'Fast and Furious 7' Put On Hold Indefinitely Following Paul Walker's DeathMike Sampson |
What we all expected would happen, has now officially happened. After a series of meetings since Paul Walker died in a car crash on Saturday night, Universal Pictures has decided to put 'Fast and Furious 7' - which was in the middle of filming - on hold indefinitely, while they decide on how to proceed.
'Fast and Furious 7' was still shooting when Walker died (the cast and crew were off for Thanksgiving weekend) and was scheduled to be filming this week. Universal executives quickly delayed those plans and now, in the absence of a definite plan on what to do with the film, have notified the cast and crew that production is on hold indefinitely.
At issue, obviously, is how to continue the film, and the franchise, without Walker. The Hollywood Reporter says that while a large chunk of filming has already been completed, the big action scenes were scheduled at the end of the shoot and haven't yet begun shooting. One such scene in particular, for which the production was set to travel to Abu Dhabi, was going to be the massive opening sequence that traditionally kicks off the 'Fast and Furious' films.
As reported earlier today, the studio has even considered shutting down the film entirely and starting over from scratch (while that would seem cost prohibitive, the insurance plan on the film would protect Universal from financial loss), though that still seems unlikely at this point. The most likely course of action are extensive rewrites and reedits of existing footage and delaying the July 11, 2014 release date, which seems nearly impossible to make (we wouldn't be surprised to see Universal quickly shuffle another of their films into that release date so as to not lose it to a competitor).
The studio doesn't want to rush the decision, but also doesn't have the luxury of waiting. The 'Fast and Furious' films are the biggest thing Universal has going and one of the few bright spots in their otherwise struggling lineup of franchises. They moved ahead with 'Fast and Furious 7' at an accelerated rate to make sure they had the film ready for summer 2014. We'll guess filming will be pushed back around four months or so and expect a new December 2014 release date.