The “Fast and Furious” franchise was dealt a staggering, irreversible blow in 2013 when series star Paul Walker, who played erstwhile police officer Brian O'Conner, tragically passed away. Walker’s death came midway through the production of “Furious 7,” and the emotional toll it took on the series’ cast and crew nearly shuttered the film and the franchise itself.
Instead of closing up shop, though, Chris Morgan -- who has served as screenwriter for the “Fast and Furious” movies since “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” -- took some time to consider his options and ended up writing a completely new ending that served as a tribute to Walker. Ahead of the release of “The Fate of the Furious," Morgan spoke with Collider about what that original ending looked like.
“Well, the original ending, if I remember correctly, was our guys end up solving the problem and then kind of becoming—again, going more outlaw, it was sort of a happier ending that kind of ends with the insinuation that they were gonna go off onto this heist or this job," Morgan recalled. "But the core issue for Brian, Paul’s character, was this kind of ‘Who am I?’ sort of question."
"He’s a guy who used to be a cop and in the thick of the action and a racer, and all this stuff, and now he has an amazing wife, a kid and another one on the way. Then he starts to look at his life and it’s not a midlife crisis but to say—we said it in the movie, ‘I miss the bullets, I miss the action’ and the point of the adventure was to show by the end of it that the thing that’s truly important to him is his family and being there," he continued. "It wouldn’t mean that he has to stop those adventures or those things, but the context is just a little bit different, he has a different understanding of who he is at his core and what’s most important in life.”
After Walker passed, Morgan said there was a distinct chance that "Furious 7" may have gone unfinished, and that even the franchise might have been put on indefinite hold. After the cast and crew had time to grieve, though, Morgan decided “Furious 7” was an opportunity to give fans a cathartic moment, an opportunity to mourn the fallen actor.
As for Brian’s arc, Morgan said not much would have changed regarding his relationship with his wife Mia (Jordana Brewster) and their two children. “Furious 7” ended with Brian racing off into the sunset, presumably with his family in toe. Had Walker been able to film further installments in the franchise, Brian likely would have reassessed his own values as a father and former police officer but continued his globetrotting adventures with the crew.
Debuting in theaters on April 14, “The Fate of the Furious” is a production of Original Film directed by F. Gary Gray and starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren.