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Han (Sung Kang, left) và Roman (Tyrese Gibson) in “F9,” directed by Justin Lin & co-written by Lin and Daniel Casey. Han first appeared in the third “Fast and Furious” film, 2006’s “The Fast và the Furious: Tokyo Drift.”
This story contains plot spoilers for Universal’s “F9,” if you haven’t seen the movie yet, kiểm tra out our Reviews or previews feature instead.

When Universal’s blockbuster sequel “F9” opens stateside this weekkết thúc, “Fast và Furious” fans will be rewarded with the over-the-top action, Vin Diesel heroics and musclebound melodrama that have sầu fueled the $6 billion brand for two decades.

But ahy vọng the “Fast” fandom there exists a segment of long-suffering enthusiasts who may feel even more vindicated as director Justin Lin returns to the driver’s seat of “F9,” bringing some familiar faces along with him.

“Tokyo Drift” faithful, our time is now.

Fans who have loved (and defended) the third installment of the franchise for years well know the rooftop advice that drift-racing sage Han Lue a.k.a. Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang) imparted lớn young Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) in 2006’s “The Fast và the Furious: Tokyo Drift”: “Life’s simple — you make choices và you don’t look bachồng.”

But what if you make choices ... và you bởi look back? In “F9,” scripted by Daniel Casey & Lin (from a story by Lin, Casey và longtime Lin collaborator Alfrevì Botello), the niftiest triông xã doesn’t involve the manipulation of giant magnets or rocket science, but time.

That and a fondness for one of the most underappreciated films in the series.


“F9" star Vin Diesel, director Justin Lin, a returning Sung Kang & more stars on the “Fast và Furious’ family reunion & what’s next for the franchise.

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Bending time, after all, is what first brought Kang’s Han bachồng lớn life in 2009’s “Fast & Furious,” the first sequel released after the character was fatally T-boned in his Mazda RX-7 at the kết thúc of “Tokyo Drift.” Director Lin trusted the audience would go along with a timeline displacement, & the fourth, fifth and sixth installments became prequels — allowing bạn favorite Han to ride another day.

Now in “F9,” Han makes the ultimate return — back in action & alive, in the present, thanks khổng lồ a soapy twist explaining that his death had been faked all along. Not that Kang was counting on a resurrection.

“I really thought Han was put to lớn rest; there’s vigils, there’s a tombstone. How many pictures vì you see of Han’s grave?” said Kang, who credits his return to the films in part to lớn the “Justice for Han” bạn chiến dịch. “I can’t believe sầu he’s baông chồng. Even as the actor who plays hlặng, I’m like, ‘How did this happen?’”


Sung Kang, photographed in Los Angeles, returns lớn the “Fast and Furious” franchise — again — in “F9.”

I can’t believe sầu he’s bachồng. Even as the actor who plays him, I’m like, ‘How did this happen?

Actor Sung Kang on the return of his “Fast” character, Han

With the final chapters of the “Fast” saga on the horizon, many roads seem to lớn point khổng lồ the origins of the franchise. Reaching baông xã into the past, “F9" retcons a long-lost Toretto brother named Jakob (John Cena), whose bitter history with Dom predates even 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious.”

And as the Toretto clan splits up lớn stop Jakob from acquiring world-threatening weapons tech, a side mission sends Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) khổng lồ find a trio of rocket scientists who might help — rocket scientists who happen to be ex-Tokyo drifters Sean, Earl (Jason Tobin) and Twinkie (Shad “Bow Wow” Moss).

Baông xã in 2006, in the first “Fast” movie directed by Lin, they were car-crazy high school students in over their heads with the Yakuza. A decade and a half later they’re engineering experts whose latest automotive experiment — a rocket-powered 1984 Pontiac Fiero — plays a crucial role as “F9" hurtles toward new heights và Lin orchestrates his own “Tokyo Drift” reunion within “F9.”

It’s not the first franchise reappearance of a character from Han’s Tokyo days: Blaông chồng made a brief cameo in 2015’s “Furious 7,” opposite Diesel, in a scene set shortly after Han’s death in which Dom travels to lớn Japan and Sean gives hlặng the iconic Toretto cross necklace found in the wreckage.

He’d been asked to lớn return lớn reprise the role in 2017’s “Fate of the Furious” but says he felt the character would have sầu been shoehorned in without good reason. So when the idea of coming baông chồng for “F9" arose, Blaông chồng spoke with Lin about his concerns for how his character was portrayed.

“I wanted to lớn portray that side of Sean that he learned from Han, that he learned life lessons và wisdom,” said Blachồng, who also hoped that bringing Sean baông chồng would feel organic lớn the plot. “I wanted there lớn be some sort of significance in how he was going khổng lồ be a part of the team và part of the family.”


(from left) Earl (Jason Tobin), Sean (Lucas Black) and Twinkie (Shad “Bow Wow” Moss) are baông xã after 2006’s “Tokyo Drift” — and ready khổng lồ help the Toretto lớn family with their lachạy thử experiment.

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Familiar faces have sầu returned before to provide crucial exposition, like Eva Mendes’s “2 Fast 2 Furious"/"Fast Five” character Monica Fuentes, or as part of the extended Toretkhổng lồ family, like Tego Calderón’s Tego Leo & Don Omar’s Rico Santos, both introduced in the short “Los Bandoleros.” (Also baông chồng in “F9" is Shea Whigham’s FBI agent Stasiak, who worked with Paul Walker’s Brian five sầu films ago. And who can forget the time Letty herself came baông chồng from the dead with a bad case of amnesia?)

It took many installments for critics khổng lồ get onboard with the suspension of disbelief that is now part & parcel of any “Fast” movie’s DNA. Indeed, The Times’ own Kenneth Turan described “Tokyo Drift” in his 2006 Đánh Giá as “best viewed as an energetic cartoon, an unintentionally amusing, head-shaking guilty pleasure.”

