The producers of “Fast & Furious 7” are considering scrapping the entire film and starting over in the wake of actor Paul Walker’s death mid-production, TheWrap has learned.The nearly $200 million-budget production has been frozen in its tracks since the tragic death of Walker, one of the lead actors in the film, on Saturday. The production is more than halfway finished, but many of Walker’s key scenes remained to be shot.Universal Pictures, the producers and director James Wan have been in constant consultation this week to decide on different options, according to an individual with knowledge of the conversations.
Because the studio is insured for unexpected losses such as this one, the cost of scrapping the production is not a central factor. The studio would likely be made whole on that cost. One viable option would be to start over. One individual said they were considering making the movie without Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner. But another individual said that option was not under consideration.
What a production nightmare. There are so many factors to consider here. The studio not only has to respect the memory of the actor, but they also have address the absence of the Brian within ‘Fast & Furious 7’ in some form. People love these films. They love the characters. They love the built up continuity between films.
Without Paul Walker who has been with the franchise from the start there will be a noticeable void in ‘Fast 7’. The unfortunate about the narrative of ‘Fast 7’ is that a large portion of the film would focus on Ian Shaw (Jason Statham) systematically taking out members of the team like we saw in the end of ‘Fast 6’. Do they write Brian’s death into the film, which many had speculated would actually be a part of the narrative of ‘Fast 7’ already, or do they write the character out of the film by saying “he’s retired from heists now that he’s a family man”. Or does the studio not even acknowledge Walker’s passing, scrap everything entirely and we get a ‘Fast 7’ film without a mention of Brian.
We’ve seen with the death of Cory Monteith this year that it’s possible to write the death of an actor and character into a show and have it be respectful. It allows for the actors to grieve on screen in a cathartic manner. It respects the fallen actor and character that fans have come to enjoy.
There’s no easy way to avoid Paul Walker’s death within the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise. If they do write-off Brian and his family, they do lose the ability to use Jordan Brewster on screen too. That’s something I just cant imagine happening. Family is a central narrative theme of the current ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise. If they have to acknowledge Brian’s character I personally think they should find a tactful way kill-off Brian, and work it into the story of ‘Fast 7’ even if it means scrapping whatever the current story is. It will give closer to the role that defined Paul Walker’s career. People knew Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner. It would be a one very somber scene, but fans are going to miss him in that role. I legitimatly love the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise, and wouldn’t have a problem if this was the route the studio decided to pursue. Not acknowledging the actors passing and making the character vanish without explanation seems more disrespectful than anything else. If they really wanted to play it safe ‘Fast 6’ would be the end of the franchise, but that’s not going to happen. Studios like money, and people want more ‘Fast & Furious’ films. Actors have died while filming franchise films before, but this is the most notable in recent memory.