As thousands of fans mourn the untimely death of actor Paul Walker, who lost his life in a tragic car accident over the weekend, many now look to the blockbuster franchise that helped define his career and wonder what will happen now. The short of it is that you will definitely get to see a Fast & Furious 7 (currently scheduled to hit theaters on July 11, 2014), but right now production is being delayed according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film was on hiatus over the Thanksgiving holiday and planned to resume shooting in Atlanta this week, though plans are on hold until everyone figures out how to proceed without one of the film's stars.
This isn't the first time a production has lost its star while shooting was still taking place. Most recently, Heath Ledger passed away while filming Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, forcing the director to bring on Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to finish Ledger's scenes. That kind of move works on a Gilliam movie because the filmmaker always likes to toy with the way he delivers his stories to audiences, but you can't exactly fill in the remainder of Walker's scenes -- however many there are left, we're not sure -- by bringing on other actors. It just doesn't work for the Fast & Furious movies.
Another issue will come in giving Walker a respectful exit from the series, which will be hard considering the themes of these movies and the way he died are so tightly connected. According to THR, Universal and director James Wan have already met regarding the future of the film, and we imagine they're considering all possibilities, including rewrites, as they look to finish production.
What's interesting about Walker versus a lot of other actors who've died young, is that he went out doing what he loves to do best: going for a ride in a fast, sleek, beautiful car. It's important to be respectful when honoring Walker, but part of that comes in actually honoring the man that he was -- and he was a dude who enjoyed life in the fast lane. I mean, this is a guy who owned an airplane hangar full of cars. An airplane hangar, mind you, that also had a half-pipe in it for skateboarding. As Walker once said,
"I live by 'Go big or go home.' That's with everything. It's like either commit and go for it or don't do it at all. I apply that to everything. I apply that to relationships, I apply that to like sports, I apply that to everything. That's what I live by. That's how I like it."
As of now, Universal has not commented on the future of Fast & Furious 7, but the studio did release the following statement:
"Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the Fast and Furious films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul's family."
As everyone involved comes together and does their best to move forward without Walker, here's hoping he's given a larger-than-life sendoff since that's the way he lived every day. He was warm, kind and giving, but damn did he like to roll in the fast lane. If Fast & Furious 7 does anything, I hope it at least acknowledges that. Walker probably would've demanded as much.
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