As we know, Paul Walker tragically died in the midst of production on Furious 7, but director James Wan and his team were able to complete Brian O’Conner’s story thanks to Walker’s own brothers and CGI doubles. The character was given a touching send-off, but as the Fast & Furious franchise has continued, it’s become more difficult to keep coming up with reasons why Brian wouldn’t be helping his friends.
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With the recently released F9 setting up what will be the final two films of the Fast Saga, it’s hard to imagine the series coming to a close without Paul Walker making an appearance. While speaking with Cine Pop (via Games Radar), F9 director Justin Lin said that bringing Brian O’Conner back for the final two films is something he thinks about every day.
Obviously, Paul and his character Brian are the soul and heart of how we’re able to keep going, and that’s something I take to heart. Bringing him back is something I think about every day. As we approach the final chapter, it’s a conversation I’m having. And I think about this possibility every day. But I know the decision to keep the character alive in the universe was made while I was gone. So I have to be respectful about that decision. I need to feel good and confident in whatever we hopefully end up doing.
Paul Walker’s brothers Caleb and Cody have previously given their blessing for their brother’s character to return, and with all the advances that have been made in crafting digital humans since the release of Furious 7, the VFX team would be able to create a far more photo-realistic version of Brian O’Conner. It’s just the matter of deciding if such an appearance would seem morbid or seen as a tribute to the franchise Walker helped to create. While it seems that nothing has been decided just yet, I would bet on Brian making a heroic return at some point in the final two films.
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The official synopsis for F9:
Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon. This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most. His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena).
F9 is now playing in theaters, so check out reviews from our own JimmyO and Chris Bumbray, and let us know what you thought as well.