‘Fast & Furious 7' Producers Considering Scrapping Production, Starting Over in Wake of Paul Walker's Death (Exclusive)

'Fast & Furious 7' Producers Considering Scrapping Production, Starting Over in Wake of Paul Walker's Death (Exclusive)

Because the studio is insured, the cost of scrapping the production is not a central factor, an insider tells TheWrap

The producers of “Fast & Furious 7” are considering scrapping the entire film and starting over in the wake of actor Paul Walker’s death mid-production, TheWrap has learned.

The nearly $200 million-budget production has been frozen in its tracks since the tragic death of Walker, one of the lead actors in the film, on Saturday. The production is more than halfway finished, but many of Walker’s key scenes remained to be shot.

Universal Pictures, the producers and director James Wan have been in constant consultation this week to decide on different options, according to an individual with knowledge of the conversations.

Also read: Why Paul Walker's Death Is ‘Uncharted Territory’ for Hollywood Studios

Because the studio is insured for unexpected losses such as this one, the cost of scrapping the production is not a central factor. The studio would likely be made whole on that cost.

One viable option would be to start over. One individual said they were considering making the movie without Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner. But another individual said that option was not under consideration.

The franchise revolves around a group of adrenaline-loving criminals, and new characters have been introduced in successive films, including Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.

The studio and producers have not yet made the decision to start over, and a final verdict on the direction of the project is still days away, according to the insider. Another insider said that a decision is more likely to take weeks. Both stressed that the studio, producers and directors wanted to get the movie right and not rush a decision.

A studio spokeswoman would not comment for this story.

Also read: Universal to Donate Percentage of ‘Fast & Furious 6' Home Entertainment Revenue to Paul Walker Charity

The main concern, the second insider said, is to preserve the integrity of the franchise, which drives hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the studio. Producers want to be careful not to force the movie to conform to the original cast just for the sake of preserving Walker's scenes. Another insider said it would be hard to envision the film not including a storyline around Walker's character, O'Conner.

Right now the conversation has veered away from the notion of using special effects to put Paul Walker’s  face on someone else’s body, which is certainly possible. Part of the difficulty coming to a resolution on the project's direction is that many people are involved in the decision, including Universal entertainment chief Jeff Shell, studio chairman Donna Langley, producers Neal Moritz and Vin Diesel, the director and others.

“Fast & Furious 6,” released this past spring, took in $800 million around the world.

See Photos: 25 of Paul Walker’s Most Memorable Movie Roles

Universal is concerned about the sensitivity of losing an actor to a high-performance car crash in a movie that centers around street racing, and the notion of cobbling together a new storyline using the already-filmed elements may be more difficult than just starting over.

But in that case, the studio would certainly miss its release date of July 11, 2014.

And the studio is not yet willing to give that up.

  • Brian

    Don't start over we just wanna see Paul Walker In the Last Fast in the Furious movie I think just keep going with half the movie how they were going before

  • Raymond

    Don't make the movie without Paul Walker I want to see him one last time I always been a big fan of fast and the furious they shouldn't start all over R.I.P. Paul Walker :'(

    • Gerard Kennelly

      the imaginarium of dr parnassis was finished wasn't it without heath

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Prymula/100002817349876 Michael Prymula

        That was a fantasy movie though so it could get away with it, can't really do that with this film.

  • diamond

    You really think the cast is going to be OK with Walker being removed from the film entirely and having to start all over?

    You can bet your ass they WILL revolt HARD over something like that and will undoubtedly refuse to do any filming at all.

    Not to mention fans will boycott the movie in droves and pirate it rather then paying for what they will most likely see as the ultimate insult to Paul and the rest of the cast.

    Use all the footage of Walker you have, I don't care if you have to use CGI body-doubles whatever, anything is better then removing him entirely, to do so would be akin to desecrating his remains.

