'Fast And Furious' Connection To 'Better Luck Tomorrow' May Run Even Deeper
The ninth Fast and Furious film is (finally) out. Which, if you've seen the movie or just the trailers …
… means you know that Han is back. But that's not the first time Sung Kang's character has been brought back; as fans may know, according to director Justin Lin, Han can be traced all the way back to Lin's 2002 debut film, Better Luck Tomorrow. It's here we see Han's high school life where he and a group of other students engage in various low-level scams and crimes before ultimately (big spoiler warning) murdering the shit out of another student. Fortunately for Han, he and his buddies get away with it, and it's implied that after the events of Better Luck Tomorrow, Han skips town, hooks up with Dominic Toretto in Mexico, and sets off to live life even faster and more furiously.
Now, if you've seen F9 (and we're assuming you have because again you love The Fast and Furious franchise so much that you're huffing exhaust fumes while reading this article, but if not, then here's another big freaking spoiler warning), then you probably noticed another character besides Han show up that we haven't seen canonically since Tokyo Drift and who was also in Better Luck Tomorrow. We're talking about Jason Tobin's character, Earl Hu (he's one of the guys working on the rocket car, if you don't remember). Actually, we already take it back because Jason Tobin plays an entirely different character, Virgil Hu, in Better Luck Tomorrow.
Or is it an entirely different character? See, we think Earl's origins, though not confirmed by Justin Lin, could also trace back to Better Luck Tomorrow. It just takes a little finessing. It is easy enough to believe that Virgil, who, like Han also could have been on the run after high school, just changed his name to Earl to avoid catching heat if he got pinned for murder. (He didn't even have to change his last name.) The only problem is that the next time we see Earl/Virgil is in Tokyo Drift, and while Han has canonically aged past being a high schooler, Earl/Virgil has not.
So how do we account for this? Well, it could be that Virgil is pulling a 21 Jump Street. It's not like it would be hard. Everyone in Tokyo Underground Raceway Highschool looks like they're in their late 20s anyway. It wouldn't be completely out of the realm of possibility in this universe that Virgil would go from high school to high school, just posing as a student, benefitting off of free lunch programs and computer access, to learn about rocket cars and get by. Meanwhile, Han keeps his secret on the down-low, but they stay close by each other to trade drifting secrets and reminisce about their time living in California.
Again, it's just a theory, and it has no bearing on the plot of the movies, but it is fun to think about, and we really believe it can be true. After all, we've seen cars go to space in these movies. Anything is possible.
Top Image: Universal Pictures