Caleb & Cody Walker Step In To Finish Furious 7
When news of Paul Walker’s death came forward, the internet was bombarded with fans that were sad and upset to hear the news. The young actor died unexpectedly at the age of 40 during a holiday break for the filming of Furious 7.
On November 30, 2013 Paul Walker was sponsoring an event for his charity Reach Out Worldwide, an organization that brings skilled first responders to assist during natural disasters. After the event for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, Walker got into a red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT with his friend and financial advisor, Roger Rodas, a pro-am racer. Rodas was driving excessively fast in a location known for drifting in Valencia, California. The vehicle crashed into two trees and a concrete lamppost at around 93 miles per hour, and incinerated upon impact.
The accident was particularly painstaking for his daughter, Meadow Walker, who was only 15 at the time and who had been living with her father full-time for the past two years. His “The Fast and the Furious” cast mates had also formed a close bond since the original released in 2001. Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson were both particularly close to Walker and considered Walker to be family.
The tragic accident affected his family, friends, and fans, but also brought production to a standstill while the tight-knit group mourned the loss of the friend and cast member. Universal Studios announced a production hiatus for an indeterminate amount of time while they assessed the future of the film, particularly since Walker had not completed filming his scenes in the film.
At the time of Walker’s death, Universal Studios and director James Wan were faced with a difficult decision. The costly action scenes appeared to be all that were filmed at the time so the studios and writers were unsure of what direction to take. Some rumors speculated that the loss of Walker could also mean the loss of the film. The studio and crew were unsure if the footage could be used and how, or if they should continue at all. The decision was particularly difficult because the studio had intentions of filming an eighth and ninth installment in the franchise as well.
After some careful rewriting of the script, James Wan and the writers devised a way to use the existing footage and to maintain Walker’s character Brian O’Conner in Furious 7 while ending his role in the franchise in a respectable manner. However, the question remained of the best way to proceed and it seems their idea is true to the film.
Furious 7 is all about family and in the spirit of family, filming was completed with the help of Paul Walker’s brothers, Caleb and Cody Walker. The brothers filled in as body doubles and, when needed, were aided with the assistance of CGI to have their late brother’s face in the scene. Since most of Paul Walker’s scenes had been completed, fans are hoping the results are tasteful and well done in homage to the late actor.
After the final shots were completed, the production crew took to their Facebook page with an open letter to the fans stating, “We wanted to take this moment to express how thankful we are for your support …There was a time when we didn’t know how we could go on, or even if we should. But we listened to you, and you inspired us not only to keep going but to try and make the best FAST & FURIOUS movie yet.”
Continuing production after such an unexpected event was notably difficult for the tight-knit group, but as they stated on the film’s official Facebook page: “Having [Caleb and Cody] on set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too.”
Furious 7, which will likely be dedicated to Paul Walker’s memory, will be released in theaters on April 3rd.
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