Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham may be sitting out Fast & Furious 9 after Hobbs & Shaw, but the announced cast won’t be lacking star power. Vin Diesel will be leading the film, with the usual suspects being joined by high profile newcomers like John Cena and Michael Rooker. But now we have confirmation that another much-loved actor will be back for one more go-around: Paul Walker, who’ll be reprising his role as Brian O’Connor. That’s despite Walker’s tragic death in a car crash in 2013.
Furious 7 featured an extremely impressive CGI recreation of the actor done by WETA Digital. This post-mortem performance was achieved with the involvement of Walker’s family, using his two brothers Caleb and Cody as on-set stand-ins for him. The process combined digital recreations of his face and footage from previous movies to produce an uncannily realistic resurrection. It was generally judged a success, tastefully giving the character a finale while respecting Walker’s memory.
We’d assumed that when he drove off into the sunset at the end of Furious 7 that would be the last we’d see of him, but now we’ve gotten word that Fast & Furious 9 is actively seeking a new body double for the actor. Right now there’s no indication that this is going to be a leading role in the movie, so there’s a chance it could be for a short flashback scene or cameo appearance. But still, he’ll definitely be showing up in some capacity.
While I’m sure that this will be handled tastefully, it feels as if we’re stepping into a new world when it comes to post-mortem performances. Not too long ago, the technique was reserved for completing unfinished work like Brandon Lee in The Crow or Oliver Reed in Gladiator. But now, we’re starting to see entirely posthumous appearances, with the next big one being Carrie Fisher as General Leia in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Here’s hoping they’re able to pull it off again Fast & Furious 9, though judging by how well it went over last time, we’re pretty confident that we’ll get another tasteful resurrection of the beloved actor in the upcoming sequel.