Earlier this month it was reported that Universal Studios was planning to “retire” Paul Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, from Fast & Furious 7. Ultimately, these rumors alluded to the notion that O’Conner would make a departure from the franchise, unscathed, as opposed to dying as a part of the film’s plotline.
The news was first reported by the illustrious entertainment news source The Hollywood Reporter (THR). Posting an online article on Jan. 3, 2014, entitled Universal to ‘Retire’ Paul Walker’s ‘Fast & Furious’ Character, the outlet claimed that “sources” had informed them of the studio’s intention to retire Walker’s onscreen character.
The Hollywood Reporter then went on to explain, in accordance with their source, that director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan and Universal Studios’ lead executive on the Fast & Furious films, Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, had convened in the aftermath of Walker’s tragic demise. The outlet reported that the trio had “… devised a plan to tweak the existing script so that Walker would remain a part of the story but could be written out, allowing the franchise to continue without him.”
In order to achieve this feat, THR‘s source, allegedly, claimed that additional scenes would need to be written and shot.
However, IGN recently had the opportunity to talk to the Fast and Furious 7 writer, Chris Morgan, who appears to refute the authenticity of the retirement rumors, leaked by THR‘s sources.
Morgan claims that “… no definitive decisions have yet to be made.” The writer goes on to point out that all the cast and crew had previously taken a break from production to grieve, following Walker’s death on Nov. 30, 2013. According to Morgan, the team is now united in trying to figure out the best way forward on the blockbuster project.
Making specific reference to the rumors that have been recently circulating, surrounding the studio’s plans to retire Brian O’Conner, Morgan seemed to intimate that they were a fabrication:
“I saw that and I wasn’t quite sure where that was coming from… There’s nothing set in stone at all. Those are the conversations we’re just now having. Nothing’s decided. Everything is still open and on the table.”
The writer then went on to describe Walker’s generous outlook and good nature, describing the accident as unexpected and “horrifying.” He spoke of Walker as an individual who had a great deal of time to devote to his fans and would “… engage in thirty minute conversation with them.”
Walker was killed in a car collision in Santa Clarita, California, along with his business partner and friend, Roger Rodas. Walker was taking a break from filming Fast & Furious 7, during the Thanksgiving holidays, and was attending a charitable event for his non-profit organization, Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW), prior to his death.
Fast & Furious 7 was originally slated for release in the summer of 2014. In the wake of Walker’s death, however, the release date was pushed back to April 10, 2015. The news was originally confirmed by Walker’s costar and friend, Vin Diesel, who announced the details on Facebook, alongside a photo of the last scene the pair had shot together.
With the “retirement” rumors, seemingly, lacking substance – as per the Fast & Furious 7 writer’s appraisal – we await news on the direction of the movie and the future of the action-packed franchise.
By James Fenner