- More or less confirmed by Refn himself.
Julian has many visons (which is Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane due to his Ambiguous Disorder) throught the film. Chang cutting off his arms at the end is merely symbolic, him realizing what could befall him if doesn't leave his criminal lifestyle. He may live, but non unscathed. In reality, Chang allowed Julian to live because Julian saved his daughter. Julian goes back to America, but his vison is an Ignored Epiphany and goes back to crime, this time as a getaway Driver. The year is never established in O.G.F, meaning that it could take place before the events of Drive. Further more, there is numerous similarities between Julian and The Driver: Both are portrayed by Ryan Gosling, both are The Stoic, and are later shown to be Not So Stoic, both have a soft spot for children (Julian spared the father after learning that his revenge is justifed, and he saves Chang's daughter. The Driver likewise does everything in his power to save Benico.) Furthermore, going by the original book by James Sallis, The Driver also has a poor relationship with his mother, though the specfics differ from the book. They also both have similar speaking patterns. Any further differences can be chackled up to Character Development.