The Fast & Furious franchise doesn’t engage in too much narrative trickery. The plots are straightforward — and by straightforward, I mean there are cars and people who drive those cars and those people use their cars to fight other people in cars. Carfight! But there’s a surprisingly complicated aspect of the films’ chronology, and that aspect is the character Han, played by actor Sung Kang.
Han was introduced in the third film, Tokyo Drift, as a wise mentor figure for that film’s lead; Han also died in Tokyo Drift. But that film’s final scene made it clear that Han had, once upon a time, run with Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto. Weirdly, the three films that followed Tokyo Drift all wound up exploring that “once upon a time” period. In the fourth film, Fast & Furious, Han was alive again — although he mentioned that he was planning to move to Tokyo. He was back in Fast Five, romancing Gal Gadot’s Gisele; at the end of the film, they joked about moving to Tokyo, although all Han said was that they’d get there “Eventually.” (To further complicate matters, Han was actually originally introduced in Better Luck Tomorrow, the debut film by Justin Lin; Lin imported the character into Tokyo Drift.)
[Spoiler (click to open)]Well, alas, “eventually” has finally arrived. In Fast & Furious 6, Gisele sacrificed herself by flying backwards off a moving car while shooting a bad guy. (Then she faded away into the darkness, like some kind of dying ninja Jedi Valkyrie, with guns.(because she's a BAMF)) In turn, a grieving Han decided to finally move to Tokyo … and, in a post-credits scene, we once again saw his death scene from Tokyo Drift, although this time it became clear that he was actually killed by none other than Jason Freaking Statham.
Actor Sung Kang enjoyed the chance to circle back around to Han’s final moments. “It was refreshing, to have this final send-off for Han, and show why Han is the way he is when he’s in Tokyo. Having that relationship with Gisele, it really explains why his soul is so old in Tokyo Drift.”
Kang feels that the events of Fast & Furious 6 help to clarify why Han becomes a mentor figure in Tokyo Drift. “After Gisele’s death, Han is finally wise. I recently learned the definition of wisdom is education that one is able to teach others. He’s able to teach the meaning of family to the Shawn Boswell character [in Tokyo Drift].”
Kang is proud to have gotten the opportunity to play Han for over a decade. “The franchise has basically given me a career. Pre-Tokyo Drift, I was like: ‘Am I gonna play Yakuza #1 and Chinese Waiter #2 for the rest of my life? Is America even ready for an Asian face that speaks English, that doesn’t do Kung Fu?’”
I pointed out that the movie never actually shows Han and Gisele’s dead bodies — which, given the franchise’s history with resurrecting dead characters, could indicate a return trip. Kang laughs. “I appreciate that,” he says, “But I hope we don’t get to that point. I feel like it’s a proper send-off, don’t you? It’s time to close the book.”
'Fast & Furious 6': That ending! THAT ENDING! (SPOILERS)
So you’ve just finished watching Fast & Furious 6. You’ve seen planes and tanks and flipcars and Paul Walker’s alternate-universe girl-clone and one of the greatest headbutts in the history of human heads. You think it’s all over. The credits roll…and then they stop rolling. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.[Spoiler (click to open)]You see a Mercedes driving through the streets of Tokyo. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you immediately recognize the significance of the Tokyo setting — and you can guess that we’re watching a sequence set during The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. If you’re a deep fan of the franchise, you recognize the crucial importance of what we’re about to see. This is the scene where Han (Sung Kang) dies. Han has been alive in the last few movies, constantly threatening a move to Tokyo; now, he’s finally done it.
But there’s a twist here. In Tokyo Drift, Han was racing away from the Drift King when he was hit — apparently by accident — by a Mercedes. This time, though, we see who was driving that Mercedes … and we learn that it wasn’t an accident at all. The man who killed Han closes out Fast & Furious 6 by making a phone call to Dominic Toretto. “You don’t know me yet,” he says, “But you will.” Perhaps you recognize him. He looks a little bit like this:
Yes, the rumors were true, and the rumors were awesome. Jason Statham — star of the Transporter trilogy, star of the Crank duet, genuine accredited British person — is joining the Fast franchise. Details are scarce about the precise nature of his role in the next installment, though it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that Statham is playing the brother of the now-dead Owen Shaw. (Shaw notably mentioned a brother in an earlier scene in Fast 6 – the Internet has generally agreed to call him “Ian Shaw,” although clearly “Benedict Cumbershaw(nope)” would be more appropriate.) The implications for the future of the franchise are huge. Fast is quickly becoming the nexus of all modern action movies; between Tyrese Gibson and Jason Statham, it has colonized the other two contemporary car franchises (Transformers and Transporter), while also creating an indelible link to Statham’s other gang-of-heroes franchise, The Expendables.
The conclusion of Fast & Furious 6 provides a graceful exit for director Justin Lin, who joined the franchise with Tokyo Drift. When asked about the ending by EW, Lin said, “I was very happy with the whole Jason Statham of it all. It feels good to be able to hand off on a positive note, with Statham joining the cast.” (The Whole Jason Statham Of It All would be a great name for a Statham biography.) Likewise, when we asked Dwayne Johnson about the possibility of Luke Hobbs facing off against the Transporter, he said simply, “The idea of seeing him and myself onscreen going at it is very intriguing and very interesting. Two styles that would collide extraordinarily well.” Then he added, less simply, “My personal message to that person is: Pack a lunch, because it’ll be an all-f—ing-day affair.”
Presumably, Fast 7 will be — at least partially — a vengeance movie, as the remaining members of the Toretto gang come out of re-retirement to avenge the fallen Han. Unless maybe Brother Shaw will be hunting them down — forcing the Toretto Tribe to go on the run? Will Statham’s character have his own coterie of car-driving badasses? Does this mean that there is going to be a climactic fight scene where Statham and Diesel and Johnson have a shirtless shaved-head oiled-up bicep duel, ideally on a sinking oil tanker that is exploding?
Fellow Fast fanatics, what did you think of the ending? Where does the Statham reveal rank in the history of post-credits sequel teases? What other contemporary action stars would you like to see in the franchise? Milla Jovovich as a mysterious Eastern European spy with a crazy car? Tony Jaa as a mysterious Thai crimelord with a crazy car? Sean Bean as the Shaw Brothers’ Evil Uncle, Bowen Shaw? (do want!)
post dedicated to imnotasquirrel