On Saturday when Paul Walker was tragically killed in a car accident, the last thing anyone was thinking about was what was next for the Fast and Furious franchise. The first thought most decent human beings had were about Walker’s family and friends — specifically the daughter he is leaving behind.
But inevitably, we will have to deal with the real life death of Walker and how it affects his character in the fictional world created for Fast and Furious — emphasis on fictional. This is a harsh reality of the movie business as while Walker’s family and friends just want to mourn his loss, those on the set and behind the scenes of Fast and Furious are struggling with what to do with Walker’s character.
The first and most obvious answer is that Walker’s character will be written out of the series. This is pretty much a no-brainer as there’s no respectful way to continue using Walker’s character past the scenes he’s shot for the current film, which is Fast 7. But things get complicated right away as Walker wasn’t done shooting all his scenes for the new film, which will most likely have to go into immediate re-writes to deal with Walker’s death.
Fast 7 is already dealing with a fictional on-screen death but now Walker’s is going to have to be written into the franchise. There’s also the matter of Walker recently boasting about there being as many as ten Fast and Furious films, something that for the time being is going to have to be seriously reconsidered. Walker’s death isn’t the end of the franchise, but this is reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s death during The Dark Knight where future films are instantly altered forever with his passing.
So with Walker’s current scenes not finished yet for Fast 7 and the future of the franchise scrambled, there’s really no answer for the question where will Fast and Furious go from here.
Frankly, it should be the last thing on anyone’s mind, as a human being, a father and a friend is dead and gone forever. Set the movie character aside for a moment, that bridge will come eventually. For now, let’s focus less on a fictional car chase movie and more on the reality that a 40 year old father and friend is dead and the real life ramifications of that far outweigh any on-screen obstacles it creates.