Vin Diesel Says Fast & Furious Will Keep Paul Walker’s ‘Beautiful Spirit’ Alive

Vin Diesel says Paul Walker’s ‘beautiful spirit’ will always be alive in the Fast and Furious world.

The late actor passed away in November 2013, part-way through the filming of Furious 7. After rethinking and restructuring the film, it closed with one of cinema’s most emotional tributes of the 2010s, with Walker and Diesel driving off separately into the distance. ‘Whether it’s a quarter-mile away, or halfway across the world. You’ll always be with me, and you’ll always be my brother.’

Nearly eight years later, Fast and Furious 9 will soon hit the big screen. In the new trailer, Brian’s shadow is felt, whether it’s the Skyline pulling up outside 1327, footage of him on the beach with Jack, or the return of Mia. Whatever happens, he’ll always be alive in their story.

Rather than killing Brian off, or simply having him disappear from the saga off-screen, the filmmakers decided to let his character go ‘home’ with Mia. It’s something Diesel is still incredibly proud of to this day.

UNILAD spoke to Diesel ahead of the trailer’s launch, where we asked how he respectfully manoeuvred Walker’s character, and how the film moves around and/or includes him.

‘Very good question,’ he said. ‘Back when we were doing Fast 7, and the tragedy that the world knows, there was a kind of bold decision to keep the character of Brian alive in the mythology. It’s a decision that’s made me forever proud of the studio, because so many studios in a situation like that would have used it as a plot device – go avenge that character – or something, or just forgotten about it.’

Diesel added, ‘But it’s one of the things I’m so proud about our team and Universal Studios that they’ve committed to keeping that character and that beautiful spirit alive in the mythology.’

We also chatted to Michelle Rodriguez about Walker and how F9 manages his absence, particularly with Mia’s inclusion. ‘You know, he will always be alive for us within the franchise. That’s kind of like how we’ve imagined it, that’s the legacy we’re continuing with,’ she said.

Rodriguez continued, ‘In the Fast and Furious mind, he’s still around. You might not necessarily see him, but in our story he’ll always be alive. Until we figure out what that looks like in the future. I think we only have two more movies left with this classic cast and then the baton will be passed onto either spin-offs or other generations. We’ll see what happens, ultimately. But for now, in our psyche, he remains alive and well.’

As for whether she’d like to see him more explicitly involved via the likes of CGI, rather than being alluded to as one would assume, she said, ‘It’s a very dangerous subject matter, because you’re talking about pretending to be someone who’s gone. You don’t know what Paul Walker would have done with that performance.’

‘We’re walking into that Ray Kurzweil singularity, put-your-brain-into-a-computer world. It’s like… are we there yet as a society to start talking about this? I might even put it into my will… please, when I die, leave me dead. Don’t have an algorithm decide that Michelle Rodriguez would have done this in this performance after she died 100 years ago,’ she continued.

‘We’re walking into iffy [ground], you lose your freedom of will in this process of being translated by a computer or other people. I can’t speak for that, you know? His daughter is the only one with the power to speak for that, because she’s the one who holds his legacy in her hands.’

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