As the tragic reality of Paul Walker's untimely passing last night sets in, a question that's been lingering since the news broke is: where does the Fast & Furious franchise go from here? After this year's immensely successful Fast 6, Universal fast-tracked a seventh with the full cast returning plus Jason Statham and new director James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) with a premiere date set for next July. Now it's been disclosed that at the time of Walker's death, filming for the movie had not been completed.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that the cast and crew, currently shooting in Atlanta, were on break for Thanksgiving. Production was scheduled to resume tonight, and there were additional scenes set to be filmed in Abu Dhabi in January. Walker, of course, has been the co-lead of the franchise since its inception, appearing as cop-turned-fugitive, and always hero, Brian O'Connor in every film except Tokyo Drift. While apparently the greater portion of the film is in the can, it stands to reason that Walker was intended to feature prominently in whatever was left to be shot.
With all those involved in the film devastated over the loss, Universal has pushed the Atlanta schedule back to Tuesday, at the earliest. A conference call between Wan and the studio was held this morning to decide how to proceed with the film from here, and if rewrites would be necessary. Also as THR notes, marketing will be tricky as well given the nature of Walker's death.
Universal released this statement last night: "All of us at Universal are heartbroken. Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the Fast and Furious films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul's family."
Read THR's full report here.