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Why Han From Peaky Blinders Looks So Familiar

The British period piece "Peaky Blinders" focuses on the real-life street gang who terrorized Birmingham while they were active in the early 20th century (via History UK). Following gang leader Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) as he navigates the seedy underworld of organized crime while World War I begins to shake the foundations of European society, the show regularly becomes vicious and bloody as conflicts arise between rival gangs.

Since the crime drama features dozens of characters from both sides of the law to remember and keep track of while newer characters are constantly being introduced, trying to recall who plays what role can sometimes be a bit much. Season 6 alone features many new faces that might have fans of "Peaky Blinders" wondering where they've seen these performers before. One such character is Han, who appears in three episodes of the latest season as portrayed by actor Simon Wan. Han is an opium dealer who sells his product from a cafe in Birmingham and naturally finds himself brushing shoulders with the Peaky Blinders gang as a result. 

If Wan looks familiar to you, it might be because you've seen the actor in some of his other roles. Although Wan doesn't have a great many Hollywood roles to his name, he has appeared in a handful of productions, including the ill-fated pilot for Amazon Prime Video's "The Dark Tower." Here are a few other places you may have seen him in the past.

Simon Wan got his start in short films

According to Simon Wan's IMDb page, the performer and artist first appeared in a 2001 adaptation of "The Catcher," a short film that retold the story of "The Catcher in the Rye" set in London. Wan played the conceited Phil Stabile in the project, an egotistical bully who causes considerable misery to those around him. 12 years later, Wan also appeared in a 2013 short titled "Bayern Pills."

In fact, a sizable chunk of Wan's roles over the years have included short films. Wan was also featured in 2015's "Dog," a short in which he played the title role. The short follows a triad enforcer who is supremely bored with his job of protecting an abandoned building until a heroin addict tests his mettle by breaking in and challenging him. Wan co-wrote the film with his frequent collaborator Robin Schmidt, who also directed the short. Reviews published at the time of the short's release were positive. "A stylish, well-made, and powerful film," wrote Andrew Skeates for Far East Films. "If you are looking for something a little different with a dark edge, than seek out 'Dog.'"

Another 2016 short features Wan as Oberon in a video inspired by "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The highly stylized project reimagines the classic Shakespeare story as a futuristic science fiction tale where a scientist speaks to his sleeping android, influencing her dreams. The short stars Viktoria Modesta and several comments left on the video were incredibly positive. "Was a pleasure having Viktoria as a Queen for a day," Wan himself replied. Other comments included a note from David Here who wrote, "I love this OMG," and Irailton Amanso, who gushed, "Queeeeennnn."

He also has a musical alter-ego

Outside of his film roles, Simon Wan also maintains an active role in the world of music. It's certainly possible that you've seen Wan in "Peaky Blinders" or another role. On the other hand, you might know him by his alter ego, Super Massive Raver. Created by Wan and Robin Schmidt, Super Massive Raver is an over-the-top electronica enthusiast who spouts his life philosophy over beats while reacting to the latest in local and world news.

Speaking in character to Londonist in September 2011, Wan described Super Massive Raver as "Neon green, occasionally obscene and from the rave scene." Wan also claimed to sing better than Leona Lewis and keyed readers in on his musical philosophy. "My musical is if you like it, if it makes you nod, if it makes you move, if it makes you happy, if it makes you sad, then it's proper," Wan said. "No matter what it is." In order to best explain his wide range of musical tastes, Wan admitted that he can "get down" to Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," while also loving performers as diverse as The Eagles, Mariah Carey, and LTJ Bukem.

Though the character is often meant to be comical, he is occasionally topical as well, such as when he responded to the 2011 London riots in a video (via Director's Notes). Notably, Wan is also the author of the novel "Love and a Dozen Roast Potatoes" and an artist who creates his own NFTs and memes (via Simon Wan).

Wan is part of the Wizarding World

The most notable place that you may recognize Simon Wan from is the blockbuster fantasy franchise "Fantastic Beasts." In 2018's "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," Wan played Chang, a wizard and auror allied with the British Ministry of Magic. Perhaps most notably, Chang is also the grandfather of Harry Potter's one-time love interest, Cho Chang (Katie Leung) (via Harry Potter Fandom).

In the second "Fantastic Beasts" movie, Chang follows Head Auror Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner) to the Lestrange Mausoleum in Paris as they attempt to seize Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and put a stop to the evil wizard's plans. Unfortunately, Chang perishes along with most of the other aurors when Grindelwald unleashes a blue flame attack on the magical police. 

Although he ultimately earned little screen time in the film, Wan's role certainly extended the history of the Chang family within the franchise. The Changs first debuted on screen in the Wizarding World in 2005's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Although things weren't meant to be between Harry and Cho, she remains a trusted ally throughout the Battle of Hogwarts in 2011's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."