Last year November, we heard the sad news that Paul Walker, star of the $2.4 billion Fast & Furious franchise had tragically (and ironically) died in a car accident. Fans around the world grieved for the loss of the popular actor, but soon attention had to be turned to the macabre logistics of just how Universal Pictures and director James Wan would complete the latest installment in the franchise, Fast & Furious 7, which had only been halfway through filming at the time of Walker’s fatal crash.
The studio eventually revealed that instead of going down the fairly tasteless route of killing off Walker’s character, undercover cop turned street racing thief/hero Brian Mills, the script would be rewritten – while still using existing scenes -so that Mills is merely retired. But with Walker barely having shot half his scenes, this presented another problem in having to shoot filler scenes to make it all gel together. As production on the pic was put on hold, the studio has been pretty mum on just how they would pull this off, but according to NY Daily News‘ sources, some digital trickery will be involved
They report that Universal “have hired four actors with bodies very similar to Paul’s physique and they will be used for movement and as a base [while] Paul’s face and voice will be used on top using CGI.” The studio apparently had a number of options to go with, but they chose this as they feel “confident fans of the franchise will feel satisfied with the result”.
There had been reports earlier in the year that Walker’s younger brother Cody, who bears quite the resemblance to his older sibling and is actually a movie stunt man, may just be used as an on-screen double, and if this latest report turns out to be true then I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that Cody Walker is one of those four actors mentioned above. That would actually be a very touching send-off from his brother.
With the Fast & Furious franchise not just becoming Universal’s biggest franchise ever, but also pulling off the incredible feat of going from a small-time racing movie to a globe spanning series of blockbuster films beloved by millions of fans and (surprisingly) plenty of critics, there was never any way that the studio would have scrapped Fast & Furious 7. By going this route (and if done correctly – Beowulf anyone?), they could easily salvage all the work that’s already been done, and still turn out a movie that not only pleases fans, but honours Walker’s memory.
Universal have yet to respond with an official statement on whether or not this is actually their plan, but with production on the film set to resume shortly, we can probably expect to hear something very soon.
Last Updated: March 24, 2014