Paul Walker’s Brothers Want to Bring Him Back in Another ‘Fast and Furious’ Sequel
Following his untimely death, Paul Walker’s brothers Cody and Caleb stepped in to help finish production on Furious 7, serving as stand-ins for the late actor. Thanks to their presence, along with some VFX magic, director James Wan was able to complete Walker’s scenes — and create a touching tribute to Walker for the film’s final scene. Although the series has moved beyond Walker’s absence, his brothers are hoping to step in and revive him once again for another sequel.
I just hope we get to — I don’t know — have a little cameo and bring Paul back to save the day and I get to help create that again. That’s my dream and I hope we get to do that in one of the future movies.
Cody acknowledged that the pair would only want to revive Walker if there were a thoughtful and “tasteful” way to do so — while also suggesting that the franchise has suffered in Walker’s absence:
I think there could potentially be a way to do it. But it would take a lot of thought and it’d have to be tasteful. He was the real deal, the real car guy. And in his absence, I — you know — I think it’s lost its way in a big way.
It’s not entirely out of the question: Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, is still alive in the franchise. Rather than kill him off (which may have been insensitive in light of his tragic death in a car accident), the end of Furious 7 sees Walker (recreated with the help of his brothers and some VFX magic) taking a long drive with Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto in an emotional farewell sequence. Brian, it’s explained, has decided to leave the high-octane life behind and build a new one with his wife and family.
Fast and Furious wouldn’t be the first franchise to bring an actor back from the dead. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story famously used VFX to revive Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin. The end result resembled a video game cut scene and possessed a certain uncanny quality; it was somewhat unnerving. Carrie Fisher’s Leia was similarly de-aged for a short scene connecting Rogue One to A New Hope, and while the resulting effect was superior to the Tarkin scenes, it still felt off.
That didn’t stop Martin Scorsese from employing Industrial Light & Magic to use this same VFX technology to de-age Robert De Niro for the long-gestating mob film The Irishman, which will be released through Netflix. It’s unclear why Scorsese didn’t hire a different outfit — like Lola FX, the company responsible for the astonishing and practically seamless effects in David Fincher’s The Social Network and Benjamin Button. Speaking of which, Marvel has made a regular habit of de-aging actors like Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr. in flashback scenes. Those effects have grown increasingly impressive.
At any rate, bringing the dead back to life and drastically de-aging actors is a trend that doesn’t seem to be dying (pardon the pun) anytime soon. The Congress was right. Soon we won’t even need actors because studios will keep a digital copy on file; they’ll never have to age, and they can work long after their death.