'Fast & Furious 7' May Scrap Film & Start Over After Paul Walker Death
Following the sudden, tragic death of Fast & Furious franchise star Paul Walker over the weekend, production on the sequel Fast & Furious 7 had been delayed indefinitely to allow the cast and crew to mourn, and director James Wan and the film's producers figure out how to proceed. The film is just over halfway in the can, but there are still plenty of key scenes with Walker's character left to be shot. Now The Wrap has word on a couple of possibilities, the most extreme would have production scrapping everything they've shot and starting over from scratch. But doesn't that seem expensive for a $200 million blockbuster?
Well, Universal Pictures is insured for unexpected tragedies as this, and that would allow them to start over without incurring any serious costs. But that's just one viable option. There seems to be some dissension among the sources providing this information as one says the film could be made without Walker's Brian O'Connor character, while another says that's not even in consideration. With the same amount of disagreement, one insider says a decision on what to do with the film is just days away, while another says it will likely take weeks to figure out how the film will recover.
Supposedly, the producers want to be "careful not to force the movie to conform to the original cast just for the sake of preserving Walker’s scenes." However, that would seem like the smart thing to do, if only to figure out some way to make him go out in glory. It's hard to say whether it's tasteless to kill the character off, or if that would be a fitting tribute to the adrenaline-loving actor who loved racing on and off the screen. Fans would surely like to see Walker go out while fighting for his Fast & Furious team instead of just having him disappear without explanation (or with a lame on-screen reference to his absence). But still, trying to fit that element into a story that wasn't planning on that character death would be hard.
Either way, this is a tough situation for Universal, and there's likely no perfect decision that will make everyone happy. However, there's at least some light at the end of the tunnel in the wake of Walker's death. THR reports the studio has decided to donate part of the proceeds from the Blu-Ray/DVD sales of Fast & Furious 6 (arriving on December 10th) to Walker's nonprofit charity Reach Out WorldWide. Walker founded the organization after the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, and it gathers a network of professionals with first responder skill-sets who bring their expertise to areas devastated by natural disasters. Thoughts?
UPDATE: Universal made this 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."