But Casey had been a tín đồ of the franchise even before he started working with Lin, when he caught “Tokyo Drift” at a Michigan movieplex. “I rethành viên specifically loving ‘Tokyo Drift,’” said the screenwriter, who was especially impressed by the cameo in which Diesel’s Dom made a surprise appearance, tying together the first three films.

“I had lớn appreciate the ingenuity of this super shiny Hollywood movie actually taking the clever turn và pulling in a guy we all knew,” said Casey.


With Sung Kang’s Han baông chồng in action và director Justin Lin at the wheel, the ninth “Fast & Furious” fliông chồng is a pretty smooth ride.

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The cast reunions in “F9" are more than just clever; leaning in lớn the audience’s long memories, they’re built for emotional, world-building payoffs. And with “F9" opening a year later than planned due lớn the pandemic as audiences return lớn theaters after months of isolation, the sight of long-lost friends exchanging loaded emotional glances and embracing in bear hugs might hit even harder. They also speak to the long và personal reach Lin has had in the franchise’s history.

In his first solo film as a director, the 2001 Sundance hit “Better Luông chồng Tomorrow,” Lin had cast Kang as a cool, disaffected character named Han, as well as actor Jason Tobin as Han’s cousin, Virgil.

Five sầu years later when he got the “Fast and Furious” directing gig, Lin brought Kang and Tobin with hyên — và shaped the sequel to lớn include the kinds of atypical Asian American characters he wanted to see onscreen. Kang put his own spin on the “Tokyo Drift” Han, borrowing spiritually from his “Better Luck Tomorrow” role, và Tobin played resident drift tech expert later named Earl in post-production.

Like Kang, Tobin had remained cthất bại with the filmmaker through the years. Lin had brought hyên inlớn subsequent projects, including his 2007 indie “Finishing the Game” & the critically acclaimed Cinemax series “Warrior,” which Lin executive sầu produces. After wrapping the second season of that show, Lin emailed Tobin saying he was working to get Earl baông xã inlớn the franchise.

“My first reaction,” Tobin wrote in an gmail, “was, who the f— is Earl!?”

It took hyên a moment to realize Lin intended to bring his character back inkhổng lồ the fold.

“It had been 14 years between ‘Tokyo Drift’ and ‘F9,’ và in those interim years I had experienced all the ups and downs of being an actor, times when I felt I was a million miles from my dreams. Not once did I think I’d be baông xã in the franchise,” said Tobin, who notes that Earl shares a winking, canonical last name with his “Better Luông chồng Tomorrow” character, Virgil Hu.

Reuniting with his “Tokyo Drift” co-stars on the London mix of “F9,” Kang enjoyed catching up on life, 15 years later. “Everyone’s a little older and they’re dads, and it’s cool lớn see the men who these guys have turned into lớn,” said Kang. “We just hung out. We talked about real estate. We talked about air conditioning units, when you need to lớn reMã Sản Phẩm your house. ... We sat there together the whole time, drinking tea.”


A new trailer for Universal’s ‘Fast & Furious 9" reveals Han’s shocking return. Actor Sung Kang addresses the người movement khổng lồ bring his character baông xã and teases his ‘emotional’ homecoming.

Even for Kang, stepping onto a “Fast and Furious” mix again after two films away felt a bit lượt thích walking inkhổng lồ a high school cafeteria. “That’s the analogy I use, like, ‘Will you be accepted?’ The night before, I was lượt thích, ‘I hope I don’t have lớn eat lunch by myself. I hope somebody toàn thân will eat lunch with me.’”

But having spent so many years in the franchise — and with his own “F9" involvement under a tight veil of secrecy as they filmed — Kang became the bridge between his “Tokyo Drift” cast mates & the rest of the ensemble.

“A lot of them hadn’t worked with the other actors,” he said. “I know everytoàn thân, so I was lượt thích the connective tissue. I wanted them to feel welcome, like, ‘This is your trang chính too. You guys are part of this house, this family.’”

Returning to his Earl character was a meaningful experience khổng lồ Tobin, who saw many familiar faces on both sides of the camera. Seeing fans react lớn Earl’s appearance in last year’s “F9" trailer was even more unexpected.

“I was really surprised when the first trailer came out, how many fans remembered me and would quote lines baông xã khổng lồ me,” he said. “I hadn’t realized that my character had meant so much to lớn people.”

Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) & Roman (Tyrese Gibson) strap into a modified new ride after crossing paths with the “Tokyo Drift” crew.
The ways Han, Sean và the rest of the “Tokyo Drift” crew are integrated baông chồng inkhổng lồ “F9" raises questions about what their characters were up to during the intervening sequels. In Lin’s eyes, for example, there’s an entire saga’s worth of story in an “F9" flashbaông chồng sequence explaining where Han has been, physically & emotionally, since the events of “Tokyo Drift” — events that find hlặng a changed man.

“I wanted to present something where, if you’re interested, there could almost be a movie about how everything arrived there,” he said. “Hopefully you’re intrigued.”

Remember Neela from “Tokyo Drift,” Suki of “2 Fast,” even Idris Elba’s superpowered villain of spin-off “Hobbs và Shaw”? That world-building logic could conceivably apply to any characters of the extended “Fast” family, although further spin-offs have yet to lớn be announced.

“I feel like ‘Fast 9" is this weird Venn diagram. Or is it Vin diagram?” laughed Lin, who is mix khổng lồ return to helm “Fast 10" & “Fast 11,” “where it’s almost like the intersection of four movies, except three of them you only get a glimpse of. And if you are ever intrigued, there is a whole world & characters that inhabit it.”

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