We’re still a few months away from seeing the first trailer for Fast 8, which is scheduled to premiere sometime in December. The newest entry will be the first installment of the franchise since the tragic death of series star Paul Walker, who died in an auto accident while on a break from shooting the previous film – and while Furious 7 gave his character a touching send-off that seemingly closed the book on the story of Brian O’Conner, it seems like that may not be the case after all.
Entertainment Tonight recently spoke with Caleb and Cody Walker, who stepped in to help complete their brother’s scenes in Furious 7 after production resumed. While relaying how the experience helped them cope with their grief, Caleb also mentioned that discussions had taken place regarding Brian O’Conner showing up again in a future sequel.
“I had a phone call with Vin for about an hour and we really discussed this a while back. He wanted [our] blessing,” Caleb said, acknowledging that Diesel asked if and when they thought it “would be acceptable to maybe bring Paul’s character back… to really kind of let his fans know he’s still out there.” Cody added “Universal wants to make sure to be respectful of Paul and his image too, and his family.”
As much as I love this series, and Walker’s character in particular, I’m not really a fan of this idea. I think it’s fantastic that Caleb and Cody were able to get involved with Furious 7 and provide some much-needed closure for their brother’s fans, but that was a completely different scenario: more than half of the film had already been completed, and it would have been impossible to write Brian O’Conner out of the film without starting over from the beginning.
Furious 7‘s farewell to the character also served as a touching tribute to the actor himself, and I feel like bringing Brian O’Conner back again would only serve to cheapen that send-off. There are a number of different moral and ethical questions to be raised here, and hopefully the studio will take each of those into account before making a decision. Personally, I’ll be crossing my fingers that this never goes beyond the initial “what if” stage.
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