Production Update

Universal Shuts Down Production on 'Fast & Furious 7'

Studio contemplating scrapping everything that's already been shot

fast-furious-7-production-stoppedIt's slightly vulgar to consider the fate of the Fast & Furious franchise and the upcoming Fast & Furious 7 in the midst of the tragic death of one of the film's stars, Paul Walker. Life, however, does go on, but Universal is appropriately taking time to reflect on what will become of the seventh film, deciding to officially halt production, which was supposed to begin this past Monday in Atlanta.

Here's the studio's official statement:

Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul's immediate family and our extended Fast & Furious family of cast, crew and filmmakers. At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on Fast & Furious 7 for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise. We are committed to keeping Fast & Furious fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker.

From what I understand, about half of the film was finished with production scheduled to head to Atlanta this week and then to Abu Dhabi in January, but according to The Wrap one option is to scrap everything that has been done so far and start over altogether. The question then, of course, still remains... What do you do with Paul Walker's character?

I discussed this recently with a friend and we both agreed it would be in very poor taste to kill his character off and the idea of replacing Walker with a different actor playing Brian O'Conner seems equally distasteful.

The best case scenario is to find some way to have Brian forgo involvement in whatever is set to take place in the next film, ride off in the sunset with Mia (Jordana Brewster) and their child and let that be the last of it. Vin Diesel can even have a line in the film, "Even I don't know where they are. This is Brian's choice and I respect it."

Every audience member at this point obviously understands the delicacy surrounding the issue and that a person's life is worth respecting over a little plot deception in a movie franchise designed around ridiculous stunts and fast cars. The franchise will never be the same, that's just something everyone from the execs to the fans will have to understand.

I expect we'll hear something more in the coming weeks, or perhaps not even until the beginning of the year, and I suspect that July 11, 2014 release date will be pushed.

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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

    I read Vin Diesel's fake line in Vin Diesel's voice. .

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    Either way, Universal will end up shooting itself in the foot. Frankly, it would be a little standard-order to kill off his character. I like Brad's idea. It's original, respectful, and goes against action-movie tropes.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

    Great idea Brad, I came up with another idea, I guess it wouldn't be respectful but it would fit the storyline. I think they should give Brian O'Connor an off screen death kind of like in Se7en, then have Vin Diesel and the guy from Tokyo Drift (Lucas Black) have their revenge on Jason Statham's character for having killed their best friends, Brian and Han.

    I guess it would be considered in poor taste if you think about Paul Walker, but it's just a movie and I think it would be even more disrespectful to leave his last work out of the movie. It would fit the movie because one important character dies in every single Fast & Furious film.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AlanSmithee/ Alan Smithee

    Just treat it like how they treated Julia Roberts & Catherine Zeta-Jones' absence in "Ocean's Thirteen", one throw off line and move on; after all, it's not like the people who go to see "Fast and Furious" movies are really all that concerned with plot to begin with...

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    I don't think it would be distasteful to replace him with another actor. This has happened in the past before and done well (e.g. Dumbledore).

  • Dtello

    I don't think Paul Walker should be left out of a re-worked film. I'm reminded of what a great job the producers of The Crow did after Brandon Lee's death. They somehow made it all the more moving. Hope they come up with a classy ending for Walker's character.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hudsucker/ Hudsucker

      The problem is they were almost finished with production when Brandon was killed. They just started and Paul died, so it'd be very difficult to do it.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

    This was the last work Walker has ever filmed. Why scrap it?? Follow it up. There HAS to be a way to manipulate whatever dialogue Walker has shot into a proper exit. HAS to be.

    If not, they can take older dialogue and edit it together to make it. Find the best editors in the world, they can do it. I've seen people edit words out of sequence and making it sound like completely new genuine dialogue.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I just saw a TV spot for FAST 6 DVDs which discussed Walker's work for various charitable organizations. He's been dead for less than a week now, and Universal is already trying to capitalize on it.

  • B.K. LeSueur

    Thats a way better idea. I thought killing him off camera (thus not showing how he died in any way) and have Vin say something about it happening would work, but man......if the footage was there and possible, just using the scenes you have him in and work it where he is just there at certain times because of what you filmed, and then have him ride off in the end of the movie and that's how he is written off would be AWESOME.

  • Paul Hennen

    They were fully willing to ignore Paul Walker's character in Tokyo Drift, and considering this movie , FF7, is supposed to take place after it in the timeline, I don't see why they can't just do that. Just make Vin and Lucas Black frontrunners. Whatever is going on is personal to Vin and him, since SPOILER! Post credits Jason Statham threatens Vin right after Han was killed. I don't think Walker even talked to Han in Fast Five, maybe he did in 6....