  • Sesa

    Please Don't take Paul Walker out of Fast and Furious 7!!! I Personally would really Love to see his last work that he did! He deserves to be seen one Last Time!!! Not only out of Respect for Paul Walker and his work, but im Sure Thousands of people will agree and want to see his Last movie That He played in!!! I Love All The Fast and Furious Movies and it won't be The same Without Paul Walker!
    R.I.P “PAUL WALKER”

    • Jim

      You guys all understand there is a story and script. If they start over it would be to put a story around his death. If most of the movie revolved around HIM and the scenes weren't shot yet. They only have a crappy story shot so far. No studio (or cast members) would want that put out. Thankfully They are all smart people who can figure this out without the media jumping in every 2 seconds.

  • AJ

    Whatever happens, make sure to give his character a hero's death. As a fan of Walker and the franchise, I'll support whatever decision Universal makes of this impossible situation.

    As for Universal, this franchise revolved around racing cars and stunt driving. Nobody in the real world is naive enough to think either of those are without their risks. Those who do it, do it because they love it. For fans, the fact that Walker and Rodas died in a high performance car that was going fast won't deter them from racing and stunt driving… they knew the risks, we know the risks. Better to die doing what you love in an instant than die on the inside every day doing something that you hate. There is honor in a life lived, however long it may be.

    RIP Paul. You will be missed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Prymula/100002817349876 Michael Prymula

      I don't think killing his character off is going to work, it'll be too painful for the cast to act out such a scene and be too uncomfortable for audiences to watch, I say just have his character retire with his family and be done with it.

  • Glennc

    I can see that a lot here want to see him in number 7. That's cool. But to have the second half of the film still not shot yet plus most of Walkers scenes are still not shot yet is a huge problem. Even though the fan base out there wants to see him. It's logistics along with manipulation. This is why of course Universal is really stuck on this one. “You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Prymula/100002817349876 Michael Prymula

      Actually most of the film and Walker's scenes have been shot, so there's more then enough footage to work with here, the main bits that were yet to be shot were some scenes with Jordana Brewster and a few racing and exterior shots in Abu Dhabi.

  • Ted Faraone

    This reminds me of the plot of “Day for Night.”

  • Jim

    HIRE CHRIS PINE!!!! HE LOOKS LIKE WALKER!!!!

  • demoncat_4

    one idea. they have Brian either get killed off screen . or they have vanish his final fate never known by the bad guys. but odds are given the deadline they have and money Universal does a quick start over

  • Jim

    Hire Logan Marshall-Green. He looks like Walker.

  • El Suscrito

    so two guys that enjoy driving in the triple digit speed zone missed a turn and found an unmovable object in their path…hmmm well anybody that likes to speed at 185mph on the highway will find some misfortune in their path. John Jr. liked to fly his airplane in conditions he was not skilled in and met his maker doing what he loved best. Paul went the same way…fast and….reckless seen pics of that car…that puppy was not going the 35mph speed limit.

    Sorry to read about his demise. But world moves on and he'll be just one more actor that found his maker sooner rather than later for his recklessness …like james dean

    • BC

      Paul Walker wasn't even the driver of the vehicle and there are NO confirmed reports of their speed yet.

      • El Suscrito

        never wrote he was driving but he was a willing passenger in an xtremely dangerous car…u win r lose by the way u chose

  • greatouse

    I doubt that they will use CGI to keep Brian in the film. The most probable solutions are: killing Brian off screan and making his death part of the plot or casting a different actor (maybe Josh Duhamel ?). Starting over is also unlikely, Fast and Furious is a summer time movie and to make the most of their audience they need the movie to premiere during the Summer 2014 (June or July).

  • Danny

    Why not let him die in the movie and then have his father come in to drive his car……someone like Bruce Willis…or an unknown like me…..that looks like him!!!!

  • Danny

    producers can reach me at dlcoceanway@juno.com…lol

  • Mark Landrum

    Well You Can Make The Ending Scene That He Dies

  • boo boo 29

    its really sad that paul walker died an the movies wont be the same without him… but I have a suggestion about fast 7 umm…. maybe when they remake it … then make it soo they some how kill off paul walker… not how he died in real life but just to keep kinda going on with the movie… I hate that he died.. an its very sad.. he was one of my fave characters… but that was my suggestion

  • boo boo 29

    don't do over fast 7! let paul walker live 1 last time! just some how make his character rtire with his family

  • ValmerPower

    Make him cgi for the rest shot, make it to be his ending, as a final tribute from all of us.

