The tragic death of Paul Walker at the end of November was a huge blow to his family, friends and fans, and counted among them are the cast and crew of Fast & Furious 7which was roughly halfway through filming when Walker’s sad passing occurred. Universal Studios respectfully announced that production would be delayed, but was looking for options for how to finish the film in time for its previously planned release date of July 11th, 2014 in a respectful manner.

It was rumored that production of the film might restart from scratch, with the studio scrapping most or all of the already-shot footage – a large expense that reportedly be covered since the production is insured. That idea – if it was ever seriously considered – was quickly abandoned when we heard that a revised script would provide some kind of ending for Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner. The most recent rumor pointed toward finishing the film in the same manner as 1994’s The Crow, with Paul Walker’s younger brother Cody Walker standing in as a body double and Paul’s face digitally inserted during close-ups.

As the producers, director James Wan and the studio scrambled to find a way to deliver the film for its summer 2014 release, one thing apparently became clear: the seventh installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise was not to meet that already-rushed date. Walker’s friend and co-star Vin Diesel took to his Facebook page to spread the news that the film has been moved to 2015.

Here is Diesel’s statement, posted with  the picture above:

The last scene we filmed together…

There was a unique sense of completion, of pride we shared… in the film we were now completing… the magic captured… and, in just how far we’ve come… 

Fast and Furious 7 will be released…

April 10th 2015!

P.s. He’d want you to know first…

There is no immediate information about what approach the filmmakers are taking to solve the problem of how to complete the highly anticipated seventh film in a franchise which has become more lucrative and popular with each installment in a way which will allow the studio to maintain their bottom line while providing a dignified and respectful on-screen goodbye to one of the series’ main stars.

Some rumors suggest that Walker had mainly filmed character scenes, with the bulk of his character’s action sequences still pending, but the stories that have circulated all point to the fact that Paul Walker had not filmed anything close to most of his scenes. Some fans feared some kind of quick-fix in the form of a quick and dirty car crash scene or an off-screen event explaining away Brian O’Conner’s exit from the story, but the delay points toward a commendable attempt on the part of Universal, James Wan and screenwriter Chris Morgan to work with the content they have and provide a fitting and satisfactory conclusion to Walker’s character arc.

Moving any movie into the blockbuster-laden year of 2015 is a risk, but as of this writing, Fast & Furious 7 has no direct competition, with the summer bloodbath only truly beginning in May, which sees the premiere of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road and TomorrowlandUniversal will have to keep fan interest high throughout 2014, but a carefully modulated release of story details, images and footage will likely keep awareness on an appropriate level.

Fast & Furious 7 will premiere on April 10, 2015.

Source: Vin Diesel