The Loss of Brian
Part of the challenge in Fast & Furious 8 is the quiet removal of Paul Walker’s character Brian. Furious 7 paid a warm and loving tribute to the deceased Walker and his place in the franchise, allowing Brian to drive off from Dom and back to his wife and son. We can hope that Fast & Furious 8 will not go the easy route and eliminate Brian off-screen, thus forcing Dom and Co. back into the running to avenge his death. That would undermine the good work Furious 7 did in treating Walker’s death with gentleness and respect. But no matter what, Walker’s absence will have to be dealt with, as Brian was such a major facet of the franchise.
There is already a rumor circulating that Walker’s brother Cody – who did some stand-in work for those parts of Furious 7 that Walker was unable complete – will be coming on board Fast & Furious 8, though whether he’ll actually be playing Brian is unclear. It’s perfectly possible to recast Brian, though that runs into the same feeling of hokiness that Furious 7 worked so hard to avoid.
But what about bringing on the other Walker as a new straight-shooter – perhaps a brother or family member that Brian never spoke about – to cause a bit of an upheaval in the Toretto family? That would at least avoid the inevitable comparisons and questions of respect for Walker’s death.