Universal shuts down Fast & Furious 7

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Universal has, understandably, shut down production on “Fast & Furious 7″ following the tragic death of star Paul Walker last weekend.

Though scheduled to open next July, it’s unlikely – what with the changes that’ll have to be made to the script, as a result of Walker’s passing, but also the delay in completing the rest of the picture – the film will now meet it’s Summer 2014 release date. And as I see it, big bloody deal – a man’s life has been lost, people need to grieve, and business is the last thing on anyone’s mind at the moment. Let it get up again when everyone’s ready (and yes, it will get up again – of course it will!).

The big decision-makers on the “F&F” franchise have met numerous times this week to discuss what they’re going to do about the film, and in particular Walker’s character, when it does resume filming. The Wrap has learnt that a scenario has been floated that would see “Fast & Furious 7″ scrapping what they’ve already shot, and shooting over – removing Walker’s Brian character from the film altogether. That makes the most sense – especially since the studio is insured, so it wouldn’t hurt the film too much, financially-speaking – but it does seem a little disrespectful to Walker and his fans. A decision on which way they’re going to go will likely take weeks.

Meanwhile, an autopsy completed on Walker has found that the actor died not on impact from the crash but of a combination of traumatic injuries and burns after the Porsche he was a passenger in crashed and erupted in flames.

The studio released the following 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,” said the studio. “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.”