The Fast & Furious movies are absolutely jam-packed with plot, from secret weapons to heists to double crosses and last-minute rescues. They're movies driven by big action, sure, but within that big action is a lot of spy movie narrative structuring, which means that even when you know the overarching plot, there are a few other things worth keeping straight in your head if you're going to follow along.
In the upcoming Fast X, we know that Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family are going to face the wrath of Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), who wants revenge for the job the crew pulled way back in Fast Five. That'll take up a lot of real estate in the new movie's story, to be sure, but there are other narrative threads the film is also likely to tug at, including perhaps the most exciting reveal from F9: the long-awaited return of Han (Sung Kang).
So, before Fast X rolls around, let's take a look back at Han's death, rebirth, and current standing within the franchise, and what that might mean for the new film.
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What Happened to Han Before F9?
First introduced in The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, Han was seemingly killed in that film when his car was rammed by another mysterious vehicle, and eventually burst into flames. Dom showed up at the end of that film to proclaim that Han was "family," which set up a shift in the timeline that placed subsequent films in the series before the events of Tokyo Drift. That meant Han was able to come back and show the audience why he and Dom were so close, beginning with Fast & Furious and continuing through the events of Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. At the end of the sixth film, the timelines converge, and we learn that Han's death was actually orchestrated by master criminal Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), deepening the animosity between the Toretto crew and the Shaw family.
After Han's death, though, things shifted in terms of allegiances, and by the end of Fate of the Furious, the Shaw brothers and their mother, Queenie (Helen Mirren), had become allies to Dom and his family, all while Han was seemingly still very dead. That led many fans to ask when there would finally be "Justice for Han," since Deckard was still clearly responsible for his death. Or was he?
Photo: The Best of Han | Fast & Furious Saga | Screen Bites YouTube
In F9, while working to track down and understand a mysterious device called Project Aries, the Toretto crew discovers that Han is actually very much alive, and has spent the last several years in hiding with a young woman named Elle (Anna Sawai), whose DNA is actually the key to Project Aries. After his partner Gisele (Gal Gadot) died, Han took the job of protecting Project Aries, and by extension Elle, at the behest of Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). Once it became clear that the only way to truly do that was to appear dead to the world, Mr. Nobody faked Han's death, using Shaw's attack as cover. Shaw, it should be made clear, wasn't in on this, and really thought he was murdering Han on the streets of Tokyo.
Fast X Featurette Spotlights Vin Diesel, Helen Mirren
The Toretto crew was, of course, happy to have their friend back in the fold, and Han was once again driving with his family throughout F9. But the happy reunion wasn't the only thing on his mind. In the film's post-credits scene, Han visits Deckard Shaw, who reacts in silent shock when he sees the man he thought he killed.
Justice for Han?
So what happens now? We know from trailers for Fast X that we'll get to see more of that confrontation between Shaw and Han, and we also know that much of the movie will be preoccupied with the struggle against Dante and what it means for the Toretto family. We'll have to wait until the movie's in theaters to see how it all resolves, but one thing is very clear: Han hasn't forgotten what Shaw did to him, and he's not going to let it go unaddressed.
Fast X is in theaters May 19. Get tickets now.
Relive a small portion of the Fast Saga with Furious 7 — now streaming now on Peacock. If you want to catch up on the full story, however, click right here for our nifty guide on where to stream the first nine installments (plus Hobbs & Shaw).