A rep from Universal released a statement Wednesday morning saying, “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.”
The statement continued, “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.”
Walker, 40, who was a passenger in the Porsche GT, which crashed Nov. 30 in Santa Clarita, Calif., died from “traumatic” and burn injuries, while the driver Roger Rodas died from “multiple traumatic injuries,” according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office statement released Wednesday.
The death of Walker has left Universal in a dilemma about what to do with the newest “Fast” installment, which started production in September. The studio originally had set the release for July 11, 2014, though it’s now highly unlikely U will make that date.
If “Fast 7” moves out of the summer 2014 corridor, that could have a major impact on U parent company Comcast’s quarterly bottom line, leaving the movie studio without its key seasonal tentpole. “Fast & Furious 6,” which hits homevid shelves Dec. 10, amassed nearly $800 million globally this summer.
But Universal clearly wants to continue the franchise, for which the majority of the main cast is committed for an eighth installment, with the possibility of a ninth.