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Fast & Furious Doesn't Get Enough Credit For Its Inclusivity, Says F9 Star


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F9: The Fast Saga star Sung Kang has opened up about the Fast and Furious franchise’s efforts for diversity and inclusivity in a new interview. The actor, who plays fan-favorite character Han in the films, is returning to the franchise in F9 after appearing to be killed at the start of Furious 7 (or the middle of Tokyo Drift…it’s all a bit confusing). Han’s return has been met with excitement from the Fast fanbase, and early critical reactions to the movie have been very positive so far.

As a franchise, Fast and Furious has always succeeded on two main merits – the insanity of its stunts, and the strength of its ensemble. That ensemble has grown massive in size over the years, including a diverse group of stars. Fast and Furious is far from flawless when it comes to representation – especially when it comes to the writing of its female characters – but it has been a forerunner in expanding diversity in major Hollywood blockbusters.

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RELATED: Biggest Tokyo Drift Questions That Fast & Furious 9 Can Answer

In a recent interview with People, Sung Kang discussed that legacy and the reputation of the franchise as “popcorn” movies. “It's a course correction of always respecting the fan base and the audience,” Kang said when asked about the resurrection of his Han character. “You can't just dismiss that inner tension, right? And fortunately, you have creative people that respect the fans enough to course-correct, create a story to give that explanation, do justice and pay respect.” He then went on to discuss the franchise’s broader efforts to tell a respectful story for its characters.

“I think that's the challenge that Fast has had since its birth, that it's a popcorn movie about fast cars and a bunch of stunts. But I think it's the last movie to get any credit. It's been a movie that represented inclusiveness and diversity, and then it's proven that it's financially viable in Hollywood. That diversity, it works… Never dismiss and disrespect the audience. They are the reason why the movies exist, so you can't just ignore them. It's cool and great that a studio like Universal listens, they listen. That's a course correction. That's the justice.”

Again, it would be negligent to talk about representation in Fast and Furious without acknowledging how the franchise has historically stumbled when it comes to its female characters and stars – a problem Michelle Rodriguez has spoken about publicly on many occasions. Fortunately, those issues have been somewhat mended in recent installments, both from the continued introduction of compelling female characters and improvements to how they’re written. According to Rodriguez, F9 has made significant strides forward in that regard.

Fast and Furious has also broken ground for its representation behind the camera, with director Justin Lin having turned the franchise into one of the most commercially successful in history. Lin’s absence from Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious saw the series drop off a bit in its critical success and it handled the death of Han in such poor fashion that fans started demanding justice for the character. Fortunately, both Lin and Han are back in full swing in F9: The Fast Saga.

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