Fast and Furious 7 director James Wan has stated the show will go on, though he is not saying how it will be handled in the aftermath of star Paul Walker’s untimely death in a fiery car accident.
Walker had reportedly already shot several scenes for the upcoming sequel starring Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The burning question now is, what happens with Paul’s character? Do you replace him and reshoot his scenes with another actor? Do you use some clever editing to kill off Walker’s character in as unnoticeable of fashion as possible? Do you proceed using body doubles and a weird amalgam of different actors via I’m Not There?
Now that the question of whether to make the movie at all has been answered, how Wan and company answer this question will be at the front of every fan’s mind. Here are some other movies that found themselves in the unfortunate situation of F&F7.
Twilight Zone: The Movie
Vic Morrow starred in the opening segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie in which he played a bigoted war veteran, who finds himself re-experiencing history through the experience of the races he hates. In the original segment, the character was to have found redemption saving two Vietnamese children. Unfortunately, on a stormy night of filming, a helicopter flying overhead lost control and slammed into his and the bodies of My-Ca Dinh Le (age 7) and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (age 6). All three were killed instantly. Director John Landis had to re-edit the segment to a more depressing conclusion. It turns out pretty awkward, unfortunately, with some obvious edits that’ll leave you scratching your head.
Brandon Lee, son of martial arts icon Bruce Lee, was sure to make a name for himself in the lead role of the original film adaptation for the classic James O’Barr comic. Anyone who saw the final product would have to attest that the film itself was excellent. The younger Lee, however, would become remembered for dying on set after a freak firearms mishap. Director Alex Proyas had shot a considerable amount of Lee’s scenes, so piecing together the final edit didn’t require the readjustment of some others on this list.
Plan 9 From Outer Space
Bela Lugosi had shot scenes for schlock master Ed Wood’s celebrated bad movie Plan 9 From Outer Space prior to his death. Wood, being always the opportunist, decided to finish out the film by having the taller, so-obviously-not-Bela replacement Tom Mason stand in, usually hunched over and with a cape over his face. The result is sadly hilarious.
The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus
With the fact Heath Ledger had just turned in an amazing performance as The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, many casual fans are quick to assume that he died during filming. Not so. TDK finished fine with nothing being required of Nolan to keep the film awesome. However, director Terry Gilliam didn’t have it so easy. See, Ledger was filming the 2009 under-the-radar film The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus when he died. Gilliam had a unique way of addressing the problem. He cast Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law to portray “physically transformed versions” of the character within the Imaginarium. The end result is a clever homage to the fallen actor.
Solomon And Sheba
Going way back for this one, in the 1958 film Solomon and Sheba, film great Tyrone Power was shooting a fencing scene with frequent collaborator George Sanders, when he suffered a massive heart attack. He was replaced with Yul Brynner in the role of Solomon, but the filmmakers used some long shots that Power had filmed to aid in fooling the audience. Power had shot about three-fourths of his scenes prior to his death. The end result is pretty seamless, though you can tell in part of the scene where Power died that some editing had been used.
Actor and comedian Marty Feldman suffered a heart attack and died during the filming of the pirate comedy Yellowbeard on December 2, 1982. Feldman was always a character actor, so his death didn’t have too big of an effect on the filming as a whole. The workaround involved Feldman’s character getting killed off late in the film in an insert shot that was filmed a few days after his passing. In the scene, a stunt double falls into a pool of acid.
As for F&F7, we hope that whatever solution Wan finds to the production problems will pay homage to Walker and also leave fans with a final treat that doesn’t tarnish the memory of a character they’ve come to love. One thing’s for certain: the incident has seemingly made a family out of this crew. We’re sure whatever they come up with will be right.