22. This comes to us from Games Radar.