The Fast and the Furious franchise of movies has continued to evolve into a high-octane action spectacle, beginning from its humbler roots as a simple racing-and-heisting film. But the movies had to dramatically alter their trajectory when star Paul Walker tragically died in the midst of production of Furious 7.
Walker’s passing forced the movie to change the plan for the original ending and give his character of Brian a fitting cap to the story while allowing the franchise to move forward.
Writer Chris Morgan spoke with Collider about the tragic event and how it forced him to give audiences a “cathartic experience to say goodbye.”
Of course the original ending was different from what audiences saw on screen, but the change was organically derived from what was already completed.
Morgan said that Brian’s story was always about reconciling his family, with Mia and their budding family, with the adrenaline-fueled lifestyle he’s established over the course of six movies.
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. 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. 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.
Morgan said that there was a storytelling need to address Brian and Mia’s departure in this new film, and it is touched up on. The mention had to make sense from a story perspective—both to the audience and to the characters in the film.