The Fast and the Furious franchise has always been known for it’s fast cars, hot girls, and exciting action. The franchise had shifted over the past couple movies, going from it’s traditional car-centered atmosphere to a more hybrid car/war/knock-down drag-out thrill ride series.
The franchise has benefited severely from the changes, and has grown into one of the most popular franchises, though regarded by some to be just a thrill-ride, not a merit-able experience.
In 2013, the cast and crew were in the middle of filming the seventh installment when Paul Walker, a staple/patriarch of the franchise tragically passed away in a car crash. Walker, just 39 at the time, was one of the series biggest stars, and easily one of the most beloved characters.
How do you say goodbye to Brian O’Connor (Walker)? With a little help from Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.
The loss not only took a toll on his cast mates, it also left everyone involved with a serious dilemma: How do you finish the movie?
A New Ending Created
Director James Wan sat in the toughest position, at the helm of a film over halfway finished, but now had to somehow pay respects to the late Walker.
Wan’s original plan for Furious 7 was to set the series up for later installments.
“The original ending of ‘Furious 7′ was setting up, you know, the bigger world of where the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise could go into. And that’s obviously very smart of them to think so,” Wan spoke about the tragedy.”
“But when the tragedy happened, all of that became irrelevant. So it did not matter anymore, all of that stuff. And to the studio’s credit, they did not push for that. They realized how important it was to make a movie that finishes and that just outright is a tribute to Paul Walker,” Wan recalled. “So I give them a lot of credit for being bigger than that and going along with this ending that is the right ending to go with.”
What Wan and the team created has to be acknowledged, and applauded. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Wan discussed how the ideas of the ending came about. In the end, the team decided on two ways to finish the film.
The last moments began with a montage of Walker’s greatest moments as a part of the franchise, from the first installment on. The second part shows Dom after he leaves the beach setting driving down the coast.
As Dom stops, Paul Walker (Brilliantly portrayed by CGI and his two brothers) pulls up, and the tears begin to flow.
The last portion is just a voiceover of Torreto (Diesel’s character) talking about living live one quarter mile of a time, and as the two continue on the road, Walker splits off, and drives into the horizon.
Why True F&F Fans Shed Tears
What made the ending so sad was that visual. The visual presence of Paul Walker’s character driving up for one last ride, it gives chills. The franchise has fans who have been with the series from the beginning, like myself, and the gravity of the situation, that it’s not just a “character” dying, it hurts.
It’s hard to end a character on a series, or a movie franchise. It’s not an easy thing to do, and what they did kind of made it easier on everyone.
What they did right was not killing off O’Conner (Walker) in the film, because of the sheer fact that Walker died in a car crash. Killing him in a car crash would’ve felt all too real, and I think Wan knew that.
The scene on the beach, and the serene feeling of just watching O’Connor and his family, it’s beautiful.
The last scene, and the moment at which Walker and Diesel split, is magnified, as a last goodbye. Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth begin to sing “See You Again” and the weight of the world seems to land on your shoulders.
“It’s been a long day, without you my friend, but I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.”
Walker and Diesel split, and the screen fades to white and you see “For Paul”. Wan and crew truly said goodbye in the best way possible.
Fans Rejoice, Break Records
Furious 7 blew up following it’s April 3rd release date, and to date has earned over 1.3 BILLION dollars, making it the fourth-highest grossing film of all time.
The film has destroyed expectations overseas as well, becoming the highest-grossing film in China ever.
Though a lot of that can be attributed to the tribute to Walker, the film stands as one of the best in the franchise.
The Fast and the Furious 8 is slated to hit theaters April 13th, 2017.