    Please..

    As a guy who built the franchise,
    You owe him that much

  • oscar

    From his famous words, “If one day speed kills me, don't cry, because i was smiling” – Words of Paul Walker. He would not want everyone to change what they have done It would be better to keep going with him in the beginning but have him to be taken out some way in the middle of a race scene. I really think that is what he would have wanted. I know that is how i would have it.

  • Jon

    If you the director is smart, he would just use Paul's death as an advantage and use it in the movie like as he dies. Use it as an advantage and make the movie better. Duh. Not hard to recognize that. Use the funeral in the movie and go from there. Have everyone be there in the cars and everyone leave except Dom(Vin Diesel) and have flashbacks of their great relationship. Or use that idea and put a killer in the movie saying that someone flipped his car so he died and then have Dom go find the killer or whatever like they did in fast and furious. Not hard. I mean to me that sounds like that would make the movie 10 times better.

  • Marisol

    Don't start from fresh leave this movie alone Fast and the Furious is one of the best with its ACTORS & ACTRESSES. We around the world pay tribute to Paul Walker. He left us and his loved ones upon the world. Let his part be played and let him leave on stage, one more time. For all who loves Paul Walker and the the rest of the cast you are all loved. When one is gone, they are never forgotten. Paul Walker we love you.

  • Shelby Andolino

    A must read it a great idea and a wonderful tribute that one of the fans came up with and its been shared around facebook and has over 3000 likes

    • AJ

      Ugh. No thanks… If I were Statham, and that was what they wanted to do with the story, I'd leave the project. All of that emotion put on him as the bad guy? That's not fair to him as an actor. In fact, if I were Statham and they kill O'Conner off in this project, I'd be concerned. His like-ability as an action star could take major hits because fandom will have a tough time divorcing themselves from the fictional world and real world emotions. It's a no-win situation for Statham.

      I'll support the franchise either way, but the whole series has been about family above all… it could make sense that Brian takes Mia and their kid into hiding because Statham's character blames him exclusively for Owen's death… then Dom and the team has to deal with the threat. Tie in high-level government stuff and Brian, Mia and baby can end up in witness protection somewhere off the grid. I'd prefer that type of ending to be honest… if you must, you could still have the funeral scene – since people in witness protection can be ‘killed off’ before assuming their new identities, but it allows the O'Conner character to live on (at least for this film). He can be hunted and killed between this and the next film, then the next one brings Mia and the baby back as the team goes on a revenge mission on O'Conner's behalf.

      • Mike D

        AJ, killing off Mia and her baby isn't the answer. Dom will always be watching.

    • Mike D

      Nice idea; but remember his family. They would be in constant torment; A car accident in a police chase ending his character, ending in a brief funeral; a touching moment before snapping back to reality.

  • Becca

    PLEASE DON'T REMOVE Paul from Fast n Furious 7. Would be awesome to see him one last time in what he loved to do.

  • michoulj12

    I believe they should use the footage. Here's how. Leading up to the point where there,is no more of Paul Walker footage. Find a scene up close scene of Brian O'Connors face in the midst of some shoot out or high speed chase have a flash back of fast five when Brian is asking Dom about his Dad and explains that he never knew his dad and where Dom tells Brian your not going to be a father like that flash forward to Fast 7 with a rewrite script of Dom looking at a picture of Dom, Mia and their Dad and another Pic of Brian, Mia and young Jack and the letter explaining to Dom that this life is to Fast and way to Furious to raise a child and he tells Dom your right i am not going to be that Father I'm done. Explains to him his love for his brothers and sister ( the crew) but his sister and nephew (Mia and Jack) are far more important leaving Dom to tell the crew keep Brian alive and Paul Walkers memory killing him off hits way to close to home for everybody. I am sure nobody wants to see him die on film as they had to live with it in real life.
     

