The Fast and Furious franchise was forever changed following Paul Walker’s death during the production of 2015’s Furious 7, to the point where director James Wan considered shutting the movie down for good.
Speaking to THR, Wan reflected on Walker’s passing, and what it took to finish the rest of the movie.
“It definitely was the hardest movie of my career. I’ve done technically challenging movies since then, but Furious 7 just hit on so many different levels, especially an emotional one,” Wan said. “When the passing of Paul Walker happened, we were like, ‘Do we just shut the movie down for good?’ But we collectively felt like this movie needed to be Paul’s legacy. So we wiped our tears away and sat around in editorial, going, ‘All right, how do we do this?’
It definitely was the hardest movie of my career
“Thankfully, I had shot certain stuff with Paul, like his ending action stuff, but there were still many bits missing in the film that needed Paul. I shot only half of what I needed from Paul before his passing, and then we worked with visual effects to salvage what we had. To complete that movie now, in today’s world, with AI technology, it’s so simple. But we did not have that kind of technology at our disposal. So we had to really dig deep into our bag of tricks to make it work, and one of them was having Paul’s brothers [Caleb and Cody Walker] step in and shoot the other half of the movie. We then pulled different words that Paul had spoken all through the franchise to create sentences for us.”
Furious 7 ends with a tribute to the late actor, as Walker’s Brian and Vin Diesel’s Dom go on a drive together, ending with the two turning in separate directions. Wan said this was the most difficult part of production.
“The hardest part of that movie was editing the ending of the movie where we say farewell to Paul. It was very tearful. It was hard to watch the ending that we put together and not cry.”
Now, the Fast franchise is racing toward its conclusion with its multi-part finale that kicked off with Fast X last month. Leading up to Fast X’s release, Diesel said Brian could appear in the Fast and Furious finale in some way, saying, “I couldn’t imagine this saga ending without truly saying goodbye to Brian O’Conner.”
It’s possible Walker’s brothers could play a part in that happening, as they both said they want to have a cameo in a future Fast movie so Brian can “save the day” one more time.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over seven years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.
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