Paul Walker's tragic death in a Los Angeles car crash over the weekend came mid-way through filming the seventh Fast & Furious film. Today it has been reported that Universal will press ahead with plans to release the movie which also features Walker's long-term co-star Vin Diesel opposite Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham.
Production on Fast 7 will be understandably delayed by the star's sudden death after a high-speed crash which also killed his friend and financial adviser Roger Rodas. The cast and crew were scheduled to return to Atlanta to resume shooting last Sunday after a Thanksgiving hiatus, with those plans now on hold until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Walker – who played undercover agent Brian O'Conner in the first six films – is believed to have shot the majority of his scenes before his death, although production was originally due to transfer to Abu Dhabi in January to film additional material.
The 40-year-old was known to be a favourite on set and cast members including Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and British newcomer Nathalie Emmanuel have all taken to social media to pay their respects to their late co-star. It remains to be seen when they will reunite for the shoot and the film's 11 July release date hangs in the balance while director James Wan and Universal decide how to proceed.
Speaking on Saturday night, a studio spokesperson said, "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 Furious films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul's family."
The studio has declined to comment on the future of the franchise which earned its biggest cinema hit with the sixth film when it was released in May, grossing over £475m worldwide.
The team behind another of Walker's films, Hurricane Katrina-inspired Hours, has confirmed that they will go ahead with their scheduled 13 December release. Paul Presburger of production company Pantelion confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter, "Paul would have very much wanted us to move forward. He was incredibly proud of this project.
"We did a press junket two weeks ago, and I remember sitting with him and how excited he was for people to see this movie. He was looking for something to showcase his acting skills, which he so rarely had the chance to do. He hit it out of the park."