The death of the actor Paul Walker two days ago (Nov. 30) in a single-car automobile accident in Santa Clarita, California, has reverberated throughout the film industry and among the popular star’s global fan community.
Walker, 40, was the star of the “Fast & Furious” film franchise. He was preparing to resume production of the film’s seventh installment. Walker played the rogue ex-cop Brian O’Conner.
Walker had already filmed scenes the movie, the pending edition of which features a vengeful rivalry between racing crews.
James Wan, the director of the film, Neal Moritz, the lead producer and executives haven’t made decision to continue make the film, set for release July 11.
According to a report via Associated Press, Walker hadn’t shot enough scenes for the film to accomplish his lead role.
Like other recent deaths of popular actors who died while making movies, including Heath Ledger and most recently James Gandolfini, Walker’s passing leaves Universal, the distributor, in a odd position. It will likely wish to promote the actor’s final film without appearing to be capitalizing on it.
Walker’s sudden death also raises questions about the long-term viability of the series. “Fast & Furious” movies have grossed $2.3 billion worldwide, with the most recent, 2013’s “Fast Six,” the highest-grossing ($789 million).
While the series – which already has an eighth film in development – has rotated characters in and out over its 12-year history, the nucleus has been the buddy dynamic of Walker’s O’Conner and Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto, who have been in every movie but “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” the series’ least successful installment.
Walker when he and friend Roger Rodas went for a ride in a red Porsche, a witness said. Sheriff’s officials said speed may have been a factor in the crash. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, sheriff’s Deputy Kim Manatt told the Los Angeles Times.
Walker had several other pictures already completed.