As former-FBI agent Brian O’Conner, Paul Walker was an integral part of The Fast and the Furious family, but even though he tragically passed away midway through production on Furious 7, the franchise soldiered on. The Fate of the Furious came out in 2017, followed by the Rock and Statham-starring spinoff Hobbs and Shaw and the upcoming F9. But was there consideration given to halting the FF series after Furious 7?
In an interview with Maxim, Tyrese Gibson, who made his Fast debut with 2 Fast 2 Furious, discussed the decision to continue. “People will say Paul is not in it, so why are you guys continuing? That’s exactly why we’re continuing cause we made the shift in my mind saying we have to do this for Paul,” he said. “But the biggest decision came from us talking to Paul’s family and them giving us their blessing. The last movie that Paul did was 7, and then to see Paul’s father, mother and brothers at the premiere of Fast 8, it just sends the message that they’re fully supporting us every step of the way.”
At the Fate premiere, with Walker’s mother Cheryl and daughter Meadow in attendance, Vin Diesel spoke about his “brother Pablo,” saying that there “wasn’t a second we made this movie, not a minute, not a day that went by that we weren’t thinking about [Walker]: how to bring him into the movie, how to represent him, and how to make something that he would be proud of.” The movie also ended with a sweet tribute to the late actor.
F9 is (re-)scheduled to come out on April 2, 2021.