In less than two weeks, Furious 7, the last in the wildly successful The Fast and The Furious film franchise, has revved up box office revenues topping $800 million globally since its April 2 opening. While we here at E3 Spark Plugs think the film itself is pretty amazing, we're particularly impressed with the film's video tribute to late actor Paul Walker. And, we're psyched about plans for the series' continuation.
Killed in a November 2013 car crash, Walker appeared in the series as Brian O'Conner, a former FBI agent-turned-criminal and professional street racer. The character is married to Mia (Jordana Brewster), sister of best friend Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), and the two have a young son, Jack.
After Walker's death, which occurred during production of Furious 7, producers were unsure whether they could continue the series. But the next year, production was back on track, with a few heartrending changes. In January 2014, news broke that Walker's character would be retired rather than killed and that new scenes to that effect would be developed. This required hiring of four actors with physiques similar to Walker's and extensive CGI work to replicate Walker's face and voice. In particularly touching move, Walker's own brothers, Caleb and Cody, both of whom closely resemble him, joined the cast as stand-ins.
Walker's character's send-off is depicted in a scene featuring Brian, Mia and young Jack playing on the beach as Dom and others watch, acknowledging that Brian is better off retired with his family. Dom silently leaves, and Brian catches up to him at a stop sign. As Dom reminisces, the two friends bid each other farewell and drive off in separate directions.
The touching send-off is followed by a tribute video featuring footage from throughout the series, including Walker's last on-screen race against Dom in a Toyota Supra - a nod to the care he drove while racing against Dom in the original - 2001's The Fast and The Furious. The accompanying music is Wiz Khalifa's track, See You Again, which Diesel, who last month named his newborn daughter Pauline after Walker, sang in honor of his friend at this weekend's MTV Awards broadcast. He also confirmed news that the franchise will continue with Fast & Furious 8.
"Well, I was trying to keep it close to the vest throughout the release," he said in a backstage interview. "Paul used to say that eight was guaranteed. And in some ways, when your brother guarantees something, you sometimes feel like you have to make sure it comes to pass. So if fate has it, fate - F8 - if fate has it, then you'll get this when you hear about it. Seven was for Paul, eight is from Paul."