Let's talk Han spoilers! Sung Kang and Justin Lin on shocking F9 mid-credits scene, Tokyo Drift sequel
Warning: This article contains spoilers for F9.
Sung Kang is more than ready to talk. "It's such a relief," he tells EW. "No more calls, and no more texts of how is Han back: 'Come on, spill the beans, we're boys.' Nope, look at the movie."
It was way back in January 2020 when the action-packed first trailer for F9 ended with a bang - and a crunch. The always-snacking and long-presumed-dead Han (Kang) was revealed to be alive. Kang's return as the fan-favorite character, who last appeared in 2013's Fast & Furious 6, left fans in desperate need of answers. But after an unexpected 13-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, F9 was finally released in theaters Friday.
For a spoiler-filled F9 chat, which can be seen in full above, EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga was joined by Kang, fellow stars Jordana Brewster and Helen Mirren, and director Justin Lin. If you don't want to know the specifics of Han's revival and that tasty mid-credits scene, or juicy plans for what is next, then go grab a Corona and come back when you've seen the film.
Han vs. Shaw, let's ride! Going in, we knew that Han was returning and "justice for Han" had been teased - but Jason Statham wasn't expected to appear in F9, even recently telling EW of his Fast future, "They better bring me back, because I need to put out that fire. If he's got any score to settle, it's with me." Well, consider the score ready to be settled, because F9's mid-credits scene brings back Shaw (Statham) and finds him hitting a punching bag that happens to contain an unidentified man, until there's a knock on the door. Who's there? Han, the beloved family member who audiences and seemingly Shaw himself believed he had killed, as depicted in the mid-credits scene of 2013's Fast & Furious 6.
When asked what audiences should take from the F9 stinger, Kang has a simple yet intriguing tease: "I think there's just one word - Gisele. All roads lead to Gisele."
"I feel like it's making a big promise," Lin adds. "It's so funny because I'd called [Statham] and he came and did the tag for 6, and we had talked about all this stuff. Then I called him one day and said, 'Hey Jason, I'm not going to do 7.' He's like, 'What?!' And so then I called him and I say, 'Hey Jason, I'm going to have you do the tag for 9.' And he's like, "But we get to work together after this!'"
Shaw's presence is key to Lin and Fast following through on "justice for Han," a campaign that began when fans became frustrated with how the aftermath of Han's death was handled, as Shaw went from family-killing villain to hero of his own spin-off, 2019's Hobbs & Shaw. Lin and Kang have been adamant that "justice for Han" is ongoing and won't just be magically solved in one film, but they view this reveal as a good start.
"The angst isn't there anymore, right?" says Kang. "I think when people see that scene, their feelings towards Deckard Shaw are going to be a little different. Like the idea of him being part of the family, we're one step closer to making that respectable and sincere. Because look, at the end of the day, everybody loves Jason. I want him to be part of the family, I want to have scenes with him - who doesn't want Jason in their movie? So we got to figure it out, and I know he wants to be a part of it. But you never know; what you think is going to happen is usually not where we're going."
Now let's go back a few steps to how Han is even alive to begin with. In F9, on a fact-finding trip to Tokyo, Mia (Brewster) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are saved by a young woman named Elle (Anna Sawai) and her protector… Han. Upon returning to the team's new base, Han explains what happened to him: Shortly after the death of Gisele (Gal Gadot) in Fast 6, our old friend - and Gisele's former boss - Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) reached out to Han to recruit him for some spy work. An early mission found Han breaking into a Tokyo home to steal part of Project Aries, only for the owners to be assassinated, prompting Han to step in and save their daughter, Elle, who would turn out to be the literal key to Aries. With Han set to look after Elle and the threat of a rogue Mr. Nobody agent (John Cena's Jakob), the arrival of Shaw in that infamous Tokyo Drift crash scene was used to fake Han's death, albeit without Shaw's knowledge, as far as we know. Speaking of Mr. Nobody, his fate is left up in the air in F9, but Lin doesn't want to give away too much because "it definitely plays into something bigger."
"I feel there is a lot of pressure, but I would also say that the pressure shouldn't be on this film," Lin says of paying off "justice for Han" and the character's latest revival. "I think the way it's being presented, I feel like there's a whole film with Han, Elle, Mr. Nobody, and even Gisele. There was something about the connection between Gisele and Mr. Nobody that I don't know why, [but] it brought me back to casting Gal."
The idea of a Han vehicle outside the main Fast series, which is set to wrap up with two more installments, is clearly something that Lin and Kang have talked about, with Kang even throwing out the possibility of a Tokyo Drift Part 2.
"There's great tools here to tell the stories that we want to tell," Kang says. "And instead of these ideas of 'Let's go do this movie, let's go do this franchise,' I realize how mature Justin has become because he said, 'I'm really comfortable in my skin now and I'm really proud of what we've accomplished within the Fast universe. And let me quench my thirst to tell other stories within this world, and let me use the characters that already exist because we have a shorthand, there's a trust, there's a support from the studio, there's a fan base.' That's a level of enlightenment and kind of comfort in yourself and your place that I think opens the door to so many possibilities. So with that perspective, I think there's room for a Tokyo Drift 2."
While Lin, who made his Fast debut with 2006's Tokyo Drift, is already prepping for Fast 10 and 11, the filmmaker is doing his best to conceal his future plans for Han.
"I've been talking to Sung a lot," he says of his friend and collaborator since 2003's Better Luck Tomorrow. "I've been working on something, and, oh boy, I shouldn't say more than that, but Han is obviously such a special character… There was a big chunk of time where I'm like, we're going to do 'justice for Han,' but he's not coming back. The fact that we did that in 9 and he's now back for real, I want to make sure that we don't take that lightly. I can assure you I've definitely been working on a lot of stuff, been talking a lot about Han."
To listen, subscribe to EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga feed via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also subscribe to EW's YouTube page to catch all the video interviews, and stay tuned to EW.com for even more Fast coverage.
F9 (2021 Movie)