On Dec. 4, 2013, Universal Pictures announced that production of "Fast & Furious 7" has been temporarily shut down in the wake of co-star Paul Walker's death. Walker (who was best known for starring in most of "The Fast and the Furious" movies. As previously reported, he died at the age of 40 in a car accident in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Nov. 20, 2013. He had been scheduled to resume filming the movie on Dec. 2, 2013.
According to Us Weekly, Universal Pictures issued this statement: "Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul's immediate family and our extended 'Fast & Furious' family of cast, crew and filmmakers. At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on 'Fast & Furious 7' for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise. We are committed to keeping 'Fast & Furious' fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker."
Shortly after the news broke about Walker's death, "Fast & Furious 7" direction James Wan tweeted: "I am so beyond heartbroken right now. I can't process anything."
"Fast & Furious 6" is scheduled to premiere on VOD on Dec. 10, 2013, the same day that the movie is released on DVD and Blu-ray. Universal Pictures has announced that a portion of the proceeds from "Fast & Furious 6" home-video revenue will be donated to Walker's non-profit charity Reach Out WorldWide. Walker's family has requested that in lieu of flowers or other gifts, that donations be made to Reach Out Worldwide. Walker had just left a Reach Out WorldWide charity event when he was killed in the car accident, along with the car's driver, Roger Rodas, who was a friend and business partner of Walker's. Witnesses say that Rodas lost control of the car (a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT), which crashed and burst into flames. No foul play is suspected.
Meanwhile, several stars of "The Fast and the Furious" franchise are speaking about Walker in loving tributes to him. Here's a summary of what they have said so far:
Vin Diesel: On Dec. 2, 2013, Diesel visited the crash site, where fans have made a makeshift memorial to Walker. According to Us Weekly, Diesel said in a speech: "If he could see for himself that all of you have shown up to show my brother love . . . at this hard time his family gets to see all of you show the love that you've shown Paul. It's going to stay with me forever. I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for coming down here and showing that angel up in heaven how much you appreciate him."
Dwayne Johnson: In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Johnson commented: "He was motivated by work that allowed him to take care of his family, number one, and that also allowed him the power and the leverage to help people in need and in crisis. When I first met Paul, I think in our late 20s, we were young kids in the business. Then years later, when I did Fast Five, we had an opportunity to spend a lot of time together and become reacquainted. At that time, we had both been in the business at that time for over a decade, and the most important thing that we had in common was the importance of family time and being a great father to our daughters. We bonded over that ...
"We would talk about silly guy things, his fast cars and my pickup trucks, or we would talk about the beautiful energy of Hawaii — but it always ultimately came back to family. And very specifically the beautiful and important bond between a father and his daughter, and how we both realized that over the years. Not surprisingly, when I got the news that he had passed away, the first words out of my mouth were, 'He has a daughter.' It’s very sad. We can’t help but to hope that their final time together was beautiful and strong and an amazing memory."
Michelle Rodriguez: She posted this message on her Facebook page: “I’m gonna carry this torch for you brother, with a forced smile on my face and Im gonna open my heart just cause your telling me to."
Tyrese Gibson: He visited the crash site on Dec. 1, 2013, when video surfaced of him breaking down and crying. On Instagram, Gibson wrote: “I just don’t understand, My heart hurts it’s broken.” On his official Facebook page, Gibson wrote on Dec. 2, 2013: “Father God I love you, I trust you. I will do what you tell me to do … Order my footsteps and I will walk. My heart is hurting badly but in this darkness you used me as a light with my brothers family tonight ….. Use me up father God I owe you.” The next day, Gibson mentioned on Facebook that he sought grief counseling from Bishop TD Jakes. Gibson relayed some of the advice that he'd gotten from Jakes: "Don’t you dare think that death has won. You’ll be driving down the street one day and you’ll hear Pauls voice talking in your head. Something he said or something he did will pop up in your spirit and you’ll giggle inside of yourself as if he were sitting in the car with you.”
Jordana Brewster: She released this statement: “Paul was an enormous presence in my life for the past 14 years. While many would be satisfied with material success, it made Paul more convinced of the need to help others. He never spoke of his immense generosity or philanthropic endeavors unless I prodded, however. This is what made Paul Paul. He lived with integrity, humanity and humility and seemed most happy when talking about his daughter, Meadow. I don’t know anyone who lived each moment more fully and loved life more than Paul, making his loss all the more heartbreaking.” Brewster also tweeted: “Paul was pure light. I cannot believe his is gone.”
Justin Lin: Lin (the director of "Fast & Furious 6," "Fast Five," "Fast & Furious" and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift") wrote a Time magazine essay in tribute to Walker. In the essay, Lin wrote: "We were back from the rainy U.K. to shoot the final scenes for 'Fast 6,' and we brought the rain back with us. We fought the weather for three days trying to get the perfect finish. With 20 minutes to go, we had to shoot the all-important barbecue scene. I knew this was going to be the last scene I’d shoot in the Fast franchise and wanted it to be special. I pushed the crew and cast so hard, and we barely got it in the can. As we ran out of light on the last shot, I threw my headphones down in frustration and walked off to collect myself. I was beyond spent. Next thing I knew, there were two arms hugging me. It was Paul. He said, 'Thank you' and walked off. That was the last moment I had with Paul on set, and it’s what Paul was all about."DE
Dec. 23, 2013 update: Universal Pictures has announced that the release of "Fast & Furious 7" has been postponed to April 10, 2015.