    • Mike D

      Ending Walkers character in a police chase would work; “in memory of reality”; then the series could continue with fresh faces from the existing tree.

  • fastfan

    I would pay to see the movie as is with Paul in it.

  • Pookiefreak

    The reality is how much material with Walker has been shot, and most importantly how clear the raw production sound is on dialogue sequences. With Walker's passing, he will not be available for ADR work. In the past, productions in this situation (‘The Crow,’ ‘Gladiator,’ ‘The Dark Knight') have either not had to use substitute actors, or they have chosen to not go with substitute actors to ‘imitate’ a deceased actor's voice. The decision is taking time because all production elements are being examined from the POV of, ‘Can this be mixed for release quality?’ Its then a matter of looking at what elements they have from a story standpoint, and can a rewrite incorporate Walker's scenes into a new story. These films are about family. The death of Paul Walker's character in the new, forthcoming film may be a must for fans of the series and a way to honor Paul Walker for the FAST & FURIOUS crew in general. It becomes a film of characters working through the grief of losing the character walker played. We will all know the sad reality that they completed the series working through the grief of losing their friend.

    • Mike D

      Valid point, (the crow) one was great with Brandon Lee, the second one wasn't that great! This decision is like planning a trial; the wrong approach may produce negative results; thus losing money. I believe your opinion is right, save walkers character, drawing to closure leading to new beginnings'.

  • CTSadler

    I sincerely doubt this article's validity.

  • Lucky

    Why the hell are they thinking of putting justin bieber in the movie.
    That's just gona mess up the whole movie. Nobody wants him in a movie with real actors justin ain't shit. The producer needs to put someone other than justin. I'm a big fan of all the fast and furious. If justin bieber comes in it I'm not gona even watch it cuz then it'll just be a waist of time.

    • Mike D

      Justin Bieber is a bad choice; he's not even in the running.

  • Josh

    I've heard them talk about putting Justin bieber in place of Paul walker. If this is so then the producers of fast an furious are going to to lose mor money than expected and they will lost the viewers tht like the movie

    • Mike D

      Hi Josh, the story is alive; there's enough characters involved to keep it alive; producing, but it needs a fresh character of the same caliber, maybe a close friend, brother, cousin, classmate, or FBI agent, equal too, or more enthusiastic than walker was; hopefully with the same down to earth personality!

  • Chris

    I like that special effects idea using Paul Walker's face on someone else's body to finish up his last scenes that weren't shot already. Please don't start over! * Hey what about this idea… What do you guys think of Will Smith possibly taking over Walker's role, but under a different name obviously? Maybe he's Toretto's cousin or something? Vin Diesel is half black, so that could work. I bet Will Smith would do a great job if he were chosen for the 8th movie. Just my opinion. What do you guys think?

    • Chris

      Anybody but Justin Bieber!!!!! I really hope that is a joke. I wouldn't even go see the movie in theaters and I wouldn't even see it when it came out on demand either if that moronic, talentless singer was in the movie.

    • Mike D

      Will Smith couldn't equal walker performance; bad choice.

  • Funk Obumer

    he was killed by a drone because he was going to whistle blow

  • Mike D

    All the actors made this franchise enjoyable; the story originated around diesel and walker fighting the system. It would be a shame to eliminate walker from series 7.
    A tribute should be projected to the last days of his life! Honor him, instead of eliminating him. Ending his character in a tragedy would be befitting the series changes. I know this, the movie isn't the same without him.
    If its not presented right, America may not continue reviewing future movies. Consider this fact; “How many series are successful because the same actors are involved”. When actors are changes, the story dies!
    Either way, its a tough choice. Consider his family and the global affects!

  • Mike D

    We all feel the loss; none greater than the costars, directors and producers; however, the show goes on. The proper presentation would be the closure to an icon; to keep the series alive. We all share various opinions of ending the character; however, we all agree that a tribute to walker is necessary, especially for his families sake!