The death of actor Paul Walker has cast doubt upon the future of the Fast & Furious franchise, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, work on rewriting the next installation is already underway. Sources familiar with the matter tell THR that screenwriter Chris Morgan has begun revising the script for Fast & Furious 7 to allow for Walker's character to exit the series using footage that has already been shot. The hope is that with a reworked script, cast and crew will be able to resume filming by late January, though that's far from guaranteed.
After a fiery car crash claimed Walker's life in late November, it was reported that Universal Studios would proceed with production of Fast & Furious 7 as planned, though the studio later reversed course and put the film on indefinite hold. The movie, directed by James Wan, had been scheduled to hit theaters in July 2014, but sources tell THR that this timetable has now been scrapped.
"is there an honorable and sensible way to do this?"
Universal has reportedly invested about $150 million in the film, and about half of Walker's scenes have already been shot. Executives are looking at ways to salvage that footage, and the studio says there is widespread fan support for continuing the franchise, though Morgan and Universal's creative team realize that it must be handled delicately.
"What will drive everything is, is there an honorable and sensible way to do this?" a source told THR, before admitting that "there's not really a road map" for the dilemma the studio now faces.