Now we have had time to grieve the sad passing of Paul Walker, we must turn to face the question that has been in the back of all of our minds, since we first heard the news. How will the Fast and Furious continue when one of their two leading stars is no longer able to take part in the franchise? Of course, there is the answer of cancelling the movie series altogether, but I don’t think that would be what Paul Walker wanted and I am sure that, with a bit of thought, the writers can come up with a clever solution to continue these movies. I have come up with three potential ideas, each with their own merits and downsides. Which one do you think the writers should go with?
3 – KEEP THE CHARACTER, REPLACE THE ACTOR
The easiest solution would be to simply replace the actor who plays Brian O’Connor. It worked for Spartacus when Andy Whitfield passed away. However, at the same time, it just feels a little bit too insensitive, simply replacing this much loved actor the moment he dies. It almost cheapens the effect he had on the franchise and almost insults his memory, casting him aside for another actor. However, at the same time, maybe I am exaggerating the reaction by the public. There is bound to be an outcry from the fans, but there always is. No one likes the new actor who plays James Bond, Doctor Who, Batman… until they see them in action. Perhaps James Wan should cast a new actor and just put up with the hate, until he gets his chosen casting choice onscreen.
And the really painful to admit is that that actor will probably top Paul Walker. While Paul Walker had the aura of Brian O’Connor and cemented his place as a founding member of the Fast and Furious team (racking up the most screen-time out of all the cast), the sad truth is that he was never the best actor out there. We accepted that and he worked for the franchise, but it still must be said that putting someone like Aaron Paul (too obvious a casting choice for my approval, but for example’s sake…), into the role will almost definitely improve the character. I don’t really want to do that to Paul Walker’s memory. Therefore, my next idea would be to…
2 – KILL OFF BRIAN O’CONNOR
Remember a while back, when I wrote an article about how Fast and Furious 7 would play out, with me writing it? Well, in a weird way, Paul Walker’s untimely death has kind of improved my imagined script immensely. I wanted to open the film with Jason Statham’s new villain killing off an important member of the crew, shaking up the film and proving to the audience that this movie means business. Well, seeing as the main character has, excuse my insensitivity, killed himself off, the perfect twist and shock opening as already been written for them. The film could open with Statham standing over the body of O’Connor (a carefully placed extra – I am not suggesting Vin Diesel goes grave-robbing anytime soon), throwing us right back into the adventure.
Then again, I have a feeling it won’t play out quite like that in my head. For one, it is a pretty lazy twist, seeing as we all know that Paul Walker won’t be around for filming. Another thing is that watching it could feel a little uncomfortable. As though this big piece of Fast and Furious is missing and the answer has been hastily swept under the rug, a little like Kutner vanishing from ‘House’. There are ways around this problem, of course. As long as the plot speeds along at a break-neck pace, which Fast and Furious is pretty used to, then that brief moment of awkwardness should be forgotten, as we get lost in another blockbuster adventure. Not convinced? Well, personally I have a much better solution…
1 – GIVE PAUL WALKER THE HAPPY ENDING HE DESERVES
Truthfully, was it just me or was it getting harder to write Paul Walker into the movies? His character had a kid and a happy family life. In Fast and Furious 6, Jordana Brewster was hardly featured, as she was meant to be at home, representing the idyllic family life O’Connor craved. In all honesty, if he was just missing from the entire movie, we would just assume Toretto has finally understood that he needs to let O’Connor go and give up the street-racing scene. All we would ask for is a quick cameo of Jordana Brewster, explaining that O’Connor is well and enjoying the quiet life. Hell, maybe it is her turn to play a massive part in the movie’s action and have O’Connor stay at home, looking after his kid.
Also, isn’t it just nice to know that someone in the gang will have a happy ending? Hans and Gisele were always going to end up dead, as we knew how that storyline would play out. Toretto and Letty have always had this death wish and while they have passing happy moments, we all know that the only way they will leave the franchise is in a body bag (in Letty’s case, another body bag). So, let O’Connor be the exception – the one who got away. Fast and Furious has picked up a bad habit of dragging every conceivable character back into the fold, so maybe once, just this once, one of the leads could get away and have a happy ending.