After Universal Pictures shut down production on Fast & Furious 7 last week, following the untimely death of actor Paul Walker, many have wondered how the studio will move forward, with a bulk of footage already shot featuring the late actor.
Today, we have word that screenwriter Chris Morgan is working on script revisions that will allow the franchise to give Paul Walker a proper send-off, while using the scenes that have already been completed. This falls in line with our report from last week that revealed the sequel will be delayed, but not abandoned completely. But these changes are not a sure thing.
If the writer succeeds, production could resume as early as January. But, it isn't clear when Chris Morgan may have the revisions completed. Universal executives held a conference call the morning after Paul Walker's death on November 30 to discuss how to move forward with Fast & Furious 7. Insiders suggest that the studio's top priority was to support the actor's grieving family, cast and crew, with NBC Universal chief Ron Meyer asking all on that call to personally offer their condolences.
While the production shutdown did save the studio some money, they are also facing issues with the cast and crew's guilds, who have deals governing how long actors and crew members can be on hold for.
The studio has already spent $150 million on Fast & Furious 7. If Universal decides to start the production from scratch, the studio's insurance company Fireman's Fund might have to pay that bill in full, which would be the largest Hollywood insurance claim in history. However, that might not be the case, with one insider claiming that over half of Paul Walker's scenes have already been shot. Another source revealed the actor was scheduled for considerable work on the sequel the week following his death.
Another studio source said there is fan support in favor of completing the current version of the film, as opposed to scrapping the footage already shot and starting from scratch. Here's what the unnamed source had to say.
"What will drive everything is, is there an honorable and sensible way to do this? There's not really a road map."
We reported yesterday that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has been moved to Fast & Furious 7's July 11, 2014 release date. While that report claimed Universal still planned on holding onto that date, now it seems that the studio has scrapped plans for a summer 2014 release. However, they still do plan on making an eighth installment of this lucrative franchise. Here's what an unnamed Universal Pictures executive had to say.
"Sadly, it will probably make people more interested."
Furious 7 comes to theaters April 3rd, 2015 and stars Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Kurt Russell, Jordana Brewster, Lucas Black. The film is directed by James Wan.