Fast 9 director Justin Lin says Han probably would have stayed dead if a scene at the end of the last film did not cause fan outrage
The handling of Deckard Shaw's BBQ scene in "Fast 8" confused "F9" director Justin Lin.
Shaw killed Han in "F6." It upset fans that he seemed friendly with Dom while never addressing Han.
Lin tells Insider Han "probably" would've remained dead if Shaw wasn't at the BBQ.
"Fast & Furious" fan-favorite Han (Sung Kang) unexpectedly returned from the dead in "F9," but he likely would've stayed dead if 2017's "The Fate of the Furious" didn't spark some outrage from fans.
On the commentary and bonus features for "F9: The Director's Cut," out now, director Justin Lin mentioned how one small moment ultimately helped bring Han back to the franchise.
"Two-three years ago, someone mentioned that [Deckard] Shaw was at the Toretto barbecue," Lin said on a featurette. "That was the first time I heard about 'Justice for Han.' I started talking to fans and I realized they were really upset."
When Lin left the franchise in 2013, Shaw (Jason Statham) had killed Han and was an antagonist to Dom (Vin Diesel) and his family.
Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) drops Dom's son off at a family gathering at the end of "The Fate of the Furious." Universal Pictures
Though Shaw saved Dom's son in "Fate," it was confusing to fans - and Lin - that Han's murderer was chummy with Dom after killing one of his dear friends at the end of "Fast 6," not acknowledging what had happened.
On a bonus feature for "F9," Lin said fans weren't solely upset by Shaw's presence at the family gathering.
"I think what really upset them wasn't that he was at the barbecue, it's the fact that Han was never discussed," Lin said.
In turn, the moment came across as disrespectful to Han's memory. On the feature commentary, Lin said he still had "no idea" why Shaw's cameo at the BBQ was handled the way it was handled.
"After discovering this whole 'Justice for Han' movement, I even sat and talked to the studio and I said, 'What happened?'" Lin said on the film's commentary. "Nobody could give me an answer... I felt like it was something that needed to be addressed... If they actually did handle it correctly, then Han would probably stay dead."
Justin Lin told Insider that he was confused over why Deckard Shaw's BBQ visit was handled the way that it was in "The Fate of the Furious." Insider
During a press day for the film's home release, Insider asked Lin to clarify what he said on the film's commentary. Specifically, we asked if it would be correct to say that Han would've stayed dead if his murderer didn't show up at the family BBQ at the end of "Fast 8."
"Probably. I think you're right," Lin told Insider.
"When I talked to the fans, they would come up and talk to me about it and I was confused because I wasn't part of it," Lin said.
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The director told Insider that he does think "if it was handled in a way that didn't result in outrage from fans," it would have been "appropriate" to leave Han dead.
Though Lin has had conversations about characters and roadmaps for where the franchise could potentially go for more than the past decade, he never considered Han being alive when he originally left the franchise in 2013.
Now that he's back, he's excited about the potential for where they can go from here in the next two films.
"It's kind of poetic that now I'm back, I get to bring Han back and we get to have more adventures," Lin added.