“Fast and Furious 7” will go on – Universal just isn’t sure how yet.
Following the untimely death of franchise star Paul Walker – who died in a fiery car wreck on Saturday afternoon following a charity event for his non-profit organization Reach Out Worldwide – the studio is scrambling to figure out how to proceed with the forthcoming sequel, which was more than halfway finished when the accident occurred.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, studio executives and director James Wan convened via conference call on Sunday morning to decide how the production – which was set to resume filming in Atlanta today following a break for Thanksgiving – will proceed without the actor, who has portrayed protagonist Brian O’Conner in all but one of the “Fast and Furious” films. In addition to the Atlanta shoot, the production was slated to move to Abu Dhabi in January for the filming of additional scenes.
“Fast and Furious 7” was already working on a tight deadline before the crash, with the film previously slated for a July 11, 2014 release. The franchise is one of the studio’s most profitable, with the last installment bringing in nearly $800 million worldwide.
Universal earlier released a statement saying they were “heartbroken” over the tragic loss of Walker, who turned 40 back in September. Also killed in the crash was Walker’s friend and business partner Roger Rodas, who was reportedly driving the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that burst into flames after striking a light pole in Valencia, California. Officials have stated that excessive speed was a factor in the fatal crash.
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