Filming on Fast & Furious 7 has now resumed, and the late Paul Walker will appear thanks in part to body doubles and CGI, according to NY Daily News. It’s unclear exactly how much of his performance was shot, but the film was said to be more than halfway complete when production was halted.
Since Walker’s death in November 2013, the question of how the Fast and Furious franchise would proceed has consumed the production and forced all work to stop. Following Walker’s death, the studio was said to be considering several options, including one that would have completely scrapped what had already been filmed and started over from scratch. The studio could have recouped its losses via insurance and then begun work on a new version of the film that either removed or minimized Walker’s involvement, but ultimately the filmmakers elected to incorporate what was already shot and supplement it with CGI and body doubles.
According to the production, the studio has hired four actors with similar physiques to Walker’s. These four actors will step in for him, with the late actor’s face and voice to be added in post-production. There will likely be some serious rewrites involved as well, but the majority of Walker’s work on the film will survive. Following the news of his death, the film’s release was postponed from summer 2014 to April 10, 2015, which should give the production team ample time to fine-tune the finished product and make sure it comes across as respectfully handled.
As for the franchise, an eighth, ninth, and even tenth film have been discussed, with several of the cast – including Walker and Vin Diesel – signing on for at least two more films following this one. The franchise will almost certainly carry on (assuming the seventh film is a success), but the story will need to change to factor in Walker’s – and his character, Brian O’Conner’s – absence.
Despite Walker’s death, the main points of the plot remain the same and carry on the story that was set up all the way back in 2006’s Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, the third film in the series and a prequel to the two that preceded it. The fourth through sixth films were then positioned to take place before the events in Tokyo Drift, which saw the character of Han (Sung Kang) die. The seventh movie will get the chronology back on track, taking place after all of those events. That also means the character of Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), the star of Tokyo Drift, will return for this film and possibly two others, according to his contract.