Justin Bieber will not be starring as Brian O’Conner in the upcoming Fast & Furious 7 premier, still scheduled for July 11, 2014.
Universal Studios announced they were postponing production on the seventh Fast & Furious movie just one day after the death of lead actor Paul Walker. Walker has played Brian O’Conner in the last six installments in the $2.4 billion dollar film franchise and had already begun filming his part in this latest installment. The announcement of Walker’s passing as well as the studio’s decision to indefinitely postpone production has led to much speculation about the fate of the highly anticipated movie’s release, to include the possibility that Justin Bieber would step into the lead role. Fans of the action packed series were also concerned that the movie, out of respect for Walker, might be permanently shelved.
As of today it is being reported that Universal Studios does intend to complete production of the movie in anticipation of its original July 11th release date. Here is a short chronology of what we know:
November 30, 2013
Paul Walker’s tragic automobile accident. Filming had already begun and Walker had finished a significant number of his scenes.
December 1, 2013
IMDb updates the production notes from IMDb Pro. The following changes are made to the movie’s release:
Comments: “The studio has indefinitely postponed production following the death of Paul Walker.”
Despite the apparent delay of production, the premier date is still listed as July 11, 2014.
December 4, 2013
Dominic Patten of Deadline Hollywood reports that sources close to the production team of Fast & Furious 7 stated that there were no plans to permanently halt production of the film. The unnamed sources confirmed with deadline.com that Universal intended to continue with the finalization of the movie.
December 7, 2013
In an interview with TMZ, director James Wan says that there are no plans to stop production of Fast & Furious. Universal has no plans to abandon the movie and the studio was still committed to the July 11, 2014 release date.
December 10, 2013
Deadline Hollywood confirms Universal’s commitment to their previously reported release date stating that Universal is “holding stake.” Listed on a slate of releases for July 11, F&F is listed alongside Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
December 11, 2013
A viral rumor circulates suggesting that pop super-star Justin Bieber would step in to replace Walker as the movie’s lead, either as a younger iteration of Brian O’Conner or as a junior family member. The news is received with mixed emotions. Bieber fans are elated and believe that the young singer-sometimes-actor would do justice to the part and honor Paul Walker’s memory. More ardent fans of the Fast & Furious franchise are not as supportive of Justin in the role.
The rumor seems to have begun with comments from Fast & Furious co-star Ludacris stating that he would like to see his friend Bieber play a part in the movie. A spoof trailer for the movie was produced and released by Hollywood Life and showed Bieber alongside Vin Diesel dancing, driving, and taking gunfire. Confirmed as a hoax, it became clear that Bieber would not likely appear in the Fast & Furious 7 premier scheduled for July 11, 2014.
December 14, 2013
Paul Walkers younger brother Cody isreported to be in consideration of the O’Connor part. Reported to be a stuntman and no stranger to movie production, articles circulated that he was seriously thinking about filling in for his older sibling. His strong physical resemblance, despite the fact that he is 15 years junior to Paul, istouted as enough reason to take the rumor seriously.
The rumors included reports that the studio was seriously considering scripting Cody as a body double, even stating that CGI would be used to fine tune his appearance in the final scenes of the movie. Other speculations stated that Universal was going to re-write Brian O’Conner out of the movie with his death and bring Cody in as a family member to finish the story line.
December 19, 2013
Michael Smith of the Liberty Voice reports that the script for Fast & Furious 7 was being re-written and confirmed that talk of using Cody Walker in the film was still under consideration while also confirming that any talk of using Justin Bieber as Walker’s replacement was a hoax. The studio and director James Wan have remained silent.
As of this writing this much is certain. Universal Studios is on record on at least two occasions stating that Fast & Furious 7 is a go. Both the company and the film’s director have stated unequivocally that the show will go on. How that is going to be accomplished is yet to be seen.
Social media is abuzz about the next installment in the franchise and it has been said that the July, 2014 release is the most talked about premier of the upcoming movie season. The speculation about who will step into the role, how Brian O’Connor should be cast—or if he should be casted at all—will all but guarantee that, until the details are released, Fast & Furious 7 will continue to be the most anticipated installment of an already highly successful franchise.
By Matt Darjany