‘Fast X’: Who Is Han & How Did He Survive Tokyo Drift?

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The tenth movie of the Fast & Furious franchise — Fast X — recently premiered in theaters. This newest installment is everything Fast & Furious fans would expect it to be; full of high-octane action, charismatic actors, Vin Diesel’s tank tops, and the usual stuff. Fast X assembled the biggest ensemble cast this franchise has ever seen, with so many returning characters and newcomers. One of the returning characters is Sung Kang’s Han, who’s been a part of the franchise since 2006’s Tokyo Drift, in which he was also killed off, or at least we thought so. So, let’s see how Han survived the car crash that allegedly killed him.

Sung Kang joined the Fast & Furious franchise as Han in 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Although he was killed off in that very same movie, the fans’ positive reaction toward the character brought him back to 2009’s Fast & Furious, 2011’s Fast Five, and 2013’s Fast & Furious 6, which were all set before the events of Tokyo Drift. However, Han returned again in 2021’s F9 after it was revealed that Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody faked his death. Sung Kang recently reprised the role of Han again in Fast X.

Han is one of the most beloved characters among Fast & Furious fans, but interestingly, Sung Kang played the character of Han long before he joined the franchise. In case you didn’t know, Sung Kang played a character called Han Lue in 2002’s Better Luck Tomorrow, directed by Justin Lin. When Lin was hired to direct Tokyo Drift, he brought Han into the movie, claiming it was the same character from Better Luck Tomorrow. While Better Luck Tomorrow was never acknowledged as a canon of the Fast & Furious franchise, this is still an interesting fact about the character of Han.

What makes Han such a special Fast & Furious character?

In 2002, when the Fast & Furious franchise wasn’t even one year old, Justin Lin directed Better Luck Tomorrow, his second director project and his solo directorial debut. The movie follows a group of young Asian Americans who are caught in the web of criminal life. The movie starred Sung Kang as Han Lue. Following the release of 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, starring Paul Walker, Universal Pictures hired Chris Morgan to write a script for a new standalone movie, and Justin Lin was hired to direct.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift featured an entirely new cast, featuring Lucas Black, Bow Wow, and Sung Kang, who played the character named Han again. Although the franchise never officially acknowledged that Han from Better Luck Tomorrow and Han from Tokyo Drift are one of the same, Lin and Kang confirmed that was always the idea. In Tokyo Drift, Han was killed in a car crash that seemed like an accident at the time, although future movies will show that that famous crash was anything but a mere accident.

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After Vin Diesel agreed to make a cameo at the end of Tokyo Drift, Universal decided to develop another sequel with the original cast; Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez. Although his character was killed off in Tokyo Drift, Sung Kang was also brought back due to the fans’ positive response to his performance in Tokyo Drift. Therefore 2009’s Fast & Furious served as the soft reboot and the first of three prequels to Tokyo Drift. Kang reprised the role in 2011’s Fast Five and 2013’s Fast & Furious 6, which completed the prequel trilogy to Tokyo Drift.

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The post-credit scene of Fast & Furious 6 later revealed that the events of Tokyo Drift took place not long after Fast & Furious 6. Still, it also showed that a car crash in which Han was killed was caused by Deckard Shaw, the brother of Owen Shaw, who was the main villain of Fast & Furious 6. This set up the events of Furious 7, in which Deckard was the main villain. With Furious 7 acknowledging the events of Tokyo Drift, Lucas Black also returned to reprise the role of Han’s friend Sean Boswell.

For the next two movies, we all believed that Han was actually dead.

Furious 7 is considered one of the best Fast & Furious installments because it features a story about revenge from both sides. On one side, we have Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, who is seeking revenge against the family for what happened to his brother, and on the other side, we have Dominic Toretto, who is seeking revenge against Shaw for killing Han. Furious 7 was also the last movie that featured the late star Paul Walker, with a beautiful and emotional tribute at the end.

The next movie, The Fate of the Furious, featured the family without Brian O’Conner and Han going against a new threat. Still, they also made some new allies, including their former enemy Deckard Shaw. Even though Jason Statham is a huge action star who perfectly fits into this franchise as both the good and the bad guy, some fans were displeased with this character development since his character was responsible for Han’s death.

To please both Han and Deckard’s fans, the writers wrote a pretty surprising subplot into the ninth movie, which revealed that Han was alive all along. The crash which allegedly killed him was orchestrated by Mr. Nobody, who recruited Han to work for him sometime before the events of Tokyo Drift and later helped him fake his death to keep him off the grid. Yes, that was also met with some criticism because we’ve lost count of how many times this franchise resurrected a dead character, but in the end, no fan was against Han’s return.

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Is Han in Fast X, and will he return in Fast 11?

The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Fast X!

After Han rejoined the family in F9, it was confirmed that Sung Kang would reprise the role again in Fast X. Fast X assembled the biggest ensemble cast this franchise has ever seen. With a runtime of 141 minutes, some of the characters got much less screentime than we expected. After the family separated in Rome, Han spent most of the movie with Roman, Tej, and Ramsey. His most important scene is when he returns to Deckard Shaw, who still believes Han is dead. This was also teased in the post-credit scene of F9, and Fast X depicted how that encounter played out.

During the movie’s third act, a plane that carried Han, Roman, Tej, and Ramsey was taken down by Aimes, a government agent who had been working with Jason Momoa’s villain Dante. The plane crashed in the woods, and we don’t know what happened to those four family members. Fast 11 will reveal what happened for sure. While it’s possible that all four of them survived, it could be that one or two of them actually died in the crash. We believe that Han survived the crash because he was brought back from the dead once, so why would the writers kill him again now?

It’s unknown if Sung Kang has already signed to reprise the role in the next movie, but as Fast & Furious is slowly reaching its end, we bet that the writers want to keep as many of the veteran actors as possible for the final ride.

Fast X is now playing in theaters worldwide.

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