The current marketing for the action movie Brick Mansions is a bittersweet reminder to movie fans that actor Paul Walker is no longer with us. Killed in a fiery car crash late last year, Walker's sudden passing left fans all over the world wondering what would become of Fast & Furious 7, which was already halfway through production at the time. Universal did the respectful thing and put production on hold so that the cast and crew could properly mourn, but the studio was committed to ending Walker's run by completing the final effort in his career-making role as Brian O'Connor.
After a year-long delay, Fast & Furious 7 will speed into theaters on April 10, 2015 - with Brian O'Connor slated for a happy farewell. While we've heard several rumors about how the filmmakers will complete Walker's performance, we can now confirm that at least one rumor is true, and it should be pretty pleasing for fans of the Fast & Furious franchise: Paul Walker's brothers will be stepping in to help out.
Check out the press release from Universal:
A Note to the Fans of FAST & FURIOUS
The FAST & FURIOUS saga is about family. The characters are connected by the bond of family, and it is how all of us who have worked together for more than thirteen years feel about each other. It certainly defines how we feel about our fans.
Our family experienced an unthinkable shock in November. We had to take time to grieve Paul, the brother we love and lost, and to figure out if we should move on with our film.
We came together and all felt the only choice was to continue. We believe our fans want that, and we believe Paul would want that too. Paul had already shot his dramatic scenes and most of his action for FAST & FURIOUS 7, and it’s among the strongest work of his career.
We have resumed shooting and now welcome Paul’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, into our FAST family. Caleb and Cody are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production. Having them on set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too.
We are just under a year away from the release of FAST & FURIOUS 7, and this film is the most important we’ve ever done together. It will allow the character of Brian O’Conner to live on and let us celebrate Paul in his most defining role.
We wanted to take a moment to speak to our fans directly and thank you for the love and support you always show us as we resume our work.
Filling in the performances of deceased actors can be an affair that's cumbersome at best, and exploitative/disturbing at worst; however, in this case, it just seems nice to have Walker's real-life family stepping in to fill his place. Instead of being just a means to a creative or business-minded end, Fast & Furious 7 can serve as an actual tribute to an actor and character that have meant a great deal to a generation of fans.
If it is indeed one of Walker's brothers behind the proposed CGI face overlay and voice alteration work, then when Brian O'Connor inevitably delivers that last "You are my brother" line to Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto before walking off into the sunset with Mia (Jordana Brewster) and their son... well, who in that theater won't tear up - even just a little - when confronted with that powerful meta-moment?
Fast & Furious 7 features the surviving players from Fast & Furious 6 - and the return of Tokyo Drift star Lucas Black - for a story revolving around Ian Shaw (Jason Statham) looking to get payback for his brother's death in part 6. Meanwhile, the list of cast newcomers includes Oscar-nominee Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Kurt Russell, featured in an introductory role that is mean to lay the groundwork for his character to slide into the big baddie role in Part 8.
Fast & Furious 7 will be in theaters on April 10, 2015.