The news comes as no real surprise following Walker’s death on November 30. The actor, who was propelled to fame thanks in part to his performance as officer-turned-outlaw Brian O’Conner in the Fast and Furious series, was killed when a car he was a passenger in lost control and crashed, killing both Walker and Roger Rodas, the driver.
Filming on Fast & Furious 7 began in September. Much of the principal photography has been completed, but Walker and several members of the cast were scheduled to head to Abu Dhabi in January to continue filming.
Walker has been a part of the franchise since starring with Vin Diesel in the original film back in 2001. Since then, Walker has appeared in six of the seven films in the series. While it seems likely that the film currently in production will continue, the fate of the franchise is far from certain. Diesel confirmed that the seventh film would be the first of a new trilogy, and a spin-off starring Dwayne Johnson as the character of Hobbs is supposedly in the works. Several of the actors signed multi-film contracts, and the studio also reportedly was hoping to release an eighth, ninth, and tenth installment, if not more.
Fast & Furious 7 was originally scheduled for release on July 11, 2014. Assuming production does start up again, it seems unlikely that the filmmakers would be able to make that date. Not only will this delay impact an already tight filming schedule, the filmmakers will still need to decide how to address the absence of the character O’Conner.
Update: The studio may scrap all work on the film and start over from scratch.