Some what of an inevitability considering the precarious situation that Universal Pictures is in now. On one hand, the studio can scrap the entire film and have screenwriter Chris Morgan rewrite the Fast & Furious 7 script since Paul Walker tragically died in an accident last week. On the other hand, the studio could have Morgan revise it to give Walker’s Brian O’Connor character the proper send off, giving us one more chance to see the actor in one of his final performances – which is what fans want.
But the one thing on Universal’s mind is how they can approach this film and honor the memory of Walker. Universal does seem content on salvaging whatever footage can be used, since the film was nearly complete before the actor’s untimely death, and if they are satisfied with Morgan’s results, they can resume production as early as January. But that is a big if.
THR was one of the first to report on Morgan rewriting the script. According to them, Walker had completed only half of his role in the film, with the other half set to be completed later on in January where they were to shoot pivotal scenes, like the opening one, in Abu Dhabi.
It’s up to Morgan’s talents to see if the film can be salvaged. However, if that is not the case, then it would be up to Fireman’s Fund to prove that Universal has a justified reason to abandon the project or pay the claim. Sources say that Universal has already poured $150 million into the project.
In order for the claim to be made, the Fireman’s Fund would have to consider how much was shot, how many days of production were left, the original arc of the story before Walker’s death, and get input from the director, the producers, and the studio as to why, notwithstanding the financial impact, the story doesn’t make sense to complete.
Universal says that fans would like to see the film completed with the footage that was already shot. But with this indefinite production stall progressing longer and longer, there is a good chance that the film will be rescheduled for a later release. Fox has already moved up the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to Fast 7‘s original July 11 date.
Above all, the one thing that Universal Pictures is considered with is: “What will drive everything is, is there an honorable and sensible way to do this?”