Fast & Furious 7 and its fate hinges on the Cody Walker decision to fill in for his late brother Paul. While the film will still be made, it remains to be seen just how Universal and James Wan will deal with the death of the 40 year-old star who played Brian O’Conner in the popular film franchise.
Production on the seventh installment of the film series stopped for the Thanksgiving holiday and it was during this break that Paul Walker died when the car he was riding in crashed. Walker’s friend and business partner Roger Rodas was driving the red Porsche Carrera GT that left the road in Valencia, California hit a light pole and burst into flames. Both men died and the cause of the crash is still being investigated.
After the incident Universal Pictures released a statement about the star’s untimely death and while the star’s friends, family and fans mourned his untimely death the studio began to work on how to finish Fast & Furious 7. From the beginning, the studio and the film’s producers have said that they want the last installment of the franchise featuring Walker to be a homage to the late actor and be respectful to his memory.
While the fate of Fast & Furious 7 hinges on Cody Walker’s decision to fill in for his brother, writers are working furiously to come up with a way to either redo scenes that Paul had already filmed before his death or to rewrite the film’s plot completely. The option to use Paul’s younger “look-a-like” brother is an option that could allow Paul’s scenes to be kept in the film and Cody would “fill-in” for his late brother. Apparently CGI would be used to make the transformation of Cody to Paul complete.
Director James Wan, who is filming his first Fast & Furious installment has said that whatever direction the rewrite takes, the film will respect Paul and his death. Another option that has been discussed is that Walker’s real life death will be worked into the film’s plot which could then allow for someone other than Cody to fill in. It has been rumored that Brian O’Conner will be “killed off” in the film franchise regardless of how the rewrites work out.
Earlier in the month, fans were outraged by the false rumor that Canadian pop star Justin Bieber had been named as a “replacement” for Walker. The story came about after a fan trailer starring Bieber was uploaded on the internet. This trailer, along with the news that Fast & Furious co-star Ludacris had offered his pal Justin a part in the film, helped the rumor get started.
It does appear that Universal favors the Cody Walker solution to their Fast & Furious 7 problem. Fans have said that they would like anything that allowed Paul’s last scenes in the film to be used. Paul Walker was an integral part of the franchise appearing in more of the sequels than Vin Diesel. The combination of the films and Walker’s acting helped make the late actor a star.
Cody Walker’s involvement with Fast & Furious 7 is still up in the air. It has been reported that Paul’s younger brother will probably agree to Universal’s proposal in order to honor his late brother. Universal also like the idea that they can use the 25 year-old former stuntman as it will show their unwavering support of Paul’s family.
Fast & Furious 7 and its fate may hinge on Cody Walker’s decision to fill-in for his late brother, but, whether he decides to work on the film or not the movie will still be finished. Universal are currently forecasting that the latest in the franchise will still premiere in July 2014. Until then the studio is waiting for Cody Walker to say yes or no.
By Michael Smith