Forget your cape heroes and austere prestige dramas the most auspicious franchise season is here again. The Fast Saga has blessed us with a trailer for its latest iteration, the ninth Fast and
Furious film, aptly titled F9. There’s more to the trailer than meets the eye. It’s impossible to talk about the F9 trailer and not talk about Han Lue. If you’re a casual viewer of the Fast and Furious franchise or you’re still catching up on it, you might need some context.
The end of the trailer features a Korean man walking in and munching on a snack. That would be Han Lue, played by Sung Kang, who has presumably been recovering from getting kílled in an earlier movie. Han is at the center of a mildly confusing timeline shift that the Fast and Furious franchise made as it was hitting the metaphorical NOS button.
The character was introduced and subsequently died in what appears to be a street racing crash during 2006’s Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, but Han’s presence proved to be so beloved by fans that the character was included in the fourth, fifth, and sixth films. The canonical timeline was rearranged so that Tokyo Drift actually takes place after the events of Fast & Furious 6. The mid-credits scene of Fast 6 shows the exact scene from Tokyo Drift in which Han díes, but reveals the crash to be an intentional act by Deckard Shaw.
Since Han’s dèath and the later rehabilitation of Deckard as a good guy, the hashtag #JusticeforHan became popular online for two reasons. One, the character is deeply missed and two, because it’s more than a little unfair that his kíller is now buddy-buddy with Team Dom.
“Justice is coming” according to the trailer, and we couldn’t be more excited. We couldn’t be happier to see that Helen Mirren is reprising her role as Magdalene Shaw once again after the character first appeared in Fate of the Furious, and then cameoed in Hobbs & Shaw. If you missed her most recent appearance in Hobbs & Shaw, you might not know that Magdalene was sprung out of prison by Deckard and Hattie, two of her three children.
Unfortunately, due to the productions of Hobbs & Shaw and F9 overlapping, neither Deckard nor Hattie will be joining the team in F9. Their new Best Friend Forever, Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs, will likewise not be appearing in F9. Owen Shaw, however, might be a different story. Originally the major antagonist of Fast 6, Owen ended up in a hospital after Dom’s crew did a number on him. That stay in the hospital was what originally motivated big brother Deckard to kíll Han and swear vengeance on Dom’s Family, before ultimately breaking bread with them in Fate of the Furious.
The writers for Fast and Furious 9 have obliquely teased that Owen might be ready to rumble again beyond his brief cameo in Fate of the Furious, though they didn’t specify when. It’s entirely possible he’ll skip ahead to appear in Fast and the Furious 10 instead, which is already in pre production. Still, his possible appearance is something to keep in mind as the story revs up. As the F9 trailer reveals, Dom and Mia Toretto have a secret brother now:
Jakob. In fact, director Justin Lin is returning to the franchise after sitting out for the seventh and eighth films precisely because he wanted to invert the trope of found family in the Fast and Furious franchise. As he told Entertainment Weekly:
“When I left after Fast 6, I really thought that was it, like, there’s no more Fast stories I can tell. Then two years ago, I woke up with an idea for the new chapter. And a big part of that is exploring this theme of family that is always tied to Fast, but doing it through blood.”
“You don’t turn your back on family. Even when they do.”
Given all the new familial surprises in F9, it looks like there’s never been a better time for Dom’s sister Mia Toretto to make a full return to the front lines of the Fast franchise. We last saw Mia in action back in Fast and Furious 6, but she took a backseat in Furious 7 due to her second pregnancy. Rather than báttle super spies, she stayed in the Dominican Republic while the rest of the Family drove cars through skyscrapers. Things became complicated following the sudden and trágic dèath of Paul Walker in 2013, halfway through production of Furious 7.
An entire coda was added to the end of the film to celebrate Walker’s life through his character Brian and his relationship to Mia as part of the overarching story. Since Mia’s character is so entwined with Brian, she didn’t appear in Fate of the Furious under the guise of the two wanting a quieter, safer life with their children. The entire franchise has had a period of readjustment since Walker’s loss, and Mia’s place within canon represents the biggest challenge of all: how do you write around the fact that Mia gets to go back on big, superheroic car adventures and Brian doesn’t?
Apparently the answer involves giving her and Dom a secret thief-slash-assassin brother played by John Cena. This bombastic trailer has plenty of details to pore over, but it’s definitely not revealing everything. For one thing, Michael Rooker is nowhere to be found. The veteran character actor was confirmed to be joining the cast way back in August 2019.
It’s odd that an actor enjoying a nice career high thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn’t featured in a trailer for another massive franchise. All we know for certain is that his character’s name is Buddy, and that Rooker was cast in the last minute as production set to begin. Considering the timing, it’s possible he replaced an actor whose availability suddenly fell through.
From there, we can only speculate. Will he be playing Dom, Mia, and Jakob’s father? Some sort of new henchman to Charlize Theron’s villainous Cypher? Or maybe he’ll simply be a helpful car mechanic to get the Fast Family back on the road.
One thing’s for sure though:
“Have you ever heard the saying ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend?’ I don’t got friends, I got family.”
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