With the news that Fate of the Furious has smashed the global box office opening record, there’s a good chance this might become the most profitable movie franchise in history. After all, the movies are packed with action and cool cars, even though the former has taken over as the main focus of the films. A superstar lineup? Check. Bad guys becoming good guys? Checki. Everything lines up for the F&F franchise.
But all of this almost didn’t happen. Everyone knows of the untimely and tragic passing of Paul Walker. Everyone knows that they had to fill in his scenes in Furious 7 with CGI and his brother. What a lot of people don’t know is that Furious 7 almost never happened because of this.
According to the series’ creator Neil Mortiz, Furious 7 almost never happened at all. Mortiz recently went on the Ringer podcast, created by Bill Simmons to say that Walker’s death was almost the death of the franchise.
“Honestly, when that happened, when his passing happened, when that accident happened, we were like, we’re not gonna finish the movie. We’d done over half the movie. We were like we can’t finish the movie. We just can’t do it. And Universal said take some time. Think about it. See what you guys want to do. We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t know what we could do or what we should do.”
You can listen to the whole podcast below. Mortiz’s interview starts around 28:00 in.
The ending gave Mortiz and crew the most problems logistically. “It wasn’t until Chris Morgan came up with the idea at the end of the road splitting that we knew we had a way, a path to the end of this movie. Then we had to work our way backwards and figure out with the footage we already had existing and with the special effects things we were able to do, that we could make that story work. That scene, in combination with that song, it was perfect.”
I agree. I watched the movie on a plane on the way to my honeymoon. I cried at the end and am not ashamed to admit it. Walker’s death was horrible and we all wish it never happened, but the way they paid tribute was beautiful.
I have yet to see the 8th installment and it’s not going to be the same as it was with Walker or when it was just street racing, but we’ll always have the DVDs in case we want to see Paul again. I’m glad they didn’t cut the franchise short.