What do you make of the Fast & Furious franchise carrying on without Paul Walker? It really could go one of two ways. You could see these movies continuing as paying homage to Walker, carrying on in his memory, or you could see it all as a stumbling block. Perhaps it's not entirely respectful to carry on such a hugely profitable series after the death of one of its figureheads. That's a discussion for a different time, however, since now the main question involves where this franchise is headed, and how it can continue without Paul Walker, which I've already written about here!
An even more interesting thing to ask here is just how these movies would have played out if the production of Furious 7 hadn't suffered the monumental blow of Paul Walker's untimely death. Just what were James Wan's bigger plans for the future of the franchise, and what would have happened differently with the Fast & Furious family if Walker were still with us?
The original ending to Furious 7
Perhaps out of respect for Walker, James Wan has not hinted too heavily to the original plans for Furious 7. I suppose the intention is not to get fans pining for what could have been, unsatisfied with the brilliant send-off that Furious 7 turned out to be. It's safe to say the movie likely would have turned out similarly, with the plot revolving around GodsEye and Deckard Shaw's revenge and Kurt Russell helping out until he got tired and had to have a nap in the desert.
Put simply, the original ending to Furious 7 would have focused heavily on setting things up for the future story. Perhaps Jason Statham would not have ended the movie incarcerated, or Kurt Russell's character could have sprung some kind of betrayal upon Vin Diesel and his team, leading into the potential events for [Fast & Furious 8](tag:1117455). You can say goodbye to any of that brilliant sentimentality about parting ways at the end of the movie, for the reason for bringing in that theme up just wouldn't have been there. If Paul Walker were still around, the prospect of Furious 8 could be very different from the one we're expecting.
The lost Fast & Furious 8
For those curious as to how Fast & Furious 8 would have turned out if Paul Walker was around, it strangely wouldn't have included him much. The series had shifted focus from Bryan to Dom over time, and without tragedy striking in the middle of the production of Furious 7, he would have become as much a background character as anyone else in the family. The theme of him being torn between family life and his dangerous escapades with Dom likely wouldn't be there, and the personal connection he had to the Deckard Shaw arc was minimal.
So what will we be getting for Fast & Furious 8? Well there are still a lot of ideas floating around, like us finally seeing New York in these movies, or the rumors that Vin Diesel is looking to have Helen Mirren join the team... yes seriously. Personally I'd like to see the narrative beat of Bryan departing from the family extrapolated upon, with other members becoming estranged from each other, and the crux of the story being about the efforts to bring everyone back together.
What kinds of stories would you like to see in Fast & Furious 8, and how could the series look if Paul Walker was still with us? Vote in our poll, or leave a comment below!