Few characters have had as wild a ride through the Fast & Furious movies as Sung Kang’s cheekily-named Han Seoul-Oh. First introduced – and immediately killed off – as a supporting character in third film Tokyo Drift, he was such a hit that they changed the series’ entire timeline around him. Since the subsequent three movies (Fast & Furious, Fast Five and Furious 6) brought Han back into the fray, they technically take place before the events of Tokyo Drift – and in Furious 6’s final sting, it’s revealed that Han didn’t just die in a car crash. He was, in fact, an early victim of Jason Statham’s (then-baddie) Deckard Shaw.
Three films later, and Han is – somehow, miraculously, ridiculously – back for Fast & Furious 9, which also marks the return of director Justin Lin, the filmmaker responsible for introducing Kang’s character in the first place. The actor tells Empire that the insanity of it all is not lost on him. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, this whole Fast & Furious journey,” says Kang. “How do you get killed off multiple times and keep coming back? Like, come on. This is crazy.”
But back he is, joining the Fast Family once again for another balls-to-the-wall-and-beyond blockbuster – and one that looks to answer a major fan quandary. Since Statham’s dry-and-sly Deckard Shaw has since been retconned into a good guy through Fast & Furious 8 and spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, can there truly be #JusticeForHan – the fan-favourite character he supposedly killed in cold blood? Expect answers in the new movie.
“The whole #JusticeForHan thing – it made me think, ‘Wow, there are actually people that appreciate the work I did as an actor’,” says Kang of the fan campaign. “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.’” Welcome back to the madness, Han.
Read Empire’s full Fast & Furious 9 story in the upcoming Tom Hiddleston issue, on sale Thursday 15 April and available to pre-order online now here. Fast 9 is currently expected to arrive in UK cinemas from 8 July.