In a tragic turn of events, actor Paul Walker died in a fiery car crash this past Saturday at the age of 40. He was in the middle of shooting his latest franchise sequel Fast & Furious 7. Production was on hiatus throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, with shooting to resume yesterday. Universal Pictures held a meeting on Sunday to discuss the state of the film. With most of the movie already done, they have decided to delay production, but the film will continue on. The studio released the following image and statement.
""All of us at Universal are heartbroken. Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with The Fast and the Furious films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul's family."
The entire cast was scheduled to return to Atlanta on Sunday to resume shooting on the film. Those plans have been halted until further notice. It was director James Wan who held a conference with the studio, where they discussed what types of rewrites needed to be done, and how they should proceed in a manner that would be respectful to the death of the actor.
Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris have all been profoundly affected by the death of their costar. Many of them have released statements in regards to the tragedy.
With Fast & Furious 7 on hiatus, Paul Walker had returned to Southern California for charity work. He was a passenger in a limited edition Porsche that burst into flames during a crash Saturday afternoon, which also took the life of Roger Rodas, a well-respected financial adviser and the CEO of Paul's company Always Evolving. The two shared a passion for cars, and this morning it is being speculated that drag racing was responsible for the crash. It will be some time before detectives know just how fast the Porsche was traveling. The owners of the Porsche have reported that a mechanical failure may have also been the cause of the accident, as a steering fluid leak was discovered leading to the site of the crash.
Walker was in the midst of reprising his role as Brian O'Conner in the 7th installment of the hugely popular The Fast and the Furious series. The film was being expedited to hit a July 11 release date, just a few months short of a year since the last film was in theaters. It is not known how the delay in production will impact the set release date, if it all. Most of Walker's scenes were completed, but the way he passed away may prove to be a challenge in a franchise that is known for having its characters die in car wrecks.
At this time, it isn't known when production will resume. Many expect it will be sooner than later. They only thing that will stop production is if Vin Diesel decides he is not returning. While there have been some fake reports of the actor responding about his friend's death, Vin Diesel has yet to make a public announcement.