When actor Paul Walker died in a car accident during the filming of Furious 7, his brother Cody was asked to stand in for him so that the movie's final scenes could be filmed. Recent rumors indicated that might be the plan again for the next film in the franchise Fast 8. Unfortunately for fans of Brian O’Connor, it looks like those rumors were untrue and that character has finally driven off into the sunset.
Recently, it was noted that Cody Walker’s name had been added to the IMDB page for the new film, seeming to imply that he would be returning to, in some form, take on the role that his brother made famous once again. Polygon reached out to Universal Pictures for a comment and what they heard back put an end to that speculation.
As of now Cody Walker’s name is no longer on the IMDB page for the film. A Universal rep had previously said that Walker would still be "represented" in the movies which seemed to imply that the character would not be entirely gone from the series, but exactly how he would be represented was not clear. Walker’s death during the filming of the last movie required a complete change to the end of the film as well as the use of the stand-in, as well as CGI effects in order to complete the movie.
As much as Paul Walker was a key part of the film franchise, the fact is that he’s gone and the movies should let him go, so this is a good thing. Any attempt to keep the character around would have been extremely difficult to make work well and would have been an obvious attempt to pander to an audience that didn’t need that. Fans know why the character won't be back and the franchise has enough star power that they don't need to rely on gimmicks to bring people to the theater. Besides, they gave the character, and the actor, one of the nicest tributes at the end of Furious 7 that anybody could have asked for. If they’d try to go back on this, fans would have rioted in the theaters.
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