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Rather than make a rash and emotional decision, Universal has decided to call a time out and take a few deep breaths before figuring out what to do with the Fast And Furious franchise in the wake of star Paul Walker’s death. Production has officially been halted. In the short-term, the feasibility of all available options will be assessed including completely starting over. Once enough time has passed to provide clarity and to let everyone grieve, a decision will be made as to what is in the best long-term interests of the franchise.
After a few heated days of speculation, that’s the course of action Universal decided on today. A spokesman from the studio officially released a statement saying as much this morning. You can check it out below, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly…
"Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul’s immediate family and our extended Fast & Furious family of cast, crew and filmmakers. At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on Fast & Furious 7 for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise. We are committed to keeping Fast & Furious fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker."
Response to Paul Walker’s death has been a mix of the emotional and the practical. Deeply touching displays of support have popped up all over the Internet. His co-stars have been photographed crying, and Universal has even decided to donate a portion of home media proceeds from Fast 6 to the beloved actor’s charity of choice. Lingering below the surface the entire time, however, have been these very realistic and immediate questions about how to handle the $150 million + elephant in the room.
Most estimates claim Fast & Furious 7 was a little more than halfway done with production when Walker tragically lost his life in a car accident. That means, at minimum, the script is going to need some serious rewrites to incorporate the scenes he was able to shoot. You would like to think they would be able to keep at least some of his work considering what he meant to the franchise, but the more important goal should be to produce a movie he would have been proud of. He would have been the first one to say pleasing the fans and producing quality is the single most important thing.
I’ve gone ahead and embedded a clip from 2 Fast 2 Furious of Walker jumping his car over another car while in mid-air. Nothing will ever be able to replace his presence, but at least he gave us so many great reasons to look back and smile.