The film community was devastated after learning about the death of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker, who was killed in an automobile accident last year. The seventh installment in the action franchise, directed by James Wan, was in the middle of shooting at the time of Walker’s passing. The studio decided to move forward with the production after consulting with Walker’s family, opting to rewrite his character’s final appearance (Brian O'Conner will “retire”). Walker’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, will appear in the film as stand-ins for his character. CGI will also play a role, as Walker’s voice and face will be transposed onto stunt-double bodies for certain scenes.
The film is expected to hit theaters on April 3. In the meantime, the Fast & Furious cast and crew issued this letter to fans thanking them for their support through this difficult time and expressing love for Walker. It’s unclear as to whether or not this will be the final film in the long-running franchise, but if it is, the Fast & Furious crew is doing it right.
Here's the letter:
There was a time when we didn’t know how we could go on, or even if we should. But we listened to you, and you inspired us not only to keep going but to try and make the best FAST & FURIOUS movie yet.
Our FAST family has been together for almost fifteen years now and has grown a lot in that time. From the start, Vin has been our leader who feels what’s right for FAST in his gut and in his heart. When we had to stop production last year, Vin gathered us back together and moved us forward when we needed it most. He led us to this day.
Some of us have been here from the very beginning. Vin, Michelle, Jordana and our producer Neal all go back to that first little movie we shot on the streets of LA. We came back to LA in FAST 7, and it was an especially emotional homecoming for those who’ve grown up with each other since that first shoot.
There are those we count as brothers who we gathered along the way and are with us again: Dwayne, Tyrese, Luda, Lucas and our writer, Chris. We’ve got some new additions this time in Jason, Kurt, Djimon, Nathalie and our director, James. Caleb and Cody joined us to honor their brother and help complete his work.
Our family is big and strong but it won’t ever quite be whole again without Paul.
All of us -- those who’ve been here from the start and those whose first FAST film is 7 -- wanted to create a special film for him and for you. We believe we have.
Thank you for being there for us. You are the biggest part of our family, and we couldn’t have gotten here without you.
The countdown to April 3 begins.
Your FAST & FURIOUS Family