Paul Walker may be gone, but Brian O'Conner will never die.
The fate of "Fast & Furious 7" was uncertain in the days and weeks following Walker's tragic death, but details of how the fast-racing franchise will move its seventh installment forward are starting to come to light. In the case of Walker's fan-favorite character, former federal agent Brian O'Conner, fans can breathe a sigh of relief: Art won't imitate life, in this case.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the team behind "Fast & Furious 7" have decided to "retire" the character of Brian O'Conner, rather than not using him in the film at all — or, even worse, killing the character off. The report states that director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan and Universal's Jeffrey Kirschenbaum spent weeks deliberating on how or whether to use existing footage of Walker, after he died roughly halfway into the shoot.
"The trio then devised a plan to tweak the existing script so that Walker would remain a part of the story but could be written out, allowing the franchise to continue without him," reports THR. "The changes will require some additional scenes to be written and shot, but the eight-month delay of release provides plenty of time."
Even knowing that Wan, Morgan and Kirschenbaum have decided to "retire," not kill, Walker's character, several questions remain. What does "retirement" mean for Brian O'Conner? And what does it mean for his girlfriend Mia Toretto, the character played by Jordana Brewster that has appeared in four of seven "Fast and Furious" films? Mia is the sister of Vin Diesel's Dom Toretto, so that's one connection that could bring her back to the fold from time to time — but it's hard imagining scenarios that require Mia's presence, and not Brian's.
Whatever the answers, one thing is clear: Brian O'Conner has a part to play in "Fast & Furious 7," and it won't end with his demise. Fans can be thankful for that much, at least.
"Fast & Furious 7" hits theaters on April 10, 2015.