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Paul Walker's 'Furious 7' Role Completed with Old Franchise Footage

by
March 25, 2015

Paul Walker

It's been a long road for Furious 7 to make it to theaters next week. While the film was meant to be fasttracked for a release last year to follow closely behind Fast & Furious 6, the film was struck with the tragic death of leading man Paul Walker, one of the stars of the original film that kicked off this ongoing action franchise. Production was halted, and a new approach needed to be hatched in order to finish the film while also giving Walker a proper send-off with what was already shot. We've heard reports of CGI and body doubles being used to help complete Walker's work on the film, and also his two brothers, but there's more.

First, here's Neal Moritz talking about finishing the film without Walker:

"Then it came to how could we actually finish 'Furious 7.' We had shot most of the movie with Paul, but we wondered how we were actually going to make this work. I have to say, he was looking down on us. Because of unused footage that we had from previous movies and the use of new technology, we were able to complete the film inspired by Paul’s spirit and give him and his best-known character a perfect cinematic send-off. This movie is a testament to his legacy."

SlashFilm actually asked James Wan specifically about how this was done, and he said:

"I’m not gonna say specifically what was what, because I think it’s very important that people go into this movie not fixated on trying to work out which is Paul, which isn’t Paul. I want them to just watch the movie and enjoy the film and be caught up in the emotion of it all. We worked so hard so that they don’t have to do that.

And so I think that’s very important and I don’t wanna kind of fuel that fire so to speak. Maybe years from now, I’ll talk about it or maybe at a later day on the track. But needless to say, yes, I wanted to use as much of real Paul as I could.

And if that meant stealing a look from the previous movies or whatever, that was the way to do it. I think it’s just from a sentimental point of view, I think it wanted to be that."

And clarifying a bit what Wan is talking about, an article from THR reveals that Peter Jackson's amazing special effects company Weta Digital was commissioned to take unused footage from the previous Fast & Furious movies and complete footage that they couldn't without Walker present. Apparently it's a trick that's been used before, but SlashFilm seems to think that there's one specific, memorable shot, possibly in whatever Walker's send-off in the film may be, that was completed this way. However, it sounds like it's not an obvious digital replacement. Fans will have to see for themselves next week.

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  • Oblique
    Nice thanks for the spoiler!
    • VAharleywitch
      What was spoiled?
  • DAVIDPD
    Ah man they worked with WETA? Nice. Should look pretty amazing.
    • VAharleywitch
      Hearing that ILM or Weta are involved w/ SFX on a film = auto win in the visual department, IMO.
  • Matthew
    Honestly, the technology in play is so insane I can't believe we've achieved something like this.
  • Duane
    I saw an advanced screening last week. I have to say the ending was just phenomenal. I think fans and non franchise fans will be pleased. I have to admit I choked up a bit. Whatever the technology... it was perfectly done. #RIPPaul
  • Chris Groves
    It sounds like they used every possible resource available to complete the performance in as authentic of a way as possible. Hats off to them.
  • TheOct8pus
    Needless to ask, but I assume Paul's character dies in the film as well?
    • Dan Ballard
      not to give a spoiler, but the filmakers have already said they weren't going to kill him of. the end of the film is truly a heartbreaking thing of beauty! i litterally had tears in my eyes. i had to wait till the end of the credits to get up out of the theater, as did most of the audience!
  • Bo
    Well, it's all smoke and mirrors anyway, right? It's all fake and pretense and requires a large amount of suspension of disbelief just in order to sit there and enjoy it. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. When you can't it usually means you didn't like the film because the filmmakers were not successful in getting you to suspend your disbelief. Pretty simple, actually. Most of these kinds of movies it's impossible for me to overcome my disbelief as I find them so ridiculous and beyond any kind of belief. I actually like these Furious movies, believe it or not. I find them amusing; funny. Plus, I like Paul Walker. He seemed liked a good guy and came across that way in his work. Hard to grasp the irony of his death in a car wreck what with his work in these movies. Life is weird. I look forward to this latest installment when it comes around on cable.
  • Dan Reese
    I don't think Walkers character will die , Im sure since Mia and His baby are retired into a nice third world country . though the film is already out , people already knpw what happens
  • Dan Ballard
    i must say, that Paul Walker is an amazingly kind and generous person! i had the privellage of working with him for just a day on 'in to the blue'( i played 'scuba bob'). i was onset frequently during the rest of the shoot, i can can honestly say he was always gratious and kind with everyone. not to mention all the work he did to help haiti after it's huge disaster (and never anouncing on mainstream media what great things he was doing for relief efforts). i was never a huge fan of the FAST series, but i needed to see this on. James Wan and the rest of the production team did a wonderfull job of sending off Paul in this instalment. it left me in tears how perfect it was.....rest in peace Paul, you will be missed!
  • Dev D
    To the franchise of fast and furious: Please keep Paul alive though CGI techniques or any other better technology in all your upcoming instalments.....I don't think it will be impossible....please do it if you can as F&F series are incomplete without Paul.

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