Justice for Han in Hobbs and Shaw

Han Seoul-Oh, the constantly snacking, effortlessly cool Fast and Furious character played by Sung Kang, was killed on screen by Jason Statham‘s Deckard Shaw, a character who has since ingratiated himself into Dominic Toretto’s “family” even after murdering one of its best members. That sparked the #JusticeForHan movement, something that franchise writer/producer Chris Morgan is very aware of.

“You should know, in terms of Justice For Han, nobody feels that more than us,” Morgan told me in a recent phone interview promoting this week’s spin-off, Hobbs and Shaw. Our full interview will be published soon, but below, you can find out how this film addresses that death and what Morgan is planning for Deckard Shaw’s arc going forward.

Hobbs and Shaw Trailer

Here’s the relevant section of my interview with Morgan, who’s written every Fast movie since 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (the film which introduced Han to this franchise). Please note that Morgan references a plot point from Hobbs and Shaw that is seen in the trailers, but consider this a minor spoiler warning:

I have to ask you about Han. He’s not mentioned in this movie, but last time we spoke, you said that you’d been thinking a lot about that character. If Han were to come back in a future Fast movie, would it have to be in flashback form? Or would you entertain the idea that he somehow escaped that explosion in Tokyo?

OK, so there’s a lot of questions in there. Let me start with, there’s a line in this movie from Shaw, right before the ancient weapons battle in Samoa where he’s talking to Hattie and he says, ‘There’s things that I’ve done and there’s things that I have to make amends for.’ That, specifically, he’s referring to Han there. That’s why I wrote it that way.

In terms of Han, I think Han and Shaw – Shaw is going to have one of the greatest arcs of the Fast franchise. It is something that we’ve been talking so long and so much about that we want to be able to devote enough time to it to make it really land. But his is an arc of redemption, of regret. You should just know, in terms of Justice for Han, nobody feels the need for that more than us. Especially Sung Kang as a friend, and we altered the entire timeline of the Fast universe to preserve for three additional movies. Believe me, we are the biggest fans, and I want to make sure that his stuff is resolved really well. I’m just going to just leave the other question in terms of flashback or bringing him back – let’s just see how that story lays out.

Fair enough. I was wondering if Han’s ghost haunted you as you’re writing lines for Deckard Shaw, a character who killed him and got away with it?

It does. Honestly, it does. Han is one of my favorite characters. He started my Fast journey with me in terms of the character and also Sung, you know? That character has been a constant for me, one of my very favorite characters, and someone that I think about often, and exactly how we lay out whatever we reveal in the future with him.

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Fast and Furious - Han

I must admit that Shaw’s brief line from Hobbs and Shaw didn’t initially stick out to me as being about Han, who’s never mentioned by name. It makes sense after hearing Morgan’s explanation, but since Shaw has never shown any remorse for that specific killing before, I missed the intentionality behind that line and I thought he just meant that he needed to right some of the wrongs of his past in a more general sense. But even if it wasn’t explicitly clear to me in the movie, I’m glad to hear that at least the Shaw character is still thinking about the damage he did by killing Han.

Morgan’s quote about Shaw having “one of the greatest arcs of the Fast franchise” may anger loyalists who feel Shaw shouldn’t have even been allowed to come this far without addressing his past actions, and it’s going to take some spectacular writing to convince them otherwise. But it sounds like Morgan is at least aware of that and up for the challenge.

If nothing else, it seems like a safe bet that we are going to see Han return in some fashion before this franchise races across the finish line, although it’s still unclear how exactly Morgan plans to pull off that return. But it’s clear that he’s putting a lot of thought into it, and since he obviously has a lot of passion and genuine love for this franchise, I’m hoping diehard fans are going to be pleased with the results.

Hobbs and Shaw hits theaters on August 2, 2019.

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