Universal Decides to Go Forward with 7th Fast/Furious, Despite Paul Walker’s Death

I knew it wouldn’t be long before we transitioned from mourning Paul Walker’s death to talking about what it means for the Fast/Furious franchise. It was about 40 minutes by my count. While the stars of the film continue to mourn – perhaps you saw the video of Tyrese breaking down at the crash site? – Universal has decided that the seventh Fast/Furious film, the latest installment of their most lucrative franchise, which was in the midst of shooting and still needed Walker for key scenes, will move forward. They say it will require “major rewrites.”

“Fast & Furious 7” has been given a green light to continue in the aftermath of the horrific crash that killed franchise star Paul Walker.

Universal executives and director James Wan made the decision in a conference call on Sunday morning, a day after the tragic accident that killed Walker and his friend, Roger Rodas. [NYDailyNews]

Walker, along with the rest of the cast and crew of Fast 7, had been scheduled to return to Atlanta on Sunday to resume shooting the big-budget film. [THR]

The film will be delayed, but will still be completed, seems to be the bottom line. I guess it was nice of Universal to pretend there was any other possible outcome for a day or so. Though I suppose you can’t really blame them.

As for the actual accident, the latest reports are saying “speed was a factor.” Gee, you don’t say.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says speed was a factor in the one-car crash in the community of Valencia, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Deputies found a 2005 red Porsche Carrera GT engulfed in flames when they arrived Saturday afternoon.

Walker’s publicist said Sunday that the other person in the car was Roger Rodas, a friend of Walker’s who owned a sport car dealership in Valencia.

The Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree and burst into flames. The downed light pole had a speed limit sign of 45 mph.

Walker and Rodas had attended a fundraiser benefiting victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines. The event was held by Walker’s Reach Out Worldwide, a charity he founded in 2010 to aid victims of natural disasters.

The fundraiser and toy drive took place at Rodas’ custom car shop, Always Evolving. Attendees rushed to the nearby crash to try to put out the flames with fire extinguishers [!!!].

Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter. [AP via Hitfix]

Here’s a Facebook note from Walker’s daughter, in case this wasn’t already horribly depressing enough. Meanwhile, CNN has run a story with the headline “drag racing a possible factor in Paul Walker’s death, police say.” This despite the story itself containing scant evidence of that.

Investigators got a phone call tip Sunday suggesting that another car was at the scene when the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, driven by Walker’s racing team partner, slammed into a light pole and burst into flames, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Cohen told CNN.

“Naturally, from an investigative standpoint, we need to find out if that is one of the issues,” he said.

Even if drag racing was not involved, investigators are looking at the possibility that another car veered in front of the Porsche and caused the crash, Cohen said.

Jim Torp, a car enthusiast who was at the charity event that Walker attended before the wreck, said he doubted drag racing was involved. Walker was smiling as he got into the Porsche minutes earlier.

“We all heard from our location,” Holmes told the Signal. “It’s a little difficult to know what it was. Someone called it in and said it was a vehicle fire. We all ran around and jumped in cars and grabbed fire extinguishers and immediately went to the vehicle. It was engulfed in flames. There was nothing. They were trapped. Employees, friends of the shop. We tried. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers.”

The story runs a good 2,000 words, but the phone tip paragraph is the only part that relates to the actual drag racing story. File under: the crimes we commit in the name of SEO.

Speaking of, the site GoldDerby is running a story titled “Does Paul Walker deserve an Oscar nomination for Hours?”

In “Hours,” Walker portrays a father desperate to save his infant daughter soon after his wife dies in childbirth. The girl is hooked up to a respirator, which suddenly fails when Hurricane Katrina hits, zapping electricity. The only way Walker can keep the girl alive is by operating a hand pump that must be cranked every three minutes. Time is running out and there’s no help in sight.

Walker’s performance is quite impressive here. Do you think he deserves an Oscar? Or at least a nomination?

The story ends with a reader poll. Hours doesn’t come out until December 13th, by the way. “Do you think Paul Walker deserves an Oscar nomination for a movie you haven’t seen?”

That’s just good internetting right there.

[banner image via Getty]