While the Fast & Furious franchise has remained one of the more popular film franchises of the day, the latter third of the soon to be nine movie series has caused a significant divide among fans that can be summed up in three words "justice for Han." A lot of fans have had a serious problem with the way the series mistreated the fan favorite character in that it transformed his killer, Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw, from villain to hero, without so much as an apology for killing off the character. It appears that one of those who didn't like the direction the franchise was going, was F9 director Justin Lin.
Justin Lin has directed most of the films in the Fast & Furious franchise. He introduced the character of Han in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and he introduced Deckard Shaw in the mid-credits sequence of Fast & Furious 6. However, Lin stepped away for Furious 7 and its followup, The Fate of the Furious, so he wasn't part of the former film's battle with Deckard Shaw, or the latter film's addition of him as a, however unwilling, member of the team. Justin Lin recently told Total Film (via GamesRadar) that part of the reason he came back was to address this oversight. According to Lin...
Somebody asked me about Han and [Deckard] Shaw. I was like: 'Wait, what? Shaw is at the barbecue in 8?' [laughs] Really, I was so confused. One of the big reasons to come back was I felt like we needed to correct something.
It's true that, while there's a perpetual feeling from Deckard Shaw throughout The Fate of the Furious, that he doesn't want to be there, in the end, it's the Shaw brothers that keep Dom's son safe, and as the movie ends, everybody is celebrating at a barbecue, and Shaw seems to be on good terms with the "family.".
The problem that so many fans have is that Han's fate is never so much as hinted at. Seeing a villain get redeemed and become one of the good guts is far from an unusual thing in movies, but there's a feeling that Fast & Furious just sort of skipped the redeeming bit. Shaw never has to address what he did, and nobody else seems to have a problem with the fact that he killed their friend.
Of course, we know now from the F9 trailer that, somehow, Han is actually still alive. This will address the "justice" issue in one way, but one certainly wonders how F9 might address the larger Deckard Shaw question.
Shaw as a character has apparently moved out of the main franchise with Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs, who were in last year's spinoff movie, while neither will appear in this one. The question we all have now is, with Shaw no longer part of the main franchise, will he be treated as a villain once again, or will the truth of Han being alive be explained as part of a plot point that will give Shaw the real redemption he never actually got?