‘Fast & Furious 7′ Is Likely Delayed Following Paul Walker’s Death

Following Paul Walker’s death over the weekend, Universal Pictures executives are scrambling to decide how to move forward with the filming of Fast & Furious 7. Filming was only half complete and now the studio must decide how to move forward without one of its principal actors.

The film was planned for a July 2014 release, and was already shooting on a rushed schedule, in order to make its deadline. However, the New York Times reports that the film will likely be delayed: “To finish Fast & Furious 7 in time for a planned July 11 release, the company has been operating under an aggressive, little-room-for-delays production schedule. Filming is still only half finished, unusual for a movie of this size so close to release, and Mr. Walker played a leading role.”

Another issue for filmmakers is how they should address the similarities between Walker’s death and the ridiculous vehicular shenanigans in each Fast & Furious film. In fact, Walker had reportedly already filmed a public service announcement to be included on the DVD release of Fast & Furious 7, in which he said: “All the driving sequences you see in the film are done by experienced professionals on closed courses. Be safe. Drive smart. Stay legal.”

So how should Universal and director James Wan’s death: should he be cut from the film or should his death be written into the script? Should the filmmakers re-cast his role entirely? A lot hangs on their decision; the Fast & Furious franchise is currently Universal’s most successful — last year’s installment took in nearly $800 million.