Full spoilers ahead for Fast 9.
While there are two more sequels planned, Fast 9 almost works as a finale to the two-decade-old Fast & Furious saga, ending on a sweet note about family (because it’s all about family) that also keeps the spirit of the late Paul Walker and his character Brian O’Conner alive. There’s also a mid-credits scene that nods to the “Justice for Han” fan campaign.
Is Brian O’Conner in Fast 9?
Fast 9 director Justin Lin has confirmed that Brian O’Conner is still alive in the Fast universe. When Paul Walker died in 2013, Furious 7 had not yet completed filming so the movie was overhauled to essentially write his character out of the series going forward. At the end of Furious 7, Brian and his girlfriend Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) flee the outlaw life in order to raise their children in safety. And while the specter of Walker looms over the subsequent Fast & Furious films, and Brian and Mia have been mentioned, the series avoided directly bringing Brian back … until the very last scene of Fast 9.
In Fast 9, Mia rejoins Dom and the crew to track down and stop their renegade agent brother, Jakob Toretto (John Cena). Mia tells Dom that Brian is looking after his namesake, Dom’s toddler son Brian, and their own kids while she’s on this mission. The crew eventually succeeds in thwarting the latest deadly machinations of Charlize Theron’s Cipher, who survives to hack another day, with help from a betrayed Jakob, whose heel-face turn to the good side is a staple of the franchise’s antagonists (see Deckard Shaw, but more on him in a bit).
With their mission complete and Roman and Tej now back from outer space (!!), the crew convenes for a family dinner at Dom’s home in L.A. There’s an empty chair with Mia telling Dom that its occupant is on their way but running late. That’s when the scene cuts to a familiar blue car, a Nissan Skyline driven by Brian in past movies, pulling into the driveway before cutting to black. While we never see the driver, the implication is clear: Brian O‘Conner is back with his family.
It’s a bittersweet moment that allows fans of the franchise to imagine seeing Brian reunite with his loved ones without using any stand-ins or digital effects to actually show Paul Walker.
Fast 9 Mid-Credits Scene: Justice for Han (Sorta)
Following the aforementioned Brian O’Conner nod, there is a mid-credits scene that delivers on the fan campaign #JusticeForHan … but maybe not to the extent that some fans would like.
Fast 9 reveals how and why Han Lue survived being “killed” by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in the mid-credits scene of Fast & Furious 6 (well, technically in Tokyo Drift but retconned to have been at the hands of Shaw). While Shaw was certainly out to kill Han, it turns out Han’s actual fiery demise was all staged using technical wizardry by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), who had recruited Han to work for his covert ops agency. Faking his death allowed Han to stay in Tokyo and protect Elle (Anna Sawai) from those who want her DNA to unlock Project Ares.
In the years since Han’s “death,” the Fast franchise redeemed Deckard Shaw, even turning him into a quippy antihero who partnered with Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs in their own 2019 spin-off movie. Needless to say, Fast & Furious not only redeeming but elevating the man who ruthlessly murdered Han, one of the series’ good guys, never quite sat right with many fans, and the “Justice for Han” social media campaign was born. Even Jason Statham said Han deserves justice.
Once it was revealed that Han would indeed return from “the dead” in Fast 9, the speculation has been not only on how the movie would explain that but also whether Han would get his revenge on Shaw. The mid-credits scene of Fast 9 teases the latter … but nothing more.
In the mid-credits scene, a hooded kickboxer is seen pummeling a punching bag. It’s Deckard Shaw, who then zips open the bag to reveal a prisoner inside. (The man is part of a criminal operation involving tech.) Shaw zips the bag back up to answer the door. And when he opens it, a very alive and well Han is standing there. The mid-credits scene ends on Shaw’s shocked face.
We don’t know whether Han and Shaw then fought each other or if Han simply explained everything to him. Presumably, the Fast crew or perhaps Mr. Nobody explained to Han how Shaw had proven himself an ally in the ensuing years so no harm, no foul. But still … Shaw left him to die in a fiery wreck! Whether fans will truly see Han bring justice to Shaw in a future film or even in a Hobbs & Shaw sequel remains to be seen.
What did you think of the nod to Brian O’Conner at the end of Fast 9 and the Han-Shaw end credits scene? Let us know in the comments.
And also be sure to read our Fast 9 review, see Ludacris rate the most ludicrous moments in the Fast & Furious franchise, and watch the cast recap the story of the Fast & Furious series so far.