Production on Fast & Furious 7 had been temporarily halted in the wake of star Paul Walker's death this past weekend, but now the film has been put on hold indefinitely. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news that Universal Studios had decided to stop production on the film altogether while it decided how best to proceed, a change in course from the studio's previous statements.
The newest installment, directed by horror maestro James Wan, had been scheduled for release next July — already a compressed time frame unto itself. The filmmaking team and Universal executives met over the weekend to discuss how they could best proceed; in similar cases like The Crow filmmakers have been able to rewrite around a lost actor, or use a combination of computer-generated imagery and stand-ins to create vital footage. In the case of Fast 7, however, Walker was reportedly set to shoot several "key scenes" this week, and a dynamic opening sequence set in Abu Dhabi was on the schedule for next week. There's also the emotional component; fellow cast members — some of which had worked with Walker on numerous entries in the franchise — have reportedly been too distraught to return to set.
"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," Universal told The Wrap in a statement. "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."