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Sung Kang Opens Up About Han's Fate In The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift

Justice for Han Lue! Ever since Sung Kang's character supposedly died in a fiery inferno at the end of "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," audiences have wanted to see more from the character. Thankfully, the franchise jumped around in time to bring Han back for "Fast & Furious 6" in an attempt to flesh his character out, but many fans still think the hero was done a disservice.

This is largely because the series retroactively revealed that Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) was the one who killed Han by crashing into his car in "Tokyo Drift." The villain was then given more of the spotlight in the franchise, even starring in his own spin-off alongside Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and fans were furious. Talk about insult to injury. The franchise was seemingly driving forward without addressing the Han-shaped elephant in the room or getting real justice for the driver in any way.

However, as "Fast & Furious 9" revealed, Han is finally coming back to the series. For those that haven't seen the film yet, don't worry — there's no specific spoilers here. During a recent interview for "F9," Sung Kang opened up about how Han's death came about and whether or not his return to the role was originally planned.

It needed to happen

When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about returning to the role, Sung Kang explained that when he worked with director Justin Lin on "Tokyo Drift" back in 2006, the plan wasn't to create a sprawling story with room to give Han more of the spotlight further down the line. "At the time, we never talked about that being a problem or unnecessary, because he is a learned filmmaker who follows story," he said. "Essentially, Tokyo Drift is the hero's journey, and Obi-Wan has to die in a way, right?"

Although it was tragic to see him die in both "Tokyo Drift" as well as the "Fast & Furious 6" mid-credits scene, it was a necessary evil to get to his triumphant return in "F9", the star pointed out. "So that character needed to die, and if he didn't die, I don't think he would be a fan favorite that would now have this campaign behind him." Kang's definitely got a point — if Shaw hadn't killed Han, Han might not have become one of the franchise's most popular characters.

As Kang himself put it, "You appreciate things when they're taken away, and I felt it. When we did Tokyo Drift, there was no talk about continuing him in other parts of the franchise." He also added that he was pleased with the character's story in 2006: "But I felt really happy, and I was like, 'That's the way you go out, man. That's how you get set up to go play other roles that are three-dimensional.'" 

Kang is also grateful that his character resonated with audiences, explaining, "So I felt so grateful that people had a reaction to that character even though he probably says four words in the whole movie. He's just eating snacks." That's not a bad gig.