So you’ve just finished watching Fast & Furious 6. You’ve seen planes and tanks and flipcars and Paul Walker’s alternate-universe girl-clone and one of the greatest headbutts in the history of human heads. You think it’s all over. The credits roll…and then they stop rolling. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. You see a Mercedes driving through the streets of Tokyo. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you immediately recognize the significance of the Tokyo setting — and you can guess that we’re watching a sequence set during The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. If you’re a deep fan of the franchise, you recognize the crucial importance of what we’re about to see. This is the scene where Han (Sung Kang) dies. Han has been alive in the last few movies, constantly threatening a move to Tokyo; now, he’s finally done it.
But there’s a twist here. In Tokyo Drift, Han was racing away from the Drift King when he was hit — apparently by accident — by a Mercedes. This time, though, we see who was driving that Mercedes … and we learn that it wasn’t an accident at all. The man who killed Han closes out Fast & Furious 6 by making a phone call to Dominic Toretto. “You don’t know me yet,” he says, “But you will.” Perhaps you recognize him. He looks a little bit like this:
Yes, the rumors were true, and the rumors were awesome. Jason Statham — star of the Transporter trilogy, star of the Crank duet, genuine accredited British person — is joining the Fast franchise. Details are scarce about the precise nature of his role in the next installment, though it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that Statham is playing the brother of the now-dead Owen Shaw. (Shaw notably mentioned a brother in an earlier scene in Fast 6 – the Internet has generally agreed to call him “Ian Shaw,” although clearly “Benedict Cumbershaw” would be more appropriate.) The implications for the future of the franchise are huge. Fast is quickly becoming the nexus of all modern action movies; between Tyrese Gibson and Jason Statham, it has colonized the other two contemporary car franchises (Transformers and Transporter), while also creating an indelible link to Statham’s other gang-of-heroes franchise, The Expendables.
The conclusion of Fast & Furious 6 provides a graceful exit for director Justin Lin, who joined the franchise with Tokyo Drift. When asked about the ending by EW, Lin said, “I was very happy with the whole Jason Statham of it all. It feels good to be able to hand off on a positive note, with Statham joining the cast.” (The Whole Jason Statham Of It All would be a great name for a Statham biography.) Likewise, when we asked Dwayne Johnson about the possibility of Luke Hobbs facing off against the Transporter, he said simply, “The idea of seeing him and myself onscreen going at it is very intriguing and very interesting. Two styles that would collide extraordinarily well.” Then he added, less simply, “My personal message to that person is: Pack a lunch, because it’ll be an all-f—ing-day affair.”
Presumably, Fast 7 will be — at least partially — a vengeance movie, as the remaining members of the Toretto gang come out of re-retirement to avenge the fallen Han. Unless maybe Brother Shaw will be hunting them down — forcing the Toretto Tribe to go on the run? Will Statham’s character have his own coterie of car-driving badasses? Does this mean that there is going to be a climactic fight scene where Statham and Diesel and Johnson have a shirtless shaved-head oiled-up bicep duel, ideally on a sinking oil tanker that is exploding?
Fellow Fast fanatics, what did you think of the ending? Where does the Statham reveal rank in the history of post-credits sequel teases? What other contemporary action stars would you like to see in the franchise? Milla Jovovich as a mysterious Eastern European spy with a crazy car? Tony Jaa as a mysterious Thai crimelord with a crazy car? Sean Bean as the Shaw Brothers’ Evil Uncle, Bowen Shaw?